OS X El Capitan: Enable three-finger drag gesture

Use three fingers to drag windows and files, and select text in OS X El Capitan

OS X El Capitan brings many changes to Apple's desktop operating system. One change in particular may confuse some Mac users. Apple has moved the option to use the three-finger drag gesture from the Trackpad menu to the Accessibility menu.

In this tip I'll show you how to enable the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan, and I'll show you how you can also select text with three fingers.

How to enable the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan

Just follow these steps to enable the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan:

osx el capitan three finger drag gesture

The three-finger drag gesture has been moved to the Accessibility menu in OS X El Capitan.

1. Click on System Preferences.

2. Click on Accessibility.

3. Click on Mouse & Trackpad.

4. Click on Trackpad Options.

5. Click on "Three Finger Drag" in the dropdown menu.

Now you can easily move things around in OS X El Capitan by tapping with three fingers and dragging.

How to select text with the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan

Just follow these steps to select text with the three-finger drag gesture in OS X El Capitan:

1. Move the cursor to the beginning of the line of text you want to select.

2. Place three fingers on your trackpad.

3. Drag your fingers to select the text.

The three-finger drag gesture is incredibly helpful for carpal tunnel problems

I was alarmed when I tried to find the three-finger drag gesture in the Trackpad menu and realized that it wasn't there. I was very relieved when I discovered that the feature was still available in OS X El Capitan in the Accessibility menu.

I have carpal tunnel issues with my hands and wrists, and being able to select text by using three fingers is very helpful to me. It means that I don't have to push down hard and hold on the trackpad to select text. That means that I put a lot less pressure on my fingers as I do my daily work. This makes a big difference when you do a lot of copying and pasting of text over the course of an entire day.

It's also much easier to drag windows, files and even browser tabs around the screen of my Mac with the three-finger drag gesture. As with selecting text, I don't have to press down hard and hold on my trackpad to move things. It feels so much better on my fingers.

If you're someone that hasn't used the three-finger drag gesture, or selected text with three fingers then I think you are in for a treat. Once you get used to using it in OS X El Capitan, you'll wonder how you lived without it.

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