Macbook Protip: How to Fully Utilize the Mac Touchpad for Debate

by admin. 2 Comments

By: Jeffrey Liu

Here’s something for Mac users.

 

I received my Macbook sometime in the fall of last year and the hardest transition, for me, was figuring out how to cut cards because Synergy didn’t work on a Mac. Subsequently, I went through a period of not cutting cards for three months, and then, an anonymous member of the team sent me the GBN debate template (which I always forgot to delete the headers of — we were rocking GBN 09′s “rocks are people” file for a bit). However, it was still annoying for me to have to press the fn button alongside F3 each and every time. Blame the early onset of arthritis or the fact I couldn’t figure out the easy workaround, but I wanted an alternative.

 

Luckily, I stumbled across this program called BetterTouchTool* (http://blog.boastr.net/?page_id=1722). BTT allows you to assign specific actions to all the different motions you could perform on a Mac touchpad. I realized that I could assign different motions on the touchpad to different macros on the debate template. This way, I could easily copy/paste, underline, create headers, etc in my debate file with just a flick of the wrist.

 

Here’s how to set up BetterTouchTool with your template:
1. Install BTT and have a debate template with macros already assigned to shortcuts
2. Select the BTT icon in the upper-right hand corner of your screen and then click “Preferences”
3. On the left side, there should be box that says “Select Application.” It probably only has “Global” and “Finder” for now. You’ll want to click on the “+” button at the bottom and find and select Microsoft Word.

 

4. There are a couple of tabs at the top (Magic Mouse, Trackpad / Magic Trackpad, Keyboard, etc). Select “Trackpad / Magic Trackpad.”
5. In the bottom-right, there’s a button that says “+Add new gesture.” Click it and a new line should pop up saying “Please Select a Gesture.” To the right of the button, you can select your gesture and the corresponding action (the macro hotkey). So for me, I tried to make it as intuitive as possible. If I used Three Finger Swipe Right, it activated ^1 (Ctrl+1) in Word which was the macro to bold underline the text. Pinch In is set to ^0 (Ctrl+0) which activated the nifty macro from the Hoya Debate Template (http://georgetowndebateseminar.wikispaces.com/Hoya+Template+Mac+2011) which made all ununderlined text smaller.

 

Mine ended up looking something like this at the end:

 

Now you’re free to figure out the rest by yourself!

 

For me, I have ⌘C + Three Finger Click set under the “Global” so I can easily copy across all programs (PDFs, Firefox, etc). I also have ⌘C + Three Finger Tap under “Global” as well, so when I want to paste something somewhere, I just tap with three fingers and voilà: a perfect copy. As a side note, I don’t think BTT registers the fn key which is why I set all my macros to ^0 or ^1 instead of F1 or F2. It really doesn’t matter what hotkeys the macros are set to though, because now, the motion on the touchpad can simply activate them.

 

Play around with it – I’m almost definitely missing something. If I was unclear in my directions, the BTT site probably has a much better and more thorough tutorial.

 

I’d also imagine this would make paperless debating on Mac easier, but I have no experience in that area.

 

*Though the site indicates BTT is for Snow Leopard only, I’ve been using BTT on Lion with no major hiccups
* jitouch 2 (http://www.jitouch.com/index.php?page=download) also performs much of the same functions, though I haven’t tried it myself
*Obviously, footnoting is beyond me……

Jeff Liu debates for the University of Texas. Jeff an his partner Jake Miller earned a second round at large bid to the 2012 National Debate Tournament.

2 Responses to Macbook Protip: How to Fully Utilize the Mac Touchpad for Debate

  1. Flynn Makuch says:

    I can confirm that this is the most awesome debate tool of all time for macbook pro/air. It has increased my efficiency greatly.

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