We explain how an older touchpad can respond to gesture controls using a free tool
Mimicking a mouse has always been a bit of a challenge for laptops. Manufacturers have tried various methods including built-in trackballs and miniature joystick-style controls that sit in the centre of the keyboard and can be rocked around.
It’s the touchpad that won the day, though. Many recent models include gesture controls that allow you to scroll or zoom by moving two fingers across the touchpad’s surface – but owners of older laptops may not be so lucky.
In this workshop we will explore a free tool called Two Finger Scroll that enables older touchpads to take advantage of these features.
Two Finger Scroll works only with Synaptics touchpads, but that does mean the majority. We also recommend trying a gesture on your laptop first, as it may already have multi-touch abilities enabled.
Open a document or website and try scrolling by moving two fingers up or down across the touchpad’s surface. If nothing happens, launch a web browser and visit this Google code page. When the page loads, click the Download link and select the file name at the top of the list - the latest version of Two Finger Scroll.
If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should select Save File to save the download to Firefox’s default download folder. Now right-click the downloaded Zip file and choose Extract All.
Follow the instructions to pick, or create, a destination folder and then click the Extract button. Double-click the TwoFingerScroll icon to start the program.
Two Finger Scroll starts working straight away so there is no need to change any settings unless you want to.
Try it. Open a website or document that’s longer than the current screen size and then place two fingers on the middle of the touchpad and slide them down to scroll through the page. If you want to configure the way the program works, right-click the Two Finger Scroll icon on the Taskbar (Windows 7 users may need to click the Show hidden icons button first) and choose Settings from the pop-up menu.
When the dialogue box opens, you can set whether or not Two Finger Scroll should start with Windows or not and then click the Scrolling tab to set speed, acceleration, type of scrolling and so on. Then click the Tapping tab and from here set up the commands to which the various types of finger tap correspond.
It’s possible, for example, to control up to four different mouse buttons by tapping the touchpad in various ways. When you are done, click the OK button to confirm and close the dialogue box.
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