If you own a Magic Mouse, or a MacBook with a multi-touch trackpad, then you would truly know the joy of using multi-touch gestures involving more than one or two fingers. Once you get used to them, these are incredibly convenient and useful shortcuts, and can make life much easier for you.
Mac OS X (Leopard and Snow Leopard) has in-built support for mouse gestures, though this support is very limited. Only a handful of gestures are provided by the system, and the extent to which you can customize these gestures is also very limited.
BetterTouchTool is a free app for Mac OS X that allows you to add custom multi-touch gestures for your Magic Mouse or MacBook trackpad, specific to applications, or global gestures in general. Having the ability to define your own gestures can be pretty powerful, and the latest release of BetterTouchTool has an improved UI, which makes this easier than ever.
You can define actions separately for your Magic Mouse and Trackpad, or you can define them in a combined ‘Gestures’ pane (shown in above screenshot). Here is a screenshot that demonstrates the the sheer number of gestures available in BetterTouchTool for customization.
To add a new custom gesture, all you have to do is select the application from the application pane on the left hand side, click on the ‘Add new gesture’ button under the appropriate tab (Magic Mouse, Trackpad or Keyboard). Once a new gesture row is added, you can select the required gesture from the drop down list of gestures (screenshot above), and then select a custom keyboard shortcut to complement it, OR select a predefined action, a sample screen of which is included below -
That’s it. As soon as you enter the actions related to a gesture, it is in effect.
Some other features of BetterTouchTool which make it a great tool:
- Import/Export Gestures – The ability to import and export gestures makes it easy to share gestures with your friends or family. You can also download predefined sets of gestures made by other people and import them into your own library of gestures.
- Presets – These are a set of gestures under one common name, you can also call them Profiles. Switching to another Preset is as simple as selecting one from a drop down menu
- Windows 7 Style Window Snapping – Can be enabled via a single checkmark setting in the Preferences.
- BetterTouchTool has no presence in your system. You can schedule it to launch at boot, and it just places an icon in the status bar, no icon is placed in the dock. All settings and controls can be managed via the status bar icon
Overall, if you are a fan of the amazing multi-touch gestures in Mac OS X, BetterTouchTool is a must have utility for you.