Use Trackpad Gestures and Functions on Mac OS X
Edited by VisiHow, Eng, Doug Collins
- 1 An Introduction to Mac OS X Trackpad Gestures
- 2 Point & Click Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 3 Scroll & Zoom Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 4 More Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 5 Video: Use Trackpad Gestures and Functions on Mac OS X
- 6 Comments
An Introduction to Mac OS X Trackpad Gestures
If your Mac OS X trackpad gestures are not working, have stopped working, or you need a cheat sheet with an apple trackpad gestures list, these functions are explained in the VisiHow article below. At the end of the article we've provided a video demonstrating how to access the trackpad app in Mac OS X, and explaining all of the gestures in detail, with examples.
To get started we'll need to take two very simple steps:
- 1We will need to to scroll down to down to the bottom of our screen and bring up the control bar. Once the control bar is up, we will select the "System Preferences" by clicking on in. This is the icon which is shaped like a gear, and can bee seen raised above the other icons at the bottom of the Mac OS X screen shot below.Advertisement
- 2This will open up our "System Preferences" menu. On the second row of icons you will see "Trackpad", which is the fifth icon from the left. We are going to click on that to open it. As shown in the next section on "Point & Click" gestures in OS X, this will bring up a window where we will have a selection of trackpad gestures and functions including "Point & Click", "Scroll & Zoom", and "More Gestures" as the top menu categories.Advertisement
Point & Click Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 1We are going to start with the first trackpad function under the "Point & Click" section, which is "Tap to click". Using this gesture you can simply tap the trackpad with one finger to select any option that you like. If you uncheck it then you'll need to tap with two fingers. We are going to leave one finger checked because that is what I am most comfortable with.Advertisement
- 2The next function you have is the option for a "Secondary Click". Windows users will know this as a "right-click". As you can see in the image on the right, we will use two fingers and press the trackpad to select a right-click option. However we can also set it so we can click on the bottom right corner of the trackpad with just one finger. This will gives us the same right-click function as two fingers did. Next we can choose to click the bottom left corner of the trackpad, giving us a right-click option on the left side. I'm going to set this option back on two fingers because that is what I am most comfortable with.
Scroll & Zoom Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 1Next we are going to go to "Scroll & Zoom". Scroll and Zoom is where we find gestures and functions that allow us to control our scrolling options and our zooming options. As you can see in the first selection on the left, we have the "Scroll direction: natural" function selected. This means that scrolling down acts just as if our fingers were on a piece of paper and moving it down. Likewise moving our finger up moves the paper up. If we uncheck this function, then the trackpad gesture gives us the opposite effect. Some people prefer this. As I am most comfortable with natural scrolling, we are going to put this back on the natural setting.
More Gestures for the Mac OS X Trackpad
- 1Now we'll go up to the "More Gestures" set of functions. These are additional gestures that you can use for different things on your Mac OS X. I use quite a few of these myself, so we will go through the list. "Swipe between pages" is a particularly helpful gesture if you are on web sites often. You can use a left or right gesture with two fingers and swipe through pages on your web browser. If you go down you can also select to swipe with three fingers. We can also set this to swipe with two or three fingers, which gives you either option. Enabling this function means you can swipe with a two finger gesture, or you can swipe with three fingers should you choose to do so. As I don't like to accidentally swipe through pages, I'm going to set that back to two fingers.
- 2Next you can "Swipe between full-screen apps". This allows you to select from applications you currently have opened. For example you might have a web browser, a word processor, and an image editor open. This allows you to quickly cycle through each of these by using gestures with your hands. That means you don't have to move the mouse around too much, or open and close a number of Windows. As you can see we have the option to swipe right or left with four fingers which is currently selected, or we can set that function to three fingers. The system default is four fingers because obviously, as you saw earlier, you could swipe between web pages with three fingers if you used that setting. I'm going to go ahead and set this back to four fingers, because that is what I am most comfortable with.
- 3After this we have the "Notification Center" trackpad gesture. The Notification Center is a panel on the right hand side of Mac OS X which lets you know if you have Facebook, Twitter, email, calendar, weather or other notifications that may come up. This simply allows you to swipe from the right edge to the left with two fingers, and bring up the Notification Center.
- 4Then we have "Mission Control". Mission Control is basically a list of everything that's currently open in Mac OS X. I use this often, as it is a great way to see what's going on all at once. You can set this gesture to swipe up with three fingers, or swipe up with four fingers, as you can see in our video example at the end of this article. You will see four fingers swiping up, and then three fingers swiping up, as shown in the screen shot below.
- 5Next, we have the "App Expose". I don't generally use this, as I am more a fan of Mission Control. However, this has a slightly different function, as it brings up all of the Windows in the currently selected app. If you work in many Windows at once, it is a useful function. You can select with three fingers or four fingers. I'm going to go ahead and set this back to the factory default, just in case I ever decide to use it.
- 6Following this we have the "Launchpad" gestures. The OS X Launchpad is very much like the start button or option on Windows, where it brings up all of the programs you can select from. You control this function with hand gestures, by simply pinching with your thumb and three fingers. This will bring up the Launchpad.
- 8That's it for our how-to video on Mac OS X trackpad functions and gestures. Thank you for watching VisiHow, and stay tuned for more great videos.