Everyone who is combining Macs and PCs throughout their day knows how different trackpads are on these devices. I believe that most people (if not everyone) will agree that only MacBooks feature extremely useful and nicely designed trackpad which is made to work perfectly with OSX. All those gestures that are already built-in like swiping, zooming in/out, rotating and much more, are very smooth and work every single time. This is something that could be considered as a complete victory for Macs and OSX, since there’s no Windows-powered laptop which comes with such great and usable trackpad.
The only thing I didn’t like about those gesture controls is that there’s not many of them. Since OSX is designed to offer you a limited choice of gesture controls, I tried to find some 3rd party solution and as it turns out – there’s an application called BetterTouchTool. This application can be used to add new gestures and to set up some very advanced actions, which I am about to explain. Another interesting thing about this application is that it’s completely free to download and use.
BetterTouchTool works with Magic Mouse, MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad as well. The newest version also introduced the Leap Motion controller and some other input devices even though they are quite limited at the moment.
Once you open BetterTouchTool for the first time you’ll get to see a bit cluttered interface that needs further refinement. On the other hand, you get to use this application for free, so I need to lower my expectations a bit and focus on its functionality.
Now let’s see how this application works. You’ll first need to select an input device for which you’d like to add a new gesture control. This can be done simply by clicking on an appropriate icon, and you’re ready to go. The first step is to choose whether you’d like a specific gesture to be used throughout OSX (so-called Global level) or you can assign that new gesture to a specific app. This can be particularly helpful to avoid complications and confusions. This way you can create a gesture to take you back one page in Safari, and you can use the same gesture to turn pages in Adobe Reader for example. In order to add a new gesture simple click on a plus sign and now you can select one from dozens of preloaded gesture controls. Finally, assign a specific action to it and you’re ready to use it.
Even though it might sound a bit confusing at first, this application is actually very easy to use. It basically gives you unlimited ability to add any kind of gesture controls that you can imagine, which is something that you won’t find with any other app. The only downside is its complex interface which needs some time getting used to, but other than that I can’t find any downsides. As I said earlier, BetterTouchTool is completely free so there are no reasons why you shouldn’t try it.