Scroll: One finger scrolling on macOS

Ryan Hanson
May 6 · 2 min read

Introducing a small new app I just made called Scroll. It allows you to scroll with just one finger using your Apple trackpad. You can pick between scroll zones on the left or right side of the trackpad (similar to old PCs with their scroll zones on trackpads), or you can scroll by resting a single finger on a corner of the trackpad.

There’s one quirk with the app, and it’s that in order to keep the mouse cursor still during scrolling with the scroll zone, the app must be frontmost. This means that you’ll lose focus in your current frontmost app when you start to scroll in the scroll zone. To me, it wasn’t a huge deal. I tried out restoring the frontmost app after scroll completes, but that became annoying very fast because the frontmost app kept switching so much. Note that the corner touch scroll doesn’t have this behavior since you’re not moving the cursor.

Additionally, the app doesn’t have momentum scroll that you’re used to in macOS, so maybe that will go into another release depending on interest.

You may be wondering why I bothered to create this when you can just two finger scroll. The answer is accessibility. A few months ago, I was looking through old Super User questions and came across one where someone had a hand injury that prevented them from using two finger scrolling on an Apple trackpad. Digging into it a little more, there’s a lot of people that had requested this capability many years ago in other forums around the web. Since I wrote the Multitouch app, I figured it would actually would be a pretty simple task to create scroll zones on macOS, similar to older PCs.

I debated whether or not to add this functionality into the Multitouch app itself, but ultimately decided it made way more sense to build this into a standalone application. In order to do this, I had to extract all of the core functionality of Multitouch into the new app, and it is actually quite nice. It opens the door to other one-off apps like one that just maps a three finger click to middle click.

It ended up taking only a few days to make the app since all the heavy lifting was done in the Multitouch code I extracted. Also, graphics/design are minimal in the app and that helps a lot since I do all my own graphics/design (aside from the Multitouch icon).

Even though the app is geared toward users needing accessibility assistance, it feels like it should work pretty well for anyone. Try it out, it’s free!

Ryan Hanson

Programming. Daydreaming.

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Programming. Daydreaming.

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