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If you want more control over your Mac using your Magic Mouse or trackpad, BetterTouchTool puts hundreds of actions at your finger tips. Along with award winning automation program, Keyboard Maestro, it’s one of my most recommended automation tools for Mac power users.
We’ve taken a look at getting started with BetterTouchTool as well as how to use some of its more advanced features in the past. Believe it or not, there are even more powerful controls unique to this program. After a little setup, you will be amazed by how much time you can shave off repetitive actions or complicated workflows.
BetterTouchTool is still a free download for Mac OS X, so install it on your computer and get ready to save time and effort.
Create a Contextual Menu
You probably know you can right-click in any application and get access to some assigned actions and menu items like reloading the current page in Safari, or sending a document to the printer.
With BetterTouchTool you can actually create a set of custom actions for specific applications that are activated similar to how contextual menus work. For example, when I click on my desktop, I use a simple BetterTouchTool Four Finger Tip to choose from several assigned actions, such as creating a new folder window, launching an assigned application, or enabling Cover Flow.
I usually activate this setup when my hand is already on the trackpad. This setup works best for individual applications, unless you prefer to assign actions globally to work in any application.
To set up a BetterTouchTool “contextual menu”, select or add an application in BTT, and create a new touchpad gesture. Be sure to choose a gesture that doesn’t conflict with another assigned gesture. Assign a keyboard shortcut or a predefined action to the gesture.
Now, add more actions using the same assigned gesture. As shown the screenshot below, be sure to give each action a name in the Notes column of BTT. When the same gesture is assigned in BTT, they will be displayed in a pop-up menu where you can choose which action you want to activate.
This BTT hack is much faster and than creating service menus using Automator.
Send Shortcut to Specific Application
Some of the most powerful features in BTT are still the predefined actions. For example there’s an action (inside Controlling Other Applications > Send Shortcut to Specific App) for actually sending a keyboard shortcut to a specified application.
So for example, from within any application, I can send the shortcut to iTunes to pause or play the currently selected track without having to switch to iTunes. I’ve made this a global action using the “Single Finger TipTap Middle” trigger on my trackpad. I use a similar action for Rdio.
Show Notification Center
As you may know, you can open Notification Center using a default finger gesture, but why be limited to Apple’s assigned “swipe left from the right edge with two fingers”?
With BTT you can assign one of several dozens gestures to activate Notification Center. This is also a predefined action found under OS X Functionality.
Enter Full Screen
There are several powerful predefined actions in BTT, and I want to point out one more to wet your curiosity. I sometimes open an application in full screen mode, but the button in the right-top corner of an application window can be a hassle to access on a 27-inch iMac.
So I assigned a global Five Finger Swipe Up gesture to the predefined action, “Enter Fullscreen.” The assigned gesture will also exit fullscreen mode. This action is much faster than using the cursor.
Get More Done
The more you use BTT, the more you will discover the potential at your fingertips. You can hide applications, search the Web for a selected word, open a Finder window, take screenshots, enable AirPlay Mirroring, perform various system actions, and much, much more – using a series of taps, clicks and gestures.
If you don’t like remembering dozens of keyboard shortcuts, BetterTouchTool is the program for staying productive on your Mac.