Clicking With A Macbook/Pro Touchpad 29

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Clicking With A Macbook/Pro Touchpad

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Many people who by laptops (especially Windows laptops), use the trackpad/touch pad as a means of clicking. By default this is switched off to Mac users, on the flip side it is normally on for Windows users. It is always funny to see a new Mac user trying to click with the touch pad and jabbing there finger ever harder on the touch pad. Thats not the purpose of this story, switching it on is. You can find more information about this trick in MacBook or MacBook Pro Portable Genius, you can also find this trick in MacBook For Dummies. I recommend any of those books if you want to learn more tricks about your laptop.

To enable you to switch on your touchpad you need to head over to system preferences. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Trackpad. You will notice about half way down an option for turning on clicking.


If you enable the check box named clicking the touch pad will become active and you can start clicking. Underneath this there is a dragging option. I am not 100% sure what this does I had a mess about with it an nothing much happened. If you can tell me in the comments that would be great.

There is one other option that I would like to draw you attention to. This is right clicking. Since Macs have a multi-touch interface they can register more than one input at a time. This means there is a second option for right clicking.

If you don’t have clicking enabled the check box underneath will ask about using two fingers and then clicking the button to right click. If you have clicking enabled this will change so when ever you tap two fingers on the pad any right click menu will appear. I think this is really cool.

There you have it. Clicking with the trackpad is really simple it just involves changing a tick box. I find that many people don’t know about this since it isn’t turned on by default. Many new users where I work ask me about such as features. Finally, there may be more options on a Mac Book Air, since I don’t have one of these I can’t really tell you how it differs.


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29 Responses to “Clicking With A Macbook/Pro Touchpad”

  1. 1

    Thank you so much for this tip. Recently switching from a PC to Mac, this was one of my major frustrations with the macbook. Great tip, thanks for posting!

    Comment By Anonymous on February 23rd, at 11:40 pm

  2. 2

    thank you for this great tip!

    here is how the dragging works… found on mac support site…

    # Select the Dragging checkbox to drag by tapping an item twice and dragging without holding the trackpad button down.
    # Select the Drag Lock checkbox to lock the item to the pointer after you tap it twice for dragging. After you reposition the item, tap the trackpad again to release it.

    Comment By Anonymous on February 24th, at 2:34 am

  3. 3

    Thanks anonymous I didn’t no that.

    Comment By James Powell on February 24th, at 10:29 am

  4. 4

    dude I bought my macbook pro 2 weeks ago and your page helped me ALOT
    thanks so much

    Comment By Anonymous on May 30th, at 7:27 pm

  5. 5

    Here’s the funny thing – the folks at the Apple Store here didn’t know this either; i was jabbing my finger through the touchpad, just as you noted (hee hee) and I asked them about it, wondering if buying a MacBook would quickly become too frustrating…the response was, “No…the touchpads don’t work that way on the MacBooks…” Thanks for the tip!

    Comment By Anonymous on June 13th, at 4:15 am

  6. 6

    Is there anyway to have the third button using trackpad?

    Comment By Anonymous on June 13th, at 10:04 am

  7. 7

    No there isn’t i’m afraid.

    Comment By James Powell on June 13th, at 11:40 am

  8. 8

    Thanks for a useful post =) it gave me faith in the macbook again.

    Comment By anon on September 2nd, at 12:11 am

  9. 9

    Why did you ever lose faith?

    Comment By admin on September 2nd, at 12:12 am

  10. 10

    Thanks a lot for the tip!

    By the way ‘Drag Lock’ option works this way:

    By double clicking and holding touchpad on any window title bar, window can be moved. In order to set the new position, tap again.

    Comment By Mac User on October 16th, at 10:34 am

  11. 11

    “a new Mac user trying to click with the touch pad and jabbing their finger ever harder on the touch pad” Yep, that was me. Thanks for the how-to.

    Comment By John on October 26th, at 2:32 am

  12. 12

    Thanks for the tip on right clicking! Like many others, recently moved from a PC to a Mac myself.
    Using two hands for right clicking was getting very inconvenient.

    btw, I really like the two finger scroll feature on the Mac touchpad. Very intuitive! :)

    Thanks again for the article! Very helpful!

    Comment By Natasha on February 12th, at 3:47 pm

  13. 13

    thanks for the tips, i’m a new macbook owner myself and I’m just playing around with the trackpad now.
    Just found out that swiping to the left or right with three fingers sends safari back a page or forward a page ie. swiping to the left is back, to the right is forward. Loveit! can’t wait to find more :D

    Comment By anon on April 7th, at 1:42 pm

  14. 14

    Three fingers and drag up in firefox goes to the top of a page. Three fingers and drag down… you guessed it. Cool!

    Comment By anon on July 4th, at 4:50 am

  15. 15

    to have the 3rd button (middle mouse click/scroll click), press apple key & tap, sorry for english

    Comment By jolly j on August 10th, at 12:26 am

  16. 16

    This information has been so helpful. I am another user who had been jamming away at the touchpad! You have prevented a severe case of carpal tunnel!

    The previous post dated August 10th referred to the 3rd button click/scroll. Is that different than using 2 fingers to swipe up and down the page? What is the apple key? Is that the command button?

    Thanks again for the help!

    Comment By anonymous on August 17th, at 12:53 pm

  17. 17

    I understand that you have to enable the checkbox. But how do you even GET to the checkbox when right now I can’t/don’t know how to click anything WITHOUT enabling the checkbox?

    I’ve been jabbing my trackpad for the past 30 minutes like a complete idiot. Please advise.

    Comment By Nic on October 9th, at 9:27 am

  18. 18

    These kids are Americans – it is time we treat them and expect them to act and be like Americans – from the time they are babies. ,

    Comment By SouthWind64 on October 22nd, at 1:41 pm

  19. 19

    ConclusionStorytellers are essential throughout times. ,

    Comment By JXL65 on October 23rd, at 12:25 pm

  20. 20

    this is really helpful stuff. sometimes my roommates can’t sleep at night because of the way i jam the keypad. apple should have the stuff on by default.

    Comment By Dizzleboy on November 17th, at 5:20 pm

  21. 21

    This was the best piece of information in a very long time!! I feel fulfilled.

    Comment By viktor on November 18th, at 11:28 am

  22. 22

    I ordered my new MacBook Pro and had it delivered out West so it will be there when I go on vacation (and it saved me $155 in sales tax!). This will be my very first MAC. Yay!

    I’ve been reading all the Mac tutorials, and this one is the best so far–I too was “jabbing” the touchpad…. Yup, that was me at the Best Buy; the sales guy didn’t know why the touchpad would not work. (No, I did NOT buy from them).

    Can’t wait to begin enjoying my new Macbook Pro…

    Comment By Richard(formerPCuser) on December 14th, at 3:42 am

  23. 23

    Awesome, thanks for this – I asked around and nobody was able to help me with this, obviously they didn’t feel the need to have these features – but I was terribly frustrated without the single tap and the right-click functionality!

    Comment By Philip Brookes on February 6th, at 11:38 am

  24. 24

    Thanks for the tip i wanted you to know I learned something from you too… thanks a bunch!

    Comment By Phil Sebree on February 19th, at 3:06 am

  25. 25

    Hey err1, 4 fingers swiped left or right will allow you 2 switch between apps. Just clic on the 1 u wanna use! Just FYI.

    Comment By D’ Beau on February 26th, at 5:20 am

  26. 26

    The people in the Apple store told me the same thing. I figured I’d just have to adapt. Ha! I had so much fun with this tip. I changed several MacBooks and MBP in the Apple store so they would be “tappable”. No more frustrated PC users.

    Comment By sailorgirl on May 22nd, at 7:16 pm

  27. 27

    Hi: and to say thank you for this tip..; found your page after a trawl on the www you were first on the results list! Had been driving me barney trying to find out how it’s dun..

    One does “wunda” why Apple configure Macbooks (various) with this not set as default?

    Comment By trvlr on January 9th, at 1:39 pm

  28. 28

    I was wondering if you ever carefully changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a small more in the way of article so people could join together with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

    Comment By Lanny Boady on May 1st, at 10:57 pm

  29. 29

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    Comment By Treatment Of A Jersey Finger on December 30th, at 2:21 am