7 Trackpad Gestures You Probably Aren’t Using

If you a Mac with a trackpad, are you aware of all of the different gestures you can use to make life easier? You can use Smart Zoom to zoom in an out on an element on a web page. You can rotate images. You can also bring in the Notifications Center sidebar and activate Mission Control. Try learning a new trackpad gesture to get the most from your Mac.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: 7 Trackpad Gestures You Probably Aren’t Using.

Most Macs sold today are MacBooks. Even some of the desktop Macs sold today are sold with trackpads rather than a mouse. So that means most Mac users have access to a trackpad. You may think you know lots of really cool keyboard shortcuts but there are actually some great trackpad shortcuts as well. You just may not be using them. You can see all of the different ways you can use your trackpad by going to System Preferences, Trackpad.

Then there are three different categories of gestures. You may have some of them down already. Like, for instance, secondary click, like Control click. You just use two fingers clicking instead of one finger clicking. Now there are some great ones though that a lot of people don't use at all. So let's take a look at those.

You've got the Smart Zoom which is the double tap with two fingers. So you may know how to pinch out kind of like you do on an iPhone or iPad screen. The Smart Zoom is really interesting. If we go to Safari here and if you want to zoom in on an element you can do the gesture, the double tap with two fingers. Let's try it right here. Say I want to read this section. I double tap with two fingers and it zooms in on this text. Double tap again with two fingers and it zooms back out. If you want to see this picture, double tap, double tap. Two finger double tap zooms in in an intelligent kind of way and it's easy to zoom in and zoom out.

Rotating is another one you may not use very much. So it's really cool. You go into Preview, for instance. Here I am just viewing something in Preview like normal. I'm going to use my thumb and index finger to move with the trackpad. Now it doesn't do much here except move ninety degrees. But you can use it other places as well. So, for instance, the Photos app. If I go to Edit and then I go Crop which is where you would rotate an image, I can use two fingers and actually control the rotation there. So I can actually use this interface, click and drag, but here I just use my thumb and index finger and I can rotate. So there are a lot of situations. Maybe if you use graphic design software. It may work in that as well.

Let's look at some more gestures you may not be using. So you may already know to swipe between pages or full screen apps. You can do it with two or four fingers, left or right. But you can bring up Notification Center. A lot of people ask is there a cool keyboard shortcut for Notification Center. There isn't. But there's a great way to be able to just bring it up with the trackpad. Just swipe from the right side of the trackpad just a little bit to the left and it brings it in. Then you could use the same thing. Just on the right side swipe left to bring it in and swipe right to bring it out. Really cool.

Mission Control you can also bring that up. Instead of the keyboard shortcut you can use either four fingers or three fingers, whichever one you want, and you can swipe up with four fingers to go to Mission Control and the Expose, which is like the app version of Mission Control, you can do that with down. That brings together all the windows of the current app you're using.

Also, Launchpad can be brought up by pinching with the thumb and three fingers. So you're pretty much using almost using your entire hand and you bring it in and you get Launchpad. Back out again and Launchpad goes away. You can also show Desktop spreading out with three fingers and your thumb. So like this. This is useful because if you've got stuff on your Desktop like files and folders and such it's really easy to just clear away the windows for a second so you can grab one.

Take a look at these gestures in here. The Trackpad is a great tool but you've got to know what the commands are. You've got to know how to use it. I would suggest, if you don't use a lot of these, maybe just pick one and try to get used to it. Then after you kind of work that into your regular workflow pick another one and also adopt that gesture.

Comments: 4 Responses to “7 Trackpad Gestures You Probably Aren’t Using”

    7 months ago

    Bring up the “Notification Center”; there is a keyboard shortcut for that. It is found in Keyboard>Shortcuts>Mission Control and is ⌘/

    Marcos Delgado
    7 months ago

    Hi Gary, there was a gesture that was, three fingers to drag a window or to select something like text, where is it? is it gone?? I used it a lot.

    7 months ago

    Marcos: It is still there, but in a different location. Look at Accessibility, Mouse & Trackpad, Trackpad Options, Enable Dragging, Three Finger Drag.

    Marcos Delgado
    6 months ago

    Thank you so much Gary, huge help!

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