How to Easily Navigate Safari with BetterTouchTool Finger Gestures

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The Safari web browser is probably the most used application on the Mac, but it can be a waste of time when you have to click buttons or keyboard shortcuts when your hand is already on the trackpad or MagicMouse in order to navigate the browser. The finger gesture application, BetterTouchTool (free) can make navigating Safari or any web browser faster, and it’s way better than using Apple’s finger gesture features.

Whether I’m using my 27″ iMac or my 11″ MacBook Air, I find it a  waste of time to drag my cursor to the menu bar in order to click a menu item. And if my hand is already on my trackpad, I don’t want to click a keyboard shortcut to activate a menu item. Half time I can’t even remember the hotkey for particular shortcuts. This is why I’m a heavy BetterTouchTool user.

Sample Finger Gestures

Safari includes numerous menu items that can easily be activated via BetterTouchTool, Keyboard Maestro, or by voice command using Dragon Dictate.

While Apple’s offers a few dozen finger gesture activations, BTT offers hundreds more, with dozens of actions, including clicking menu items, activating keyboard shortcuts, opening files, folders, and webpages, resizing windows, inserting snippets of text, and much more.

When it comes to Safari, here are some of the finger gestures and actions I use.

  • Pinch In Two Fingers: Zoom In a webpage
  • Pinch Out Two Fingers: Zoom Out a webpage
  • Three Finger Click: Copy the URL of the webpage
  • Three Finger TipTap Left: Close a Tab
  • Four Finger Swipe Up: Activate the WordPress Link Insert

BTT_gestures

If there’s a menu item that I have not created a finger gesture for, I can use a Three Finger Swipe Up to show all the Safari menu items right under my cursor. A context palette pops up and I can select a menu item from there.

BTT_cursor

Creating Finger Actions 

I have an introduction to BetterTouchTool, and it explains more about the application. Here’s a quick intro for setting up a BTT action.

1. Click on the Add New Gesture button.

2. Select a gesture you want to use for that action.

3. Assign an action ( e.g., a keyboard shortcut or one of the default actions) to the gesture.

For Safari menu items, I find it better to use the predefined Trigger Menubar Menu-item action, found inside Predefined Action>Controlling Other Applications.

BTT_Predefined actions

In that action, type the name of the menu heading and item you want to activate. For example, to create a finger gesture action for the Autofill menu item, select the Trigger Menubar action, and then type first the name heading of the menu item, “Edit”, followed by a semicolon, and then they exact name of the menu item, “AutoFill Form”.

BetterTouchTool BetterTouchTool, Today at 3.42.30 PM

Now all you have to do is use your finger gesture to activate them menu item instead of pointing your cursor to the toolbar button or using the keyboard shortcut.

When I want to quickly copy the URL of the frontmost webpage, I use a Three Finger Click that activates two shortcuts, the Command+L and Command+C. BTT allows for adding more than one action to a finger gesture setup.

BTT_copy_URL

BTT Is Free!

BetterTouchTool is  and   it’s a hundred times better than Apple’s finger gesture feature, it the developer offers a wide price range starting at $3.95.

BTT How-to Course

BetterTouchTool is fairly easy to learn, but I have created an entire course that teaches you how to get up and going with BTT, and how to use all its main features.

  • 13 video tutorials with step by step instructions for using all the main features in BTT with a trackpad.
  • 11 PDF guides with screenshots and step-by-step instructions.
  • A PDF guide of all the BTT actions I currently use.
  • Best practices for using BTT .
  • Setting up and using iOS BTT Remote
  • Free lifetime updates to all the course content.

 

  • Bakari,

    Do you have recommendations regarding how to configure BTT so I can activate Safari extensions with a hotkey? I’m wanting to automate my OneNote web clipping process.

    Thanks for this web site. It is a fantastic repository of “automatory” knowledge.

    • Hi Eric, thanks for the question. I’m not sure what mean you mean about activating Safari extensions. Do want to enable and disable them in Safari > Preferences > Extensions? Also, I don’t use OneNote, but if its clipping process is triggered by a hotkey, then a BTT gesture should be able to trigger that hotkey. For example, I have menu bar applications, such MiniNote which I trigger with a BTT gesture. Sorry if I’m mis-understanding the first part of your question.

      • Bakari,

        When I say activate, I mean imitate the click of a mouse on the extension. With the OneNote clipper, a click on the extension icon activates the clipper menu. From my research, there does not seem to be a hotkey for it. However, when I try various BTT routes, none of them seem to take effect. Does that make better sense?

        Thanks!

        • Okay, I think I understand. Yeah, I don’t think there’s a way to use BTT to click the extension without a hotkey. However, if the extension is a visible icon, you might could use the Move or Click Mouse action in Keyboard Maestro to click a selected image, as long as that image is visible when the macro is triggered. If the macro works, you can assign it a hotkey, and the map the hotkey to a BTT gesture. Let me know if that makes sense.

          • Bakari,

            Your suggestion gave me an idea, and I’ve figured out a perfect solution. Here is the action flow:

            – Save Current Mouse Position
            – Move Mouse To (Designated Position)
            – Left Click
            – Restore Saved Mouse Position

            Works like a charm with a TipTap left configuration!

            Thanks!

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    Guide to 50 Sample BetterTouchTool Actions

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    My FREE guide gives you a list of 50 sample finger gesture actions for your Mac or laptop, using your trackpad or MagicMouse. BTT saves clicking, using hotkeys, and manually performing redundant tasks.

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