Home Mac The Mouser meets the Keyboarder

The Mouser meets the Keyboarder

by Kerry Dawson

Cat mouser meets keyboarder

The Mac started as a very mouse driven device. Keyboard shortcuts were rare if not unheard of in some applications. On the other hand, the PC was a very keyboard driven device and it was a long time before you saw a mouse on that platform.

Was one platform considered better than the other. In practice many felt the keyboard was better than the mouse driven approach. However, the mouse driven approach was extensively researched by Xerox Park and found to have significant UI benefits. It was the intuitiveness of this approach that appealed to Steve Jobs. Demonstrated on many occassions, the mouse driven approach was faster due to its intuitive nature. Further, there were some applications, especially those of a CAD and graphical design nature that demanded the mouse. Finally, many thought the mouse was just cuter and more fun yet the PC dominated in the earliest days and through many years.

Today’s Mac

Keyboard and mouse

Today’s Mac is a wonderful blend of the mouse driven approach along with a robust keyboard driven design. Many of the commands can be activated by short keys. Those prone to efficiency feel it is only in the shortkey approach that you can get truly fast. There is some truth in this as long as you can remember the shortcuts to initiate a command. However if you can’t, and the mouse takes you to the command faster then don’t hesitate to use that.

Fortunately, there are a number of tools for the mouser and the keyboarder that allows each to derive their benefits from their approach but they also allow the mouser to learn and use the keyboard driven approach and vice a versa. Adding tools that can assist in this endeavour is a good thing. I would suggest a small smattering of good tools though to assist in this regard otherwise you might end up with a whole new learning problem.

Tools to assist the Mouser


For the mouser who would like to use some shortcuts to get the job done but simply can’t remember the commands available there’s an excellent product from Ergonis software called Keycue . This software will aid in the uncovering of the appropriate keys depending on what environment you want to work with. As such, it will outline keyboard commands at the:

  • System level

  • Software Application level

  • Keyboard Maestro if that is installed (more on this later)

Such a product, properly used can be an invaluable tool to make learning keyboard commands easier to learn. There’s nothing in the
software that takes away from you being a mouser. It just allows you to learn how to be a keyboarder to a little more easily.

Tools for the Keyboarder

Keyboard Maestro

For the person who is oriented to the use of the keyboard there are a number of tools that help with that. OSX now is loaded with keyboard commands in each respective environment. However, to add full keyboard power to your Mac Keyboard Maestro is the tool to use.

This software will allow you to automate and assign keystrokes against every aspect of your computer. Repetitive tasks can easily be whipped into shape so that you just invoke a command that will go out and run tasks. Keyboard Maestro is probably the most invaluable tool for the true keyboarder or for that matter anyone who wants to make their Mac as productive as it could possibly be.

However, tools such as Lauchbar and Alfred bring to the table further keyboard automation. What you do with Keyboard Maestro you wouldn’t do with these other tools but these other tools more quickly let you get at functions over and above what Keyboard Maestro allows. The fact is that a combination of say Keyboard Maestro and a laucher such as Launchbar make an excellent duo.

Finally, the keyboarder that is getting bogged down in far too many commands can improve his mousing capabiities with a couple of extremely useful, mouse driven tools:

The Mouse Remains as Intuitive; the Keyboard is Fast

The hare and the tortoise

In the above, you’ll note how a lot has to do with allowing the person who uses his Mac to get better at using keyboard commands. There is a very simple reason for this. The mouse remains intuitive. However, if you can learn and remember the keyboard commands you’ll get to the function far faster.

At the end of the day though, the beauty of the Mac is the two come together so gracefully. Still a mouse centric machine, it is now a powerful keyboard driven device. It has the best of both well integrated at the systems level.

With add—ons, these approaches can be learned and deployed more quickly and used more efficiently. There is ease and power which comes with either approach. Combined what seems like a failing in one area is easily made up in the other so that efficiency is always guaranteed. Using any of these tools either on their own or in combination produces an overall healthy outcome. On the Mac, the mouser and the keyboarder coexist as compatriots one not being any better than the other just unified to guarantee the most comfortable style of operation for the user.

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