Just your mouse

Perform numerous commands with mouse gestures and more.

Mouse gestures let users execute a variety of commands by pressing a mouse button, typically the right one, and moving the mouse in a certain way. Mouse gestures started as a way to simplify browser commands, but you can program a gesture for nearly any task you can trigger with keystrokes or mouse clicks. All-in-One Gestures by Marc Boullet is a free Firefox add-on that bundles the mouse gestures, rocker navigation, tab scroller, history scroller, link tool tip, and autoscrolling utilities developed by Boullet and other programmers in the open-source project. It does some nifty things.

We installed the add-on, restarted Firefox, clicked Tools/Add-ons, selected All-in-One Gestures, and clicked Options, which opened a dialog with tabs labeled General Preferences, Gestures Customization, and Advanced Prefs #1 and #2. The program offers plenty of customization, as well as dozens of common commands already specified in the Gestures Customization tab and others left blank for individual configuration by users. We started out with some basic page navigation: We clicked and held the right mouse button and moved the mouse a few inches to the left, the History Back command. Firefox returned to the previous page. We tried the History Forward gesture, which is the opposite of the History Back command, and Firefox moved forward to the page we'd navigated away from. Up-Down reloaded the page; Up opened a new tab in the foreground; Right-Up-Left while hovering over a link opened the link in a new tab. Pretty cool. Pressing the Shift key while hovering over a link calls up a tool tip feature that displays information about the link, including any associated comments or tool tips, another useful feature. Rocker navigation involves holding one mouse button and clicking the other to navigate forward and backward. For scroll wheel navigation, we held the right mouse button and scrolled the wheel, causing a navigation pop-up to appear--yet another cool tool. Autoscrolling emulates the similar Internet Explorer function.

We've only just begun to explore the many ways to customize mouse gestures. All-in-One Gestures is free, including regular updates, and seems to be acquiring new features and functions all the time. The gestures take some practice, but they have lots of potential.

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