MacMost Now 582: Lion Gestures

Get to know the new Lion gestures. You can use a trackpad on a recent MacBook or a Magic Trackpad to navigate around in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. You can also do some gestures with a Magic Mouse. See where to enable and customize gestures.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 582: Lion Gestures.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at MAC OS X Lion Gestures.
So Gestures are when you use your track pad on your MacBook or using a Magic Trackpad, and you swipe or pinch or do something else with usually more than 1 finger on the trackpad. There's a bunch of different shortcuts built into OS X Lion that allows you to do things using Gestures.
Now lets say you have Magic Mouse. Now Magic Mouse has a surface on the top that's multi-touch. So it can do Gestures as well, but there are different gestures. See there's only Point and Click and More Gestures. Here you can swipe between pages before, but its only 1 finger not 2 fingers. Swiping in spaces in Mission Control there is left or right with 2 fingers rather than 3 or 4. Mission Control is a double tap with 2 fingers. So completely different gestures here for a Magic Mouse than you do with the full Trackpad.
Now if we go back here, we can look at some more things. Mission Control you get by Swiping Up with either 4 fingers or 3 fingers depending upon how you have it set. So I can do it with 4 fingers and there's Mission Control here and back. App Expose is kind of like the opposite of that. It's where an entire App and all the windows will show themselves.
Let me open a second window here in Safari and I go down with 4 fingers and you can see it shows me all the windows of the App that I am using. You've also got Launch Pad which you can pinch with 3 of your fingers and thumb and it will bring up the Applications and blur everything behind it.
And to show the Desktop to clear everything away you can spread out. A little difficult to do but there it is.
So the first thing you want to do when you're trying to learn about Gestures is, go to the System Preferences on your Mac, and choose either the Mouse or Trackpad depending upon which device you are using. So for instance I'll choose Trackpad since I'm on a Macbook right now.
You can see, there are 3 categories here under Trackpad; Point and Click, Scroll and Zoom and More Gestures. All the Gestures are listed under these 3 categories. You can see there really aren't many of them, so it's pretty easy to learn. Some of them here aren't even Gestures. For instance, the first one here you can switch to Tapping for Click rather than actually pressing down the Trackpad. So one is basically touching the Trackpad, the other is pressing it physically down.
Secondary Click that's like CTRL+Click or sometimes it is called Right Click. That can be done with 2 fingers whose prints sit on the Desktop here. If I Click with 2 fingers here you can see it brings up the Contents Menu, that's Click not Tap, it's important to remember the difference.
And you can also do things like a 3 finger drag, which is one of the simplest Gestures. Let me turn that ON and you can see I can grab the top of that window. I can actually just grab it, clicking down and moving around like before. But if I do 3 fingers I can grab it as well, I'm not Clicking down on it, I'm just putting my 3 fingers there.
Now also notice in this window on the right you have this little videos showing you how each one works, so you can kind of get the idea. Now a lot of the Gestures you are going to want to use are in the next 2 categories. So in Scroll and Zoom, you've got the scroll direction, now, this is important because Lets go to Safari for instance, we are looking at a page like this. To Scroll up and down you would use 2 fingers and I would scroll This is me going up on the Trackpad, this is me going down. Now for some people it seems kind of intuitive, so you can actually switch between whether you want it to go up, is up, and down is, down, or vice versa.
So you've also got zoom in and out, Pinching with your fingers. This works on things like photos and PDF documents. Smart Zoom is part of that as well, where you tap with 2 fingers on say an, image in it and it zooms in to look at that image. And rotating works on something like a photograph where you can rotate around using 2 fingers.
Under more Gestures we've got some of the most familiar Gestures here. So swiping between pages in something like Safari is done with 2 fingers left or right. Let's go to Safari here and say, I want to go from this Apple page to MacMost. I can go back by simply swiping with 2 fingers to the right and it goes back there. I can go the opposite way to go back to the page there. So its like any of these back or forward buttons just little nicer. In fact it's easier to do.
Now it's important to note that using multi-touch Gestures is purely optional. There's always another way to get it done. You can click on the right spot, use a keyboard shortcut, there's always another way to do it so if you have an older mouse or you have a track pad that's not multi-touch or you just don't want to use them, you can always get the same functions accomplished another way.
Now I've created a 1 page printable handy guide to these Gestures. You can download it for free at, and you can use that as way to get familiar with them. Till next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 16 Responses to “MacMost Now 582: Lion Gestures”

    Phyllis S.
    8 years ago

    I downloaded Lion Wednesday night. I knew i could count on your videos to make it all clear and easy! Thanks!

      Nick M.
      8 years ago


    8 years ago

    I notice that all these gestures are listed under preferences;trackpad even in Snow Leopard. Was that Apple just getting ready for Lion? OR can I use these gestures in SL?

      8 years ago

      They are not the same, for obvious reasons. No Mission Control in Snow Leopard, etc. But Apple did add gestures to Snow Leopard over time. And especially when the Magic Trackpad was released.

    8 years ago

    I have a desktop iMac that I have no intention of replacing anytime soon. I upgraded to Snow Leopard in order to get the “cloud” options with Lion, but now I’m wondering if I even want Lion. I can’t see ANY need for gestures with a desktop, especially since I will need a new, non-wired, mouse to do them. Why DO I want Lion???

      8 years ago

      Check Apple’s site for a long list of new features in Lion. Maybe Mission Control (my favorite)? Or Versions? Or Full Screen apps? Lots to like.

    Ken Brussack
    8 years ago

    I have an iPhone 3GS with the latest update and Snow Leopard.
    Would I be correct to say that I will NOT be able to use iCloud with my current setup?
    Appreciate it.

      8 years ago

      iCloud will require iOS 5 (not out yet) and Lion. As long as you update your 3Gs to iOS 5, and you update your Mac to Lion, you should be able to use it. We won’t know anything for sure until iCloud is released — who knows, there may be some features not available to the 3Gs.

    Phil Rodokanakis
    8 years ago

    Gary: Thanks for making the Guide to MAC OS X Lion Gestures available–that is a great reference chart!

    Has Apple changed something in Mail? I just can’t get any of zoom in gestures to work in Mail. I’m pretty sure I was able to zoom in on messages in Leopard. What has changed in Lion that prevents us from being able to zoom in when reading messages? Do I need to adjust a setting (which I’ve looked for but can’t find) or is this a bug of some sort that will hopefully be fixed soon?

    Thanks again for all the info you provide us with in your insightful videos and newsletters.

      8 years ago

      I guess it just doesn’t work in Mail. Command++ and Command+- still work, though.

    8 years ago

    I only have 1 issue with lion. Now I have to resize the screen on EVERY page. Any fix for this?

      8 years ago

      Can you provide more details. Resize what screen? Do you mean window? For which app?

    8 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    Do you know of a setting regarding the drag-lock that was available in the past?
    I am dragging a range of cells in Excel for Mac 2011 but run into the edge of the trackpad. Any ideas?

      8 years ago

      Never mind, is just found a message somewhere stating that is under Universal Access.

        8 years ago

        Mind again, the option is there, but it doesn’t seem to work. Does it work for you, and how?

          8 years ago

          NEVER mind, again, seems logical: thumbs press-hold on the left bottom of the trackpad, drag with a finger to select the area and then release the thumbs when done. Why couldn’t I figure it out at first?
          (Please disregard the final question.. and all of the above also actually)

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