You may love your Mac laptop now, but wait until you find out about these special features. They make your laptop crazy better. It’s one of OS X’s most famous characteristics—that you can point, click, scroll, right-click, rotate things, enlarge things, hide windows, and switch programs, all on the trackpad itself, without a mouse and without ever having to lift your fingers. (You can do most of this on a desktop Mac, too, if it has an Apple Magic Mouse, or an external trackpad like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.)

Apple keeps adding new “gestures” with each new laptop, so yours may not offer all these options. And even in Mavericks, you might see different options and layouts depending on what Mac you have.

On the latest Macs, you see something like Figure 6-3: three tabs. Each offers on/off switches or pop-up menus that govern how you do pointing, clicking, scrolling, and other mouselike maneuvers. Each time you click one, the right half of the dialog box plays a tidy, looping movie that shows you that technique clearly and visibly.

Here’s what’s on the three main tabs.

Point & Click

  • Tap to Click. Usually, you touch your laptop’s trackpad only to move the cursor. For clicking and dragging, you’re supposed to push down on the clicker (either the button beneath the trackpad or, on recent models, the lower half of the actual trackpad surface).

    Many people find, however, that it’s more direct to tap and drag directly on the trackpad, using the same finger that’s been moving the cursor. ...

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