MagicPrefs: Another Powerful Mouse & Trackpad App [Mac]
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trackpad appI previously wrote about the power of BetterTouchTool Become A Power Trackpad User With BetterTouchTool Become A Power Trackpad User With BetterTouchTool It's especially useful for Mac users who do lots of work in applications like iPhoto or Aperture, or who surf the web. Read More as the ultimate Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse enhancer for navigating a Mac computer, launching applications, and activating keyboard shortcuts. Even Apple‘s upcoming OS Lion trackpad and mouse gestures don’t compare to what BetterTouchTool and another similar application, MagicPrefs, have to offer. These applications are for Mac users who find Apple‘s default click, tap, and two-finger scrolling gestures too limiting for their needs.

I wouldn’t want to use a Mac without BetterTouchTool, but MagicPrefs is another free offering that you might want to try if you haven’t gone beyond Apple‘s limited hand gesturing features.

MagicPrefs’s Features

I personally find BetterTouchTool easier to use than MagicPrefs because, for some odd reason, its Tap to Click feature is not as smooth as the default settings that Apple provides. But aside from that, MagicPrefs offers twice as many gestures and other controls.

trackpad app

MagicPrefs enables you to, for example, activate OS X’s Exposé All Windows, Spaces, Dashboard, Spotlight, or Application Windows with say a two, three, or four-finger click or swipe.

trackpad software

To activate a setting, first select the action under Clips & Taps and then click the accompanying hand gesture.

Graphical Display

If you’ve never used an application like MagicPrefs before, then you will probably not find it intuitive.

trackpad software

The application includes real-time graphical displays for each selected action, so you will get an idea of what you need to do with your hand and fingers to activate a specified action.

Custom Actions

MagicPrefs includes custom actions for navigating specific applications, keyboard shortcuts, and even AppleScript actions.

trackpad software

When you select a specific application, that means the select hand gesture, click or tap will only work when that application in the forefront. Unlike BetterTouchTool, basic AppleScripts Actions (for navigating iTunes and adjusting audio volume) are not embedded into MagicPrefs. But the site provides a simple set of scripts that you can use with MagicPrefs to get you going.

trackpad applications

To add keyboard actions, select a Click or Tap action, then from the drop-down menu select Custom Actions > Manage Keyboard Actions. In the resulting window, click inside the data entry to clear it, and then type in your keyboard shortcut. You will need to enter the modifier key(s) and letter(s) individually—not all at once. If you make a mistake, click in the text box again to clear it and start over.

trackpad applications

You can add as many keyboard shortcuts as you like, and then select and apply them when you choose a click, tap, swipe, or rotate & pinch action.

Other Features

MagicPrefs includes other features, such as “inverse scrolling” – something Apple will be adding to OS X Lion – which simply means that when you scroll your two fingers up, a selected page scrolls down, and visa versa when you scroll downwards.

trackpad applications

Other unique features include “Disable capslock notification” and the ability to configure the MagicPrefs icon in the menu bar to display your Trackpad and MagicMouse’s battery level.

trackpad app

MagicPrefs also includes a set of plugins, such as the iSightSnap which enables you “to save a snapshot from your iSight to Photo Booth” and the MagicLauncher, “a small interface that shows a clickable list of Recent Applications icons at the mouse position“. The other listed plugins, like MagicTerminal, which allows terminal commands to be sent from a remote iOS device are for purchase at the App Store.

I found MagicPrefs to be a little buggy in places, but because it’s a free download, I think it’s worth downloading it and taking it for a trial run. See if it fits your particular style of tapping, clicking, shipping, and launching applications and other items on your Mac.

With the upcoming release of OS Lion, Apple is indicating that many Mac users will want to navigate their Mac similarly to how they navigate their iPhone or iPad, using a trackpad and MagicMouse. Let us know what you think of MagicPrefs, BetterTouchTool, or other similar applications. Have you abandoned your traditional three-button mouse for finger actions instead? Why or why not?

Explore more about: Computer Mouse Tips, Mouse Gesture.

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