A few weeks ago the trackpad of my Macbook started acting funny. The bottom right side of it stopped working when being clicked, and since then it’s only gotten worse as the problem seems to be expanding to the rest of the trackpad.
This got me thinking what I would do if all of its clicking functionality eventually stopped working, and that’s how I came across the app that we’re reviewing today. It’s called DwellClick, and it’s a pretty unique app that lets you click and drag without using any buttons in your mouse or trackpad. It’s kind of hard to explain, so let’s get deeper into it!
DwellClick is kind of an expensive app, as it goes for $15.99 on the App Store. What it does is it implements some extra functionality into your cursor, so that you can automatically click without pressing any buttons. DwellClick tracks your cursor’s movement, so that when you are moving your cursor and then stop it for a certain amount of time, it will automatically click wherever you stopped the cursor. Then the next thing you point at will also get clicked and so forth.
But that’s not all. If you move your cursor to the title bar of any app, DwellClick will automatically start dragging it until you set it in one place. Then there’s the pop-up menu, which looks and works quite similarly to the one that the Popclip app has (as they are both made by the same developer). We’ll get deeper into it next.
Pop-Up Menu and the Panel
You can bring up the pop-up menu by clicking the Fn key. It will appear next to your cursor and it will have three buttons: one for double-clicking, one for dragging, and another for secondary clicking. Activating any of them will make it so that the next thing you point at gets secondary-clicked, double clicked or dragged.
So, in order to work with any of the options that the menu has, you have to hit the Fn key, move your cursor to the button that you would like to hit, and then wait for the auto-click to do its thing; but I’m not sure how much more efficient that whole process is compared to just double clicking or dragging like you normally would with your mouse.
Another way to do this is with the panel, which is a floating menu that will always be visible, showing some customizable buttons for doing tasks like double-clicking, secondary clicking, dragging, and activating keys like CMD, Alt, Shift and Ctrl. Accessing these buttons with auto-click might be a lot faster than bringing up the pop-up menu everytime you want to drag or double-click. And if it bothers you visually, you can even tell the app to hide and show the panel automatically.
Tweaking the App
One of the best things about DwellClick is that it’s highly customizable and therefore it’s not limited to just being an auto-clicking app. You can actually get it to work in many ways if you are willing to get creative with it, like setting it up so that it’s dedicated to specific apps that might require a lot of continuous clicking, or using it for setting up universal keyboard shortcuts for tasks that you would normally do with your mouse. Under the settings you can tweak things like:
- The amount of time the app will wait to click when you have stopped moving the cursor.
- The sound the app will make when clicking and/or dragging is activated.
- Turn off and on the animations that the cursor does when it’s about to click (if activated, a colored circle will appear when the cursor is resting, and begin to shrink as the set delay time for clicking gets closer).
- The placement and size of the pop-up menu.
- Activating and tweaking the panel.
- Selecting apps where DwellClick will not work or will only work with (for example, I deactivated it with Byword since it always switched out the line I was writing in).
- Activating and de-activating auto-click, auto-drag, and quick-drag (a feature that makes activating the dragging feature faster).
- Setting keyboard shortcuts for clicking, double-clicking, dragging, turning Dwell Click on and off, and showing the pop-up menu.
Getting Used To It
While DwellClick is pretty cool, it is also quite inconvenient until you get used to working with it. Using Dwell Click pretty much makes me think faster, because if I don’t move my cursor quickly enough and I leave it at one place for too long, it will click and undesirable things might happen.
To name a few examples: say you’re reading an article and you accidentally click on a bookmark or another link just because you moved your cursor slightly. Or you’re typing in a text box somewhere, and as you’re pulling the cursor away from the text box, another element in your screen gets clicked, deactivating the text box and leaving you typing at nothing.
I guess it’s a matter of getting used to it and seeing if you can incorporate it with your workflow, but in the time I’ve been using it I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not for me, although it might come useful while performing certain tasks, or when my trackpad’s clicking eventually stops working (I think it’s only a matter of time, unfortunately).
The first word that comes to mind when you hear about or start using DwellClick is “confusing”. It certainly is hard to get used to working with this app, but if you can manage to get past the few days of using it, you might just find it pretty useful, especially if you can find a special specific use for it, like only using it for dragging windows and items, or for using keyboard shortcuts for accessing mouse commands.
When it comes to clicking this might actually save you some time if you learn to use it quickly. As far as the pop-menu and its functions like secondary and double clicking, I think they might actually slow you down, unless you find some way to adapt them to your workflow. I don’t see myself using this app as it is intended a lot, but I might put to use some of its features on occasion. What about you?