The multi-touch finger gesture application, BetterTouchTool application has over a hundred built-in actions for navigating tasks on your Mac.

Unlike Apple’s multi gesture features, BTT allows you to choose from dozens of finger gestures, including single, two, three, four, and five-finger touch pad gestures that you can assign to actions. You can assign gestures globally or to single applications.


The following are a list of highlights of built-in BTT actions you might find useful. This post shows you how to create BTT actions within the free application.

To use the built-in actions, create a new action, and then click the Predefined Action button. From there, use the drop-downs to select an action. I’ve categorized the examples here based sections of the predefined actions.


Controlling Other Applications

1. Trigger a menu bar in an application. For example, you can assign a finger gesture, such as a Three-finger tap, to  play or pause iTunes, or assign a gesture to trigger the menu item for flagging a Mail email message.

2. Send Shortcut to Specific App. Similar to the above action, you can actually execute a menu item in another application without bringing that application to the forefront.

3. Show Menubar in Context Men. Instead of having to move your cursor to the menu bar to click an item, you can assign a finger gesture, such Pinch In, to bring up the menu items in context wherever your cursor is on the screen.



OS X Functionality

4. Application Switcher. This action a nice action for switching back and forth between the current and last application you use. You might assign a Two Finger Swipe Right or Left for this action.

5. Show Notification Center. No need to click on the Notification Center button the menu bar, just assign a finger gesture to this action and open NC from within any application.

Window Interaction

6. Hide All Windows. When you need to just clear your desktop of all open windows, use this action. Might assign a Five Finger Swipe Down.

Note: I also use a Five Finger Tap to hide the current window of an application. That action is triggered with the keyboard shortcut, Command+H.

Window Resize & Move

7. Move Window to Next Monitor. This action is awesome for those who use two monitors. You can quickly send the frontmost window to the next monitor with a quick finger gesture. I use Five Finger Swipe Right.

8. Center Window. Similar to the above. You can quickly center the frontmost window on your screen.

Keyboard Keys

9. Play/Pause. Similar to sending a shortcut to another application, you can assign a finger gesture to Play/Pause iTunes or another media player, such as Rdio, without having to bring the forefront. There are also actions for skipping to the next or previous track.

System Actions

10. Sleep Computer. No need to head to the menu bar or use a keyboard shortcut to put your computer to sleep (or sleep the display), assign a finger gesture to do it more quickly.

11. Empty Trash. The same goes for emptying the trash. Assign one of several click finger gestures, for example, to perform this action. You might assign this action to work when you’re in the Finder (which is actually an application) so that you don’t perform by mistake.

Utility Actions

12. Open URL or Open URL With Selection. If you a website you frequently visit, save some clicking in the bookmarks bar by assigning the URL to a finger gesture.

13. Paste Custom Text. Similar to TextExpander, you can use this action to paste custom text (e.g., your name, address, email signature, formatted letter).


Your Favorites

There are lots to choose from in BetterTouchTool. Let me and my readers know your favorite BTT actions and gestures and how they are improving your workflow.

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