Saturday, August 15, 2009

Unusual computer operations through mouse gestures freeware

How do you launch applications on your computer? Probably, through Start button and choosing your program from the list of utilities. Or, using the advanced application launcher could be easily found on the Web. But is that the only way to start applications? Thinking about the theoretical possibilities to run applications, the first comes to mind voice activated apps initialization. You just say “Word”, and the Microsoft Word utility pops-up on the screen. While the technology has already developed the necessary hardware and software for this approach, and it has been proven for the smart phone applications, using it for PC has not found wide recognition. But what can be used else? In this post, I want to present the programs offering to run the software on your computer through customized mouse gestures.


What is StrokeIt?

StrokeIt is an advanced mouse gesture recognition engine and command processor. What is a mouse gesture? Mouse gestures are simple symbols that you "draw" on your screen using your mouse. When you perform a mouse gesture that StrokeIt can recognize, it will perform the "action" associated with that gesture. In short, it's a nifty little program that lets you easily control programs by drawing symbols with your mouse.

What can it do?

StrokeIt can currently recognize more than 80 unique mouse gestures and can be easily trained to recognize many more. For each gesture recognized, StrokeIt can execute a user-defined set of commands within the active application. StrokeIt commands are defined within plugin libraries that can be easily created by third parties to do nearly anything.

How do I perform a gesture?

Click and hold down the right mouse button and then draw the mouse gesture you want performed. You can temporarily disable StrokeIt by holding down the Control key, or right clicking on the StrokeIt icon in the system tray. If you want to cancel a mouse gesture while drawing it, simply left click.


StrokeIt is free for individual and not-for-profit charitable entity use.

Video Presentation:


About gMote

gMote provides fast access to frequently-used actions via mouse gestures. By default, drawing a gesture is done by holding the right button down and dragging the mouse pointer across the screen. You may record a "W" shape to launch your favorite browser, a circle to enter your name, an "S" to invoke the Start Menu, a "P" to print etc.

gMote Installation

The significant advantage of gMote is a full portability of the problem, so it can be run from the external drives. To activate it, download the ZIP package and extract to a folder of your choice. Delete uninstall.exe. Launch gmote.exe. To disable auto-update, click on the tray icon, select "Options" and uncheck "Check updates automatically".

gMole Startup

  • Run the program, gMote.exe. Note that an icon appears next to your clock on the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen - a small white "g". You can right-click that icon to bring up a popup menu that lets you configure the program or instruct it to start when you log in to Windows.
  • In the main gMote window, check that the button labelled "Active" is toggled on. You'll notice that it looks different from the other buttons in this state.
  • In the bottom-left corner, click "Create gesture". Draw a shape where indicated. The shape must be one continuous stroke, which should look unique but not be too complicated.
  • After you let go of the mouse button, the new shape will appear in the list on the left, next to a button. Click on that to choose what will happen when you draw this shape in the next step. Among the useful actions are media player controls (tested with Windows Media Player and iTunes), web browser functions (tested with Internet Explorer and Firefox) and commonly used features such as the clipboard. You can choose one "main action" for your gesture, and then make exceptions for other programs that you use. For example, a "B"-shaped gesture might format text as "Bold" in your word processor and go "Back" in your web browser. To set the default action, use the drop down list next to "Default action (all programs"). At the bottom of the list are options to choose a program or folder to launch, website to visit or a key combination of your choosing to simulate. This last option means you can access any computer function that can be executed with a keyboard shortcut with a gesture instead! For example, the Windows Search feature has the shortcut [Windows key] + F.
  • If you want gMote to know about a few programs you have installed so that you can make special gesture behaviors for them, click "Configure programs" on the main window. You will be able to add programs that were recently used, or browse for others. When you add a program to the list, give it a friendly name. This list is saved inside the gesture set, which has various consequences. For one thing, it means that if you transfer your set to someone else it might not work properly if their installed programs are in different locations. Secondly, it means that when you create a new set you will have to specify a new set of programs. Fortunately gMote lets you export a list of programs as a simple text file. Use "Save list" to do that. When you create your new set, use "Open list" and choose the file you saved. The programs you used in the other set appear in the list.
  • If you want one program to ignore all gestures, the fast way is to use the "Excluded programs" tab in the Options dialog (see below).
  • Use the "Save set" button to store all the gestures you create in one file. The gesture set that's loaded when you quit the program (or turn off your computer) will be loaded again next time you run it.
Using gMole
  • Close the main gMote window (you can show it again using the white "g" icon) by clicking on the standard Windows "x" button in the top-right; the larger "Exit" button quits gMote completely.
  • Now hold the Ctrl and Shift keys together (this is the default setting, click "Options" to choose another method), draw a shape and release the keys. Keep an eye on the bottom-right corner of the screen - here gMote will let you know if it recognized your gesture.
Costs: Free.

Video Presentation:


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