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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads Laptop Macs
I use an old PowerBook G4, and though I love a mouse sometimes I'm at a place/position that doesn't easily allow me to whip out my Wireless Mighty Mouse and get to work. I've gotten used to the trackpad and though it's not as nice (to me) as a mouse, I can make do. But there was at least one shortcoming that always bugged me until recently.

Specifically, with a mouse you can double-click a word to highlight the whole word, then while continuing to hold the button down, you can drag the mouse left - right - up - down to select blocks of words/sentences in entire groups, selecting whole words at a time. Even with all the settings checked on my PowerBook's double-tap-enabled trackpad, I couldn't get it to actually perform this maneuver.

Recently I discovered that you can indeed get the same behaviour out of the trackpad, though it's not documented that I could find, and unfortunately it's a two-step process. First, you have to double-tap the word, which will highlight the selected word. Then pause very briefly and double-tap the same word again and immediately start dragging. Now as you're dragging, your selection will automatically select entire words instead of the usual behaviour of just up to the pointer. Be careful though -- it's a two-double-tap process, not one-four-tap process (a four-tap selects the entire paragraph). So make sure you put enough time between your double-taps so that the system knows the difference (.05 of a second or something).

I also discovered that if you have "dragging" enabled but not Drag-Lock, and you find that you don't want to wait the half-second it takes for the system to realize you want it to release things you're dragging after you take your finger off the trackpad, simply give it a quick tap once you have dragged the item to where you want to drop it. Anyone that's tried the Drag-Lock option knows that that's how the system works with that selected: the OS waits for you to tap the trackpad to signal "release" of the drag. This hint is basically pointing out that the behaviour extends to systems with only "Dragging" enabled. This only saves a quarter-second at most, but sometimes it's more than anything an irritation-saver.
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Or double-click the button
Authored by: googoo on Sep 26, '07 10:29:40AM

A shorter way is to double-click the trackpad button to select the word, and then drag the trackpad with the button still depressed. This also works whether or not you have Trackpad Clicking enabled (I do not use it, myself).


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Or double-click the button
Authored by: acaltabiano on Sep 26, '07 10:40:40AM

yes that works too, but then you have to do "finger gymnastics," which I hate (and is the reason I prefer a mouse in the first place). This hint allows you that same functionality without the inconvenience of doing those finger gymnastics. But hey, there are other ways, such as yours, and to each his own!

I despise the hard button on the trackpad, because then I either have to use two hands for a one-hand task, or make sure I've done my finger stretches for the day & then get into my gymnastics routine (to keep the button depressed as I move the rest of my hand around to move the pointer).

timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a raindance

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Use your thumb
Authored by: hamarkus on Sep 26, '07 11:22:08AM

In short, use your thumb for the trackpad button. No acrobatics needed at all. Constantly moving between the keyboard and the mouse (instead of the trackpad and the mouse) is much more movement.

(And there is simply no space on my desk for a mouse.)

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Use your thumb
Authored by: acaltabiano on Sep 26, '07 12:23:28PM

Yeah I know how to use a thumb; I came equipped with two of them and have used them successfully for many years ;-)

BUT, you STILL have to actually keep this key depressed at all times to use it in this manner, thus requiring "Finger gymnastics" to ensure you're keeping enough pressure on the key all the while having to move your other finger(s) relative to this point in order to select what you were attempting to select.

Hey, I used to use this method too, until I stumbled upon my "hint" method. I MUCH prefer to use tapping on the trackpad, as it kills two birds with one stone: you already have your finger on the pad to direct the pointer, so why not use that as the pressure-point to enable dragging as well, instead of splitting the focus between two: 1 being the pressure point of your thumb on the button to keep it depressed, the 2nd being your finger directing the pointer to where you want it using the trackpad.

Like I said, it's not for everyone, which is why the Sys. Prefs have the option of enabling trackpad tapping or no, dependent upon personal preferences. if you're a button-pusher, by all means continue your current path; this won't save you any time. however, if – like me – you prefer the trackpad tapping instead, then this hint means you can completely ignore the button now, it no longer does anything that you can't do with the trackpad alone. For me (and possibly others), this is much easier to do. I HATE the damn trackpad button, and I'd always, ALWAYS accidentally relieve a little too much pressure at a bad time and undo what i was trying to do. Now i don't worry about that!

That's all I'm sayin'!

timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a raindance

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Use your thumb
Authored by: hamarkus on Sep 26, '07 03:04:24PM
My comment was probably a bit terse. It is just that I have seen a lot of people using two hands operating a trackpad (one hand for the trackpad, the other for the trackpad button) or lifting their index finger from the trackpad to press the trackpad button. That is what I understood under 'finger acrobatics' as I had not realised that the comment I was replying to came from the same person that submitted the hint.
I HATE the damn trackpad button, and I'd always, ALWAYS accidentally relieve a little too much pressure at a bad time and undo what i was trying to do.
With the Al-Books that happened to me initially as well (I 'dropped' things in inconvenient places). I now happens to me very rarely, I just managed to train my thumb to always press hard enough. Whenever I try to use a computer where clicking on the trackpad is enabled I constantly (like several times per minute) click into the wrong places. Even just descending my index finger onto the trackpad to start moving the cursor, or just flicking the cursor in one direction is causing clicks. Not even talking about typing, if every fifth word causes you to accidentally click somewhere, then this is not a sustainable situation.

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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads
Authored by: wyntir on Sep 26, '07 02:51:58PM

I'm pretty sure this is possible without the instructions you describe.

Consider the difference between tap-drags on the trackpad and click-drags on a mouse button:
- 1 tap-drag on the trackpad is equivalent to 0 clicks of the mouse and a drag (moving the cursor around the screen).
- 2 tap-drag on the trackpad is equivalent to 1 click-drag on the mouse (selecting text, drag-and-drop).
- 3 tap-drag on the trackpad is equivalent to 2 click-drag on the mouse (selecting whole words at a time).

I believe this last one is what you want. Again,
- To plain-old-drag on a trackpad, you tap-up-tap-drag (double-tap, but don't release the second tap).
- To double-click-drag on a trackpad, you tap-up-tap-up-tap-drag. That is, triple-tap, but don't release the third tap. (I'm doing it right now on my Powerbook.)

Hope this helps!

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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads
Authored by: soundsgoodtome on Sep 26, '07 03:22:21PM

I don't understand the big deal about selecting entire words at a time. Isn't it easier to simply position one's cursor in front of the first word to be selected, then click (once) and simply drag a "selection box" over the desired material?

It's far easier (and faster) to click once at the beginning, drag to the end, then relase, than it is to double-click, pause, double-click again, drag. Why make it so complicated?

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try use Triple-tap ;)
Authored by: hinsoon on Sep 26, '07 05:08:12PM

I prefer triple-tap and hold, then start dragging. It gives the same result ;-)

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Authored by: MJCube on Sep 27, '07 09:00:00AM
Yes, "triple-tap" is the quickest description, but it doesn't explain what happens: in Cocoa apps, once you've selected a word with a double-click, then dragging and shift-clicking continue to select by word. To try this, double-click a word, wait any amount of time, then drag from there across more text: the result is word-at-a-time selection. If you pause on the selection before starting to drag (1 second or more) then you drag-&-drop the text. Most users don't know about this delay and assume you always get drag-&-drop. (I use drag-&-drop a lot, so I have set my delay shorter using this hint.) But the point is that two double-clicks are not necessary to select this way, and misleading about what's actually happening.

The above works with any mouse or trackpad. It also works by paragraph when you start with a triple-click. Carbon apps are different, of course. They have no drag-&-drop delay, so these drag-selection methods don't work there. I hardly ever select this way myself; I'm more comfortable with the precision of keyboard navigation, such as Option-Shift-arrow to extend the selection by word.

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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads
Authored by: 1amzave on Sep 26, '07 08:13:01PM

Or just double-click the first word you wish to select, leave it selected, scroll as you please to anywhere else, and then shift-click the last word you want to select. Much easier than any of the above, in my opinion. Heck, even with a mouse I'd think it would be the easiest way - I find click-and-hold dragging to be kind of annoying with any sort of pointing device.

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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads
Authored by: soundsgoodtome on Sep 27, '07 02:09:22PM

Now *that's* a great tip, 1amzave. Thanks!

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Use double-click selection-drag on trackpads
Authored by: DJRizzo on Sep 26, '07 10:16:44PM

I don't use the pad for tapping, I use the button. I hate trackpads with tapping enabled. I always end up making errant selections.

Anyway, in order to drag I do not find this tip effective for me as a button user. Here's what I recommend for my fellow button fans:

Double click the word, move the pointer away from and then back to the word, then single click & hold to drag. Once you release the button the text drops into place.

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On trackpad (only) And another thing
Authored by: MJCube on Sep 28, '07 08:43:46AM
I guess this hint should have started with "For those who prefer tapping on the trackpad itself, and don't like using the trackpad button" The submitter's point – that you have to double-tap on the trackpad (not the button) a second time and drag to extend selection by word – is true for that specific method. But apparently nobody who's commented (including me) uses that method.

Well, since my reply yesterday, I have played around with this some more, and discovered yet another detail (still not specific to the tapping technique in the hint): Say you have already selected several words (by any method starting with double-click). Cocoa apps will keep on selecting word-by-word even if you simply drag, from anywhere within that selection. So you can start over with a fresh selection (as long as it includes a word in your current selection), still word-by-word, no new double-click required.

Does anybody else care about UI details that small? I think some users do, and I certainly am glad somebody at Apple does. Understanding tiny things like that increases my comfort level, and saves me brain cells in the long run.

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Not all Cocoa apps
Authored by: MJCube on Sep 28, '07 10:08:47AM

I apologize for an inaccuracy in the above: That drag technique works for me in Safari, but not in other Cocoa apps. Anyone else? (care?)

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