How to Use the Touchpad on the MacBook

by David Weedmark
Apple's laptops allow you to zoom, rotate and swipe through photos with the touchpad.

Apple's laptops allow you to zoom, rotate and swipe through photos with the touchpad.

The touchpad on a MacBook, also known as the Multi-Touch Trackpad, offers different features compared to the touchpads found on Windows-based notebooks. You can use up to four fingers to access different functions of the MacBook touchpad, including scrolling, image rotation, zooming, highlighting and to access the Application Switcher utility. These features apply to the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The touchpad functions can be customized using the Trackpad Utility that comes with your MacBook.

One- and Two-Finger Options

1

Place one finger on the touchpad and slide it in any direction to move your cursor across the screen.

2

Tap once on the touchpad while the cursor is on any icon to select that icon.

3

Tap twice on the touchpad while the cursor is on any icon to activate it. In the case of applications, this will launch the application. In the case of documents or other files, this will open the file by launching the appropriate application.

4

Press the bottom of the touchpad with one finger. Then move another finger across the touchpad. This will move the cursor across the screen, while highlighting text or icons in its path.

5

Open an image file, or PDF, using Preview or other image-viewing software. Place two fingers on the touchpad and rotate your fingers to rotate the image. Drag your fingers away from each other to zoom in on the image. Drag your fingers closer together to zoom out from the image.

Multi-Finger Options

1

Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe downward to immediately go to the bottom of a page. Swipe three fingers upward to go to the top of the page. Note: This does not work with all applications.

2

Place four fingers on the pad and swipe upward. All open windows will be cleared from the desktop. Repeat this action and they will be returned to their previous position.

3

Swipe downward with four fingers. All open windows will be reduced in size, arranged side-by-side in the center of the screen.

4

Swipe sideways, left or right, with four fingers. The Application Switcher utility will appear on the desktop, showing all applications currently running. Move two fingers left or right on the touchpad to scroll through these applications.

5

Swipe upward on the touchpad with two fingers while holding down the Control key. This will zoom in on the screen where your cursor is. Swipe downward while holding down the Control key to return the screen to normal.

Customizing Your Touchpad

1

Click on the Apple logo on the top left of the desktop. Then click on "System Preferences." Then, under "Hardware," click on the Trackpad icon.

2

Use the three scroll settings at the top of the Trackpad screen to adjust Tracking Speed, Double-Click Speed and Scrolling Speed, from slow to fast.

3

Select the one-finger options you desire by clicking on the check boxes beside "Tap to Click," "Dragging," "Drag Lock" and "Secondary Click."

4

Test your settings by using the above features while the Trackpad Settings window is still open.

5

Test the three- and four-finger features in the Trackpad Settings window. When you're satisfied with your settings, click on the red "X" in the upper left area of the window to close the settings. Closing the window will automatically save your options.

About the Author

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images