Taking Gestures Further With MultiClutch

Apple first introduced the MacBook Air in 2008. Other than its thinness (and its ability to fit inside a manilla envelope) it brought a multi-touch trackpad, similar to the iPhone. Since then, the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro have received the trackpad makeover. The trackpad seems very useful, and it is; when you are in a gesture-supported application. For me, my trackpad’s abilities fade into the background. Most of the apps I work in do not support them.

Until I discovered MultiClutch, a preference pane extension that lets you set up trackpad gestures for any application. In this tutorial I will show you the basics of setting up gestures in Multi Clutch, as well as some ideas for different uses.

The Basics

Multi Clutch works by installing a simple input manager that catches your gestures, and then inputs the keyboard shortcuts. Setting up a gesture is very easy.

Selecting an Application

Selecting an Application

Click on the small plus in the lower left corner. You will be prompted to select an application to enable gestures in.

Choosing a Gesture

Choosing a Gesture

Next, click on the arrows in the right of the first column. Choose which gesture you will be using.

Choosing a Shortcut

Choosing a Shortcut

Double click on the keyboard command. Now punch in your desired command.

That’s it! Easy right?

An Overview Of Gestures

  • Swipe; Three fingers on the trackpad, brush to the noted direction.
  • Rotate; Two fingers on the trackpad, move to the noted direction.
  • Zoom in; Two fingers on the trackpad spread apart, bring them together.
  • Zoom out; Two fingers together on the trackpad; push them apart.

Possible Uses For Multi Clutch

The suggestions are formated as follows: Action: Gesture: Command

Apple Mail and Mailplane

These instructions are for Mail and Mailplane, but can be translated into your mail app of choice.

  • Reply: Swipe Right – Command + R
  • Forward: Rotate Right – Command + Shift + F
  • New Message: Swipe Down – Command N
  • Send: Swipe Up – Command – Shift – D

Mailplane Only

  • Back to Overview: Zoom out: Command + [


  • Back: Swipe Left: Command + [
  • Forward: Swipe Right: Command + ]


  • Next Tab: Rotate Right: Control + Tab
  • Previous Tab: Rotate Left: Control + Shift + Tab

MultiClutch isn’t just for extending the ability of gestures in individual applications. It can be used system wide as well. For example, you could swipe for Quicksilver, Spotlight, or Google Quick Search. Combo gestures are included in MultiClutch also. Right now however there are only two:

  • Zoom in; Zoom out
  • Zoom out; Zoom in

For these to work they have to be in one, fluid motion.

MultiClutch is a great, free tool. It is perfect for expanding the abilities and range of your trackpad. MultiClutch is freely available and, though still in beta, the application runs smoothly and without hickups.