Keyboard equivalent for mouse gestures



  • I'd like to have the possibility to perform a mouse gesture with the keyboard. For that a key (for example [space]) has to be assigned to act as the mouse gesture trigger. So [space][arrow left] would go back in history (assuming the mouse gesture for that is "left"). Or [space][arrow down][arrow right] would close a window.

    When I have both hands on the keyboard I often switch to the mouse only to do a mouse gesture.

    Sure, most of those functions we can assign to a mouse gesture have its own out-of-the-box keyboard shortcut, but the mouse gestures we want to use are memorized anyway. Having access to mouse gestures via keyboard would improve mouse gesture usability even more.


  • Moderator

    @fendar Using space as a trigger for mouse gesture emulation does not seem very practical to me. Space is already used for scrolling the page.

    Why not assign your own shortcuts to make them easier to remember?

    • GestureLeft = Back, so Alt+Left = Back
    • GestureRight = Forward, so Alt+Right = Forward
    • If GestureDown, GestureUp = Reopen Closed Tab, so Alt+Up = Reopen Closed Tab
    • If GestureDown, GestureRight = Close Window, so Alt+Down = Close Window, etc.


  • Don't get hung up on the specific key used as an example.

    The point was to take advantage of the existing memory for mouse gestures, not to just rebind shortcuts for everything.

    It's actually a good idea, and something that might be relevant and useful even to people who dislike mouse gestures.


  • Moderator

    @tyrianmollusk said in Keyboard equivalent for mouse gestures:

    Don't get hung up on the specific key used as an example.

    What else do you suggest? Most will be used by someone for something else. It should be a single key press near the cursor keys.



  • @pesala Shift+Control or zero/insert on the numeric keypad seem viable combiner candidates, if you need that to consider the idea. Another option is a single hotkey to initiate a gesture-arrows mode, but I don't know gestures well enough to know if that'd require an "end gesture" input, which might make it overly clunky.

    Also, since this probably has significantly greater relevance to non-mousing moments, you don't have to assume the input needs to be single-handed. Might even be best two-handed.



  • @tyrianmollusk said in Keyboard equivalent for mouse gestures:

    It's actually a good idea, and something that might be relevant and useful even to people who dislike mouse gestures.

    I doubt that.

    People who dislike the mouse are likely not prone to "remember the mouse gesture"...
    Contrary to that, most browsers know either Ctrl-Left/right or Alt-Left/Right to navigate forwards and backwards. This seems much more easily remembered if other browsers have been used before.

    Trying to reconstruct your example, I find it not intuitive at all. Moving a mouse around or in a specific pattern und recreating the same pattern by mimicing it with cursor keys seems... strange. Combinations of key and 0-3 modifiers seems much more ... familiar.

    But maybe you get enough people who like this?



  • @morg42 I didn't suggest the feature, that was @Fendar. Also, I said people who dislike mouse gestures not people who dislike mice. People who dislike mice probably use more than enough keyboard commands to not care about this kind of in-between mnemonic. Probably.

    I don't use or know mouse gestures at present, so its fairly theoretic to me.



  • @tyrianmollusk You're right, you didn't suggest it. So the second part of my posting is of general nature and of general address ;)

    Concerning "dislike mouse gestures", this even strengthens my argument of not being used to them, I guess.



  • @morg42 You quoted me, responded to me, and then used "you" but as a general address? Ok...

    Anyway, I said "might" because it might up the relevance/utility of gestures, which for me, is right around zero as far as doing them with the mouse.

    I'd be interested to see how it went with people. There's some curious potential. It's basically the same argument as with mouse gestures, namely, do they add intuitive control concepts that relieve people of remembering a bazillion random shortcut combinations? "Maybe."



  • @tyrianmollusk Sorry, so I should have written "the second part should be of general address" (which is what I meant, anyway)



  • @morg42 Fair enough.



  • Thanks guys for your opinions so far! :-)
    The idea just came to my mind, as I noticed me moving away from the keyboard to the mouse just to perform a single gesture and after that leaving the mouse again. It interrupts my workflow. And since I memorized the gestures anyway why not making it possible to use them with the keys.
    I use about eleven gestures regularly. I don't think of drawing a gesture with the arrow keys (as someone mentioned above) but of a simple key stroke equivalent. For example the gestures as I have configured them on my machine:

    • Go to page top: left -> [[somekey]] [Arrow left]
    • Go to page bottom: right -> [[somekey]] [Arrow right]
    • Go to homepage: right bottom -> [[somekey]] [Arrow right] [Arrow bottom]
    • ...

    [[somekey]] means, that the specific key for mouse gestures has to be pressed as long as the arrow keys keep coming and after finished it gets released.

    Again, it was just an idea.
    Have a nice week!


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