Simulate 'left-click hold' on MBA keyboard ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by freddy fredster, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. freddy fredster macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Hi folks ...

    Long time PC pro, but brand new to Apple, setting up my office desk space.
    Have a question I've not been able to answer anyplace else.
    Appreciate your thoughts on this.

    I keep my 13" MBA open at my right hand.
    I have a wireless keyboard in front of me with a 22" monitor in front of that.
    So I use both screens (swipe windows from screen to screen).
    And I use the laptop's trackpad for mouse navigation.

    Question is ...
    Can I customize a key or keys-combination, on the wireless keyboard, that will simulate 'holding the left mouse button' ?

    I would like to be able to hold a key on the wireless keyboard (with my left hand) while moving the mouse using the trackpad (with my right hand) thereby dragging and dropping.

    This would be more comfortable than the current setup which requires me to put both hands on the trackpad ... which is on my right side.

    Of course I can do this with two-fingers of my right hand on the trackpad, but only when moving short distances.

    So would appreciate feedback about customizing a key to simulate the left-click and hold event.

    Thanks Much,
  2. mopatops macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2011
    I'm not sure if it's capable of what you're asking as I have haven't tried it but BetterTouchTool is great for things like this. Worth looking at.
  3. freddy fredster, Feb 22, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012

    freddy fredster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Appreciate the tip mopatops !!

    WOW ... perfect !
    BetterTouchTool works like a charm.
    Allows complete customization of trackpad gestures, even custom keyboard shortcuts.

    One note ...
    I had a 'duh' moment while playing with the new download ...
    The 3-finger-move gesture was already in place, via the standard Mac trackpad system settings.
    When you are over a movable object, for instance a file in Finder, you simply use 3-fingers on the trackpad to move that object. Works to move windows around your screen too, when mouse is over the title-bar. Also works in Win7, which I use via VMware.

    So again ... much appreciate your feedback.
    Love MacRumors
    And am especially glad I finally made the move to Apple.

    Freddy Fredster

  4. freddy fredster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Still need help - Customizing Keyboard

    Here's the latest on this issue.

    I had initially though that the BetterTouchTool would solve my problem.
    I found that the 3-finger-drag would handle much of what I needed.
    so was happy for a short while.

    But it turns out there are certain situations where I still need to 'hold-down' the left mouse button, while dragging an object with the mouse (or a finger on the trackpad).

    This is where I would like to be able to hold a key on the keyboard (with my left hand) while using a finger on the trackpad (with my right hand) to do the dragging.

    So the question is ...
    Can I customize a key on the keyboard that simulates 'holding-down' the left mouse button ?

    Would appreciate any feedback,
    Freddy Fredster
  5. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    Personally I always click with my thumb on the bottom of the trackpad and point with my finger, like there is a physical button at the bottom, and It work flawlessly. So for dragging I just click with the thumb and move the finger.

    It feels like they programmed the trackpad to still be able to work like a regular "button on the bottom" one, since even when i move my thumb on the bottom corner of the trackpad it never interfere with the actual pointing I do with my fingers.

    They don't advertise the trackpads working this way, but it seem they actually work like a classic one, only that the physical button is just the bottom area of the trackpad.

    I have both a MacBook Air 11' and a Magic Trackpad for my iMac and they work the same.

    One thing is strange though, is that wherever i click with my thumb, even on the center of the trackpad, i still can drag the file with my finger, but if I click with the finger, i can't drag the file moving my thumb. It feels like somehow it "know" that one finger is my thumb and the other is not.

    EDIT :

    Actually from the Apple website

  6. freddy fredster, Feb 24, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012

    freddy fredster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Still Looking for solution

    Thank you MACpower ...

    Yes, I too use the thumb-down on the trackpad then use another finger on the same hand to drag-n-drop.

    However, when i want to move an object fairly far, or make multiple moves before dropping, for instance move an object over another to open its list, then move again to one of those items, it is too difficult to do all with on hand.

    So it's for those situations, I would still like to find a way to program a key on the keyboard that would be the same as 'left-mouse-button-down' (using left hand). That would allow me to make more complicated moves on the trackpad using my right hand.

    I liked your note about being able to left-click even in the middle of the trackpad ... I was not aware of that.

    So for the rest of this community, I still have the question ....
    is it possible to program a keyboard-key to simulate the left-mouse-button-down event ?

    F'stser on Mac
  7. Fakepilot macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Hi Freddy. I just did.

    There is a free software called KeyRemapper4Macbook. Not as easy to use as BTT, but works better in some situations.

    In it's settings, goto Misc & Uninstall > Open private.xml with a text editor.

    Paste this in:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <name>My Hotkeys</name>

    <name>Press FN + X to LMB</name>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::X, ModifierFlag::FN,
    KeyCode::VK_MOUSEKEY_BUTTON_LEFT, ModifierFlag::FN | ModifierFlag::EXTRA1</autogen>


    Save file. Go to the Change Key tab in KeyRemap4Macbook and ReloadXML.
    Find your setting "My Hotkeys" and check it. Left click can now be emulated with FN and X. You can change that code in autogen, to another KeyCode than X.

    I am myself looking for a way to emulate holding down the letter M and a left click. If you find a way, do tell... ;-)
  8. jstig23 macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2014


    Awesome. Thanks this is exactly what I was looking for.
  9. freddy fredster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Belated appreciation for Fakepilot

    @Fakepilot … My bad for not seeing and responding to your post from 18 months ago … I had given up on finding a solution, after having written to the BTT folks several times with no response. And apparently I missed your response to this thread too.

    Then yesterday, jstig23 found this thread, used it, and commented .. which of course notified me too.

    Super happy to have FINALLY reached success on this !

    Your instructions are clear and precise …
    Belated appreciation my friend.
    Have a great day !!

    Freddy Fredster

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