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App of the Week: BetterTouchTool [Mac]


Mac’s latest update to OS X, Lion, is geared toward trackpads. You can use your trackpad to launch Mission Control, to swipe between full screen apps, and even to navigate in Safari. If you want, though, you don’t have to stop there. With a free tool, you can assign even more gestures to perform certain actions.

That free tool is BetterTouchTool. BetterTouchTool allows you, globally or on an app by app basis, to assign gestures to perform certain tasks. I’ve started out simple with BetterTouchTool. Right now, I’ve set it up with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari so that a three finger tap on my trackpad works just like a middle mouse click, and I’ve set up a two finger tip-tap (touch the trackpad with two fingers, and tap with a third) to close a tab.

That really just scratches the surface. There are more than 50 gestures that can be assigned (some easier to perform than others), and these gestures can be assigned to keystrokes, or to a bounty of predefined actions, such as controlling screen brightness, mimicking mouse clicks, and more.

BetterTouch Tool also has window snapping features, which, if enabled, lets you move your app windows around the screen, and snap them to specific locations. I haven’t delved too much into that.

The app is free. If you like it, check out the author’s paid app in the app store, BetterSnapTool [Mac App Store link]. That app is a stripped down version of BetterTouchTool, containing only the windows snapping and moving features of BetterTouchTool, but it does allow you to support the developer.

I love using the trackpad, and find that I get handier with it every day. I’d love to know what you think – what do you use for your input device?

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