Add Mouse Gestures to Linux with Easystroke

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easystroke-thumbFor regular tasks (including copy, paste, open a fresh window etc.) on your desktop, you can just make use of keyboard shortcuts to acquire things done quickly. However, if you prefer to make use of the mouse a lot more than the keyboard, an alternative method is to employ mouse gestures to copy the behavior of keyboard shortcuts. Easystroke is a simple to use mouse gesture recognition application for Linux that allows you to assign gestures to tasks.

Note: While Easystroke works for most Linux distros, we'll be focusing for the Ubuntu build with this article.


Installation


Easystroke is protected in the Ubuntu repository, in order to easily install by clicking here, through Ubuntu Software Center, or type these command inside terminal:

sudo apt-get install easystroke

If, for a few reasons, the application isn't found in your repository, you are able to install from the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:easystroke/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install easystroke

Related: Control Your Windows Desktop With Mouse Gestures


Usage


Easystroke doesn’t include any default gesture, so that you won’t be able to utilize it right after installation. Instead, you must launch the app and configure it.

At the principle screen, within the Actions tab, this is where you are able to add actions. Each action is assigned to a mouse gesture and will be configured to operate a command, activate certain keyboard shortcut, or execute standard actions like maximize, show/hide etc.

easystroke-actions-tab
To begin, just click the “Add Action” button and enter a name for your action. Next, beneath the “Type” column, find the task until this action will do. Lastly, click the “Record Stroke” button. Now, press and hold the middle mouse button (anywhere away from easystroke window) and move your mouse cursor around to draw in the gesture. In the example below, I drew a diagonal stroke (from left bottom to right top) and assigned it to the shortcut key “Ctrl + Super + Up”. Now I can just draw the gesture to increase the current application.

easystroke-create-first-action

The default button to activate the mouse gesture may be the middle mouse button (or the scrollwheel, often known as Button 2). If your mouse is sold with only 2 buttons, it'll be assigned on the right mouse button. You can change the Gesture button in the Preferences tab. You can also increase the buttons and modifier keys. Other things you'll be able to configure include the gesture color, thickness and the way long should it decide to try detect the mouse gesture.

easystroke-preferences-tab

If you have noticed on the Actions tab, there is an Application section. If you might have added applications on this section, you can now restrict your gestures to become valid only for these applications, beneath the Advanced tab. This is useful should you only want to make use of gestures with a few applications. If you are using an external mouse on the laptop, it is possible to also enable/disable the mouse gesture for each input device. Since it doesn’t work well with trackpad, I disable the trackpad oral appliance only enable it for my external mouse.

easystroke-advanced-tab


Tips for implementing Easystroke


1. Assigning “key” since the Action type is often the fastest method to create an action. You can check out the “Keyboard -> Shortcuts” within the System Settings to get a list of default shortcuts on your system. You can also add custom shortcut on the list then assign it for your Easystroke action.

2. If you are using a desktop manager that supports Compiz, you are able to also bind keyboard shortcuts in Compiz for the various effects (like scale window) then assign them in your actions.

3. To launch application, you can select “Command” because Type and enter the application name within the Details section. For example, it is possible to just enter “gimp” because the command to launch Gimp using a gesture. Alternatively, it is possible to also utilize a command like “firefox http://www.maketecheasier.com” to launch Firefox and load the URL “http://www.maketecheasier.com”. In fact, in case you are knowledgeable about the command line or bash scripting, it is possible to get it to accomplish almost anything having a simple gesture.


Conclusion


For those who want to use the mouse over the laptop keyboard, Easystroke provides a good approach to simplify your workflow and have things done faster along with your mouse. Easystroke doesn’t limit the number of actions you can create, however you don’t must create a bunch of gestures to generate full use of it. All you need is only a few gestures to the tasks that you're going to use most almost daily, along with your workflow will be improved greatly. Try it out and let us know if it is useful to you.

Title Post: Add Mouse Gestures to Linux with Easystroke
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