Use Three Fingers and Revolutionize Your Mac Use – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 403Use Three Fingers and Revolutionize Your Mac Use

If your Mac has a multitouch trackpad, open System Preferences (Apple menuSystem Preferences), click the Trackpad icon, make sure the Point & Click tab is selected, and check Three Finger Drag.

This will activate several useful features, as follows:

  • Moving windows: You can move windows by positioning the mouse cursor over the title bar and dragging three fingers on the trackpad.

  • Coasting windows: Place three fingers on the trackpad when the mouse cursor is over a title bar and move it a little. Then leave two fingers permanently on the trackpad and flick with a neighboring finger—the window will “coast” for a while (think of a puck on an air-hockey board or of flicking within a list on an iPhone/iPad screen).

  • Copying files: In Finder windows, if you position the mouse cursor over a file or folder and drag with three fingers, you can copy it to a new location instantly (hit Esc to cancel if you change your mind midway through). To drag long distances, lift one finger so that two still touch the trackpad, and flick that finger to “coast” (try it and see).

  • Downloading web images: When viewing web pages, position the mouse over an image, drag with three fingers on a picture, and copy it to the desktop or to a Finder window.

  • Selecting text: You can select text by positioning the mouse cursor over a sentence in a paragraph, putting three fingers on the trackpad and dragging.

  • Selecting within a list: Drag three fingers across a file listing, and you can rubber-band select them. The same applies to dragging three fingers within any other list within OS X, such as the Inbox in Mail.

Note that when the three-finger drag is activated, the three-finger gesture is switched to four fingers—swiping four fingers left or right will switch spaces, and swiping four fingers up will activate Mission Control.