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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
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
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.
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.
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”.
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 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.