Is there any way to disable the delay for text dragging in OS X?

There is a small delay between selecting and dragging text, if you start dragging the text right after you selected it - it will instead re-select the text which can be annoying. Some apps don't have this delay (for example Sublime Text 2/3 where you can drag the text immediately after selecting it) but in most apps you would have to click the left mouse button and hold it for a bit before you can drag the selected text.


I think the default is 1 second, which is far too long for me. I find 100ms better.

defaults write -g NSDragAndDropTextDelay -int 100

should work just fine.

Apps need to be relaunched after changing that value.

Setting a negative number will disable drag altogether; zero sets it to immediate.

  • Thanks! But setting the delay to 0 does not seem to work. I think the minimum might be 100 milliseconds, cause it seems like it got quicker after I put in defaults write -g NSDragAndDropTextDelay -int 0, but it's still not instant. – YemSalat Jan 11 '15 at 23:32
  • For me, zero is actually 'too quick' it drags when I don't even want it to, which is why I settled on 100. – Tetsujin Jan 12 '15 at 7:09
  • Well, it doesn't work at all for me, still have a delay when setting to zero. – YemSalat Jan 15 '15 at 5:46
  • Thank you Tetsujin! @YemSalat Try setting it to 1. This seems to effectively disable it for me. I can click while the mouse is moving and still grab the text without reselecting. – devios1 Mar 11 '15 at 21:18
  • Thanks @devios, but unfortunately it still doesn't work for me - the delay is still there. – YemSalat Mar 13 '15 at 1:40

With Tinkertool this can be done…

TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.

To further guarantee that the tool cannot change any part of your installation, but only gets access to your personal preference settings, the program puts itself under the restrictions of Apple's Application Sandbox. TinkerTool is the first application of its kind to use this innovative technology.

When you have defined your preferred set of “pro” preference settings, you can additionally export and import the settings, copying them to another user account or to a different computer. All settings which don't depend on the availability of third-party applications can be transferred.

Because TinkerTool only gives you access to features already built into OS X, its feature set varies greatly between different operating system versions.


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