Whether you’re a developer who wants to showcase the functionality of your new software, or you’re just the person in your family to whom all tech questions are brought, being able to clearly demonstrate how to use a program can be important. That can also be a challenge, considering how small a cursor is and the difficulty of keeping up with single clicks, double clicks, keyboard shortcuts, and more.
Boinx Software hopes to solve these problems with its simple tool called Mouseposé that helps make your demos and presentations easier to follow. Does it deserve a place in your menubar?
After installing the app and opening it for the first time, you’ll be greeted by an audio tutorial, which is just a script that uses your Mac’s built-in speech function. Unless you’re incredibly patient and don’t mind listening to that robotic voice, you’ll want to skip that. Start with the settings window to get an idea of what the app can do, which as it turns out, is quite a bit.
By default, the app sits in your menubar and your dock. From either location you activate the various features of the app, as well as bring up the settings window
The Basic Functions
There are three main features of Mouseposé, each with plenty of room for customization. The first is where the app gains its namesake: The “Mouseposé” effect, which dims the background to highlight the area around your cursor and help the audience see what you are doing.
Second, the mouse click highlighter will create a colorful, animated dot to show your audience whether you used a single click, double click, middle click (if your mouse has that functionality), or right click.
The last major feature that the app offers is keystroke displays. This means that if you’re using keyboard shortcuts, your audience can see what you’re actually typing. A translucent bar appears at the bottom of the screen with a text overlay to show exactly what keys you are pressing in real-time.
All of these features will follow you where ever you go in the system. If you want to switch between spaces or fullscreen apps, or go into Mission Control, the effects will still work.
You have lots of control over how you activate Mouseposé, as well as what the animations for the clicks and keystrokes look like. What’s great about the activation of these three effects – Mouseposé, mouse clicks, and keystrokes) – is that they can be toggled separately or all at the same time, depending on your need.
You can select whatever hotkeys you want to use to activate the click animations. However, I noticed that it doesn’t warn you if you choose a hotkey that is already in use somewhere else in the system, so be sure to use unique shortcuts. Of course, you don’t have to use shortcuts; you can always just use the menulet or dock icon.
The Mouseposé options give you control over the circle radius around your cursor, the level of blur that this circle has, and the opacity of the circle. You can also control the default zooming animation that is shown when you activate and deactivate the Mouseposé effect. If you know how long you would like to show the effect, you can also set the Mouseposé effect to automatically turn back off after a set amount of time.
The mouse click effect also lets you control the radius, turn the animation on and off, and set custom colors for left/right/middle clicks. If you would like to draw extra attention to your clicking, you can also make the app play a sound. The sound is a recording of a loud mouse click, and unfortunately, you cannot customize this.
Lastly, the keystroke function gives you control over how long the display is shown, the font size (but not the font itself), and the color of the window. You can have Mouseposé give you a quick notification to confirm that the keystroke function has been activated. Perhaps the best option setting for the keystrokes is the power to set filters. If you don’t want the audience to see all the hotkeys you are pressing for Mouseposé, you can filter those out. If there are other keys that you press often but don’t need to show, you can set those individually.
There is certainly no shortage of screencast app options available for the Mac, and they have many of the same features of Mouseposé. Whenever I do a screencast, I use Screeny, which is cheaper than many pro-level screencasting apps, but even it lets you highlight mouse clicks. However, Mouseposé has far more customization options than Screeny and other recording apps when it comes to highlighting your actions.
You can certainly use Mouseposé in conjunction with your favorite screencasting app, but it is flexible enough to be used in many other scenarios. I could imagine using this at conference where you’re showcasing your own app. If you are an instructor that shows classes how to use a piece of software, your students could definitely benefit from Mouseposé.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to add this to your toolbox is the price. At $1.99, it’s worth trying out and seeing if it deserves a place on your computer. All in all, I loved using this app. It performs great, is easy to use, and I’ll certainly be taking advantage of all of its features in the future.