How to Customize the Trackpad on Your Mac

By Mark L. Chambers

Mac owners are downright picky about how their mice (or trackpads) work, and that includes folks who add third-party pointing devices, such as trackballs. Once again, El Capitan doesn’t let you down, and you can customize your third-party mouse to fit all your clicking and double-clicking quirks.

To get started, click the System Preferences icon on the Dock and then click the Mouse icon. On the Mouse pane, you find these settings:

  • Tracking Speed: Drag this slider to determine how fast the mouse tracks across the Desktop.
  • Double-Click Speed: Drag the Double-Click Speed slider to determine how fast you must click your mouse to cause a double-click.
  • Scrolling Speed: Drag this slider to specify the rate at which the contents of windows will scroll.
  • Primary Mouse Button: For those lefties who want to change the primary mouse button, select the Right radio button to switch to the right button as your primary button.
  • Scroll Direction: If your mouse has a scroll wheel or ball, you can specify whether the contents of a window should move up or down when you scroll.

If you’re using a MacBook laptop — or a desktop Mac and a Magic Trackpad 2 — you’ll find many of these same settings on the System Preferences Trackpad pane. You can also choose which gestures your Mac will recognize, such as tap-to-click, zooming, and swiping between pages. The Trackpad pane includes a short video demonstrating each gesture, and you can modify many of the gestures by specifying the number of fingers to use and the sequence of taps that will trigger the action.