My trackpad is broken so I can tap-to-click but i cannot drag and drop. This is really a problem when it comes to doing certain things.

Does anyone know how to program a sticky key to turn a click into a click-select that can then be dragged about?

I can't resize my browser or open window and I can't drag applications into the folder when installing etc.

free solutions only please.

A mid 2009 macbook-pro 13". 2.53 Ghz Intel Core 2 Due.

Running os lion (grudgingly).

  • Could you list some of those things? Are you looking for a temporary fix? I can imagine a couple of ways of substituting drag&drop.
    – Thecafremo
    Oct 3, 2012 at 14:45
  • ok I did that. No it is not temporary fix. I am not going to get my trackpad fixed so I will just keep using it to the ground.
    – Magpie
    Oct 3, 2012 at 14:55
  • 1
    Can you three-finger-drag for drag and drop? What hardware do you have? What version of the operating system?
    – Daniel
    Oct 3, 2012 at 17:35
  • I did not know 3 finger existed. This is a feature of lion? I just tried it and it worked! THanks! You solved my problem.
    – Magpie
    Oct 3, 2012 at 18:16

6 Answers 6


Daniel Lawson provides a really useful and widely applicable solution in a comment above. It deserves its own "answer".

Can you three-finger-drag for drag and drop? What hardware do you have? What version of the operating system? – Daniel Lawson♦ Oct 3 '12 at 17:35

I just used three-finger drag to select that text and then used the Cmd-C and Cmd-V for copying and pasting. That's all you're likely to need except in situations where an app requires you to move a switch or drag a visual object.


One way to resize a window without drag & drop is an app like Moom, which lets you resize via keyboard and hover and click, for certain preset locations.


What about TotalFinder http://totalfinder.binaryage.com/ ? Where you can use cut and paste files? CMD-X for cutting and CMD-V for pasting. It's faster than dragging and dropping with your touchpad or mouse for that matter.

  • This was the first thing I tried. It does not work for certain things.
    – Magpie
    Oct 3, 2012 at 18:17

I don't know of a native way to do this, but I use LaunchBar to perform actions you'd typically use a pointer for using my keyboard all the time. Move, copy, rename or delete files or folders. Drop a file or folder on to a program so it opens it. You can even use it to perform complex moves and opens by using the copy-merge feature to put multiple files on to a single clipboard entry and moving that. See ObDevs Tips page for a quick run down of some of the things you can do with LaunchBar.

It's rather ridiculous what you can do without leaving the keyboard when you have LaunchBar installed on your Mac. I'm at the point now where a Mac without LaunchBar feels crippled to me.

For example, to move or copy a file:

  • Select a file (via abbreviation search, browsing, ⌘G, etc.)
  • Press ⌘C to copy its file-path
  • Select a folder
  • Press ⌘V to get a menu with possible file operations (Move, Copy, Make Alias, etc.)
  • Use the arrow up/down keys or the function keys to select the desired file operation

To open a text file in Sublime Text 2:

  • Select a file (via abbreviation search, browsing, ⌘G, etc.)
  • Press TAB to initiate the "Send to..." feature
  • Type SUB to bring up Sublime Text 2
  • Enter to send the file to Sublime Text 2, causing it open up in the editor
  • Alternatives to launchbar that can do some of the same things include Quicksilver.
    – segiddins
    Oct 3, 2012 at 14:48
  • i was surprised it is not in the accessibility menu. I could not see a way to do it in launchbar. What am i missing?
    – Magpie
    Oct 3, 2012 at 16:41
  • Expanded with examples
    – Ian C.
    Oct 3, 2012 at 18:50

You could use a private.xml like this with KeyRemap4MacBook:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<name>F1 to left button</name>
<autogen>--KeyToPointingButton-- KeyCode::F1, PointingButton::LEFT</autogen>

Try ease of access in control panel

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