Browse Faster and Better with Mouse Gestures

Akshata Shanbhag 10-08-2016

Can’t remember keyboard shortcuts 32 Keyboard Shortcuts to Speed up Your Workflow in Any Browser Browsing faster is not an elusive goal, nor does it need drastic changes to your workflow. Adopting a few simple new habits like keyboard shortcuts should do the trick. Here's how. Read More ? Prefer using the mouse at all times? You’ll love what mouse gestures can do for your browser workflow.


Mouse gestures are nothing more than quick flicks and clicks of the mouse to trigger specific actions. You can use them to navigate pages faster, for starters. You can also use them to open links, manipulate tabs, save images, and so on. Let’s show you how you can take advantage of mouse gestures in your favorite browser.

On Chrome

crxMouse Chrome Gestures is probably your best choice for adding mouse gestures to Chrome. As soon as you install the extension, its complex-looking Settings section pops up. Don’t let it faze you. Leave the default settings alone to begin with, but check them out one by one to see what each setting allows you to do.


For example, if you go to Settings > Mouse Gestures > More…, you’ll see that the Which key for mouse gestures dropdown menu shows Right mouse button as the selected option. To see the right mouse button in action, click and drag it on the screen, say, first up and then down.

You’ll get a visual tip telling you that this gesture reloads the page. Now let go of the right mouse button and you’ll see that the page does indeed reload. Go ahead and try this on a proper webpage. You know you want to.



Next, go to Settings > Wheel Gestures. You’ll see that the checkbox next to Tab list is enabled and right below it you have instructions for using the tab list. To test this function, hold down the right mouse button and scroll up and down using the mouse wheel. This takes you back and forth through your list of open tabs. To jump to the tab that’s currently highlighted in the list, let go of the mouse button.


Once you get comfortable using the default gestures, feel free to add custom ones under Settings > Mouse Gestures > New and explore some of the advanced settings. You might also want to fiddle with gesture appearances.


If you’re wary of the permissions that crxMouse Chrome Gestures asks for before installation, you can grab a different extension that’s based off this one — you’ll find a reference to crxMouse in the extension description — from the Chrome Web Store.

If crxMouse Chrome Gestures is too complex for your tastes, experiment with smartUp Gestures and miniGestures.

Note that mouse gestures don’t work on certain pages such as the Chrome Web Store and internal Chrome pages like chrome://settings and chrome://flags. This has nothing to do with the gesture extension that you’re using; those pages are already under lockdown for security reasons.


In Firefox

You can skip your add-on search and install FireGestures [No Longer Available]. It has high ratings and is the most popular add-on for mouse gestures in Firefox.

With FireGestures, you can execute a wide range of commands using a combination of mouse buttons, keypresses, and mouse wheel scrolling. If you’re on a Mac, you can also configure 3-finger and 4-finger swipe gestures for the trackpad.

Here’s a snapshot of the gestures that the add-on has already set up for you.



You can access the above list under Tools > Add-ons > FireGestures > Preferences > Mapping. The Preferences section gives you quite a few options to configure mouse gestures to your liking — you can specify which mouse button should trigger a gesture, activate tab wheel gestures, get scripts to add special functions, and so on.

There are alternatives to FireGestures. All-in-one Gestures is one of them and it has done a decent job so far, but its developer seems to have abandoned it and the add-on is glitchy in the latest versions of Firefox. No worries though, because Mouse Gestures Suite has stepped up as an effective alternative to All-in-one Gestures and FireGestures.

In Opera

You don’t need an extension to use mouse gestures in Opera (or in Vivaldi). All you have to do is activate the built-in mouse gestures feature. To do this, go to Preferences > Browser > Shortcuts and check the box next to Enable mouse gestures.

Click on the Learn more link next to this setting to see a list of the default gestures and the actions that they trigger.


Opera also supports rocker gestures, which involve alternate clicking between the left and right mouse buttons to move back and forth between pages in a tab’s history. Opera is smart that way. It packs some handy features like free VPN Get Free Unlimited VPN on the New Opera Desktop Browser Opera is doing a lot to lure users back, and its latest feature is a doozy. Opera now comes with unlimited, free VPN for life! Read More and page compression for slow connections by default.

If you’d like to add custom gestures or tweak the actions linked to the default gestures, you’ll have to look beyond Opera’s feature set. Since it’s easy to install Google Chrome extensions in Opera How to Install Google Chrome Extensions in Opera Browser Opera is making a case for you to switch to it. There's one small problem: extensions. What if you could install Chrome extensions in Opera? It's easy, so here's a quick guide. Read More with Download Chrome Extension, we recommend installing crxMouse Chrome Gestures even in Opera for advanced gesture options. For many of us though, sticking with Opera’s default mouse navigation functions will work out just fine.

On Safari

There seems to be no decent extension for using mouse gestures in Safari, so you’ll have to content yourself with using the basic mouse gestures built into macOS. You’ll find the settings for these under System Preferences > Mouse.

For advanced gesture options to go with your Magic Mouse (in Safari and other macOS applications), install BetterTouchTool. In any case, macOS works better with a trackpad Why OS X Works Better with a Trackpad While Microsoft has focused on bringing touchscreen technology to the desktop, Apple has continued to optimize for the more traditional pointer-based approach. Read More .

In Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge finally supports extensions, and there’s one available for taking care of basic browser tasks with mouse movements. It’s name is hard to forget — Mouse Gestures.


Once you install the extension, click and hold the right mouse button to trigger a gesture and drag the mouse in a random shape to get a preview of the gestures available to you. To access gesture settings, click on the extension’s icon in the More actions menu.

Edge Mouse Gestures Overview

If the gestures aren’t working on a webpage, it could be because you had the page open before you installed the extension. If that’s the case, a page refresh should get the gestures working. Note that mouse gestures won’t work in the Reading view and at times on pages with too much content.

Also, here’s how to install an extension on Edge and excellent ones to try 10 Best Microsoft Edge Browser Extensions You Should Try Today The latest Windows 10 Upgrade finally brings browser extensions to Microsoft Edge. We have examined the handful of extensions available and show you which ones are worth your time. Read More .

Click N Scroll Browsing

We must warn you that with the usefulness of mouse gesture extensions comes the threat of spyware and adware. Didn’t think browser extensions could be risky 4 Malicious Browser Extensions That Help Hackers Target Their Victims You'd be wrong to think all browser extensions are designed to help you. Whether extensions exploit vulnerabilities or send data to hackers, it's time to be vigilant about how you enhance your browser. Read More ? Think again. Smooth Gestures, a popular Chrome extension for mouse gestures was involved in a spyware controversy. We recommend doing a little digging of your own before you settle on any extension for regular use.

Once you get used to mouse gestures in your browser, you’ll want to use them in other applications as well. That’s easy to do if you install the right mouse gesture tools Even More Powerful BetterTouchTool Actions You Should Know About If you want more control over your Mac using your Magic Mouse or trackpad, BetterTouchTool puts hundreds of actions at your finger tips. Read More .

Do you use mouse gestures? Which custom ones have you set up that are super convenient? Tell us more about them.

Image Credits:hand holding mouse by leungchopan via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mouse Gesture, Mozilla Firefox, Safari Browser.

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  1. RoaringPenguins
    August 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    And you need Easy DragToGo.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 13, 2016 at 7:19 am

      If you're referring to the Firefox add-on, that seems to have been discontinued and DragIt is recommended in its place.