I have recently switched to Mac, and the only thing I miss from my old notebook is the ability to middle-mousebutton-click by clicking both mousebuttons simultaneously.

This is a crucial feature when browsing the net as it opens links in a background tab. The best solution I have found by now is holding down Command-Shift and clicking, but this is often a bit hard to do (yeah, I surf on the couch (hey, it's a LAPtop after all) and often sit in strange positions)

Any tips on how to do this on the otherwise lovely and adorable trackpad?

  • 2
    Wrong, it's a notebook, not a laptop ;-) "Do not leave the bottom of your MacBook Pro in contact with your lap or any surface of your body for extended periods. Prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially a burn." according to the official user's guide at manuals.info.apple.com/en/macbook_pro_users_guide.pdf
    – Arjan
    Feb 17, 2010 at 22:14

8 Answers 8


Check out BetterTouchTool. It adds gestures to your trackpad or Magic Mouse and there's tons of gestures available to set actions to.

To add the functionality you're looking for choose »Trackpad« from the input dropdown and add »Three finger click« as trigger and »CMD+Click« as assigned action. Now clicking with three fingers will open it in a new tab.

Screenshot of Better Touch Tool with the action set up

For Safari you'll have to activate »⌘+click opens a link in a new tab«, before it works as intended.

Screenshot of new tab preference activated in Safari activated

ps. You can also set it to trigger with »Three finger tap«, but I can only get it to trigger consistently when I the »Force tab«, which I for one can't do consistently.

  • 1
    Changed the selected answer on this one due to the awesomeness of this program! Dec 28, 2009 at 1:19
  • This doesn't seem to work on Leopard. Any other ideas?
    – dreeves
    Jun 16, 2010 at 2:01
  • 1
    MagicPrefs apparently works on Leopard and does the same thing (BetterTouchTool just has more options); try that. magicprefs.com
    – Kevin Yap
    Jun 16, 2010 at 2:51
  • 5
    BetterTouchTool is not free anymore.
    – sdive
    Jun 3, 2016 at 8:29
  • Awesome! Lowest license after 45 days trial is 4,49 €. MagicPrefs goes straight to the trash can. It didn't recognize my new Magic Trackpad so I searched for an alternative.
    – Martin
    Aug 5, 2017 at 11:32

I don't believe its configurable within the OS, but MiddleClick, gives you a 3-tap middle click. Works really well in Firefox, which is what it was originally designed for. You'll need to tweak it so it fires up on logon.

  • 2
    Wow, great. Aaaaalmost what I need. The problem is that this simulates a command-click, what I want is a command-shift-click (to open in a BACKGROUND tab, not just a new tab).. I found the source code here: r0ssar00.com/2008/12/middle-click-on-mac-code.html ... Could anyone out there pleeease add a few lines and compile it so it command-shift-clicks? That would be awesome =) Jul 26, 2009 at 23:59
  • This has now been improved, so it actually performs a middle-click. Works awesome :) Oct 18, 2009 at 18:50
  • It is triggered by a three finger tap, not a click. This is a shame as it make accidental triggering possible.
    – RobM
    Nov 18, 2017 at 12:11

If you use Firefox, Command-Click will open in a new tab.

Or you can hold two fingers on the trackpad and click; this gives you a right-click. You could then select 'open in new tab' from the context menu. (or get an extension like Tab Mix Plus and make right-click open a new tab)


what I want is a command-shift-click [...] I found the source code here: http://www.r0ssar00.com/2008/12/middle-click-on-mac-code.html... Could anyone out there pleeease add a few lines and compile it so it command-shift-clicks?

I've fixed/modified the code to, I think, perform a Cmd+shift+click (if not, try other values for (CGKeyCode)56 - but 56 seems to be shift)

// click.m
// Compile with: 
// gcc -o click click.m -framework ApplicationServices -framework Foundation
// Usage:
// ./click
// Will cmd+shift+click mouse at current location.
// Based on http://www.r0ssar00.com/2008/12/middle-click-on-mac-code.html
// For http://superuser.com/questions/13351/how-to-middle-click-on-new-macbooks/13356#13356
// Modified by dbr - http://neverfear.org

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
#import <ApplicationServices/ApplicationServices.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
    NSAutoreleasePool *pool = [[NSAutoreleasePool alloc] init];
    NSUserDefaults *args = [NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults];

    CGEventRef ourEvent = CGEventCreate(NULL);
    CGPoint ourLoc = CGEventGetLocation(ourEvent);

    CGPostKeyboardEvent((CGCharCode)0, (CGKeyCode)55, true); // Cmd
    CGPostKeyboardEvent((CGCharCode)0, (CGKeyCode)56, true); // Shift
    CGPostMouseEvent(ourLoc, 1, 1, 1);
    CGPostMouseEvent(ourLoc, 1, 1, 0);

    [pool release];
    return 0;

Combined with the technique mentioned in the link you mentioned (wrap the command in a Java app, and use MultiClutch), it should do it..

  • How do you set up this in MultiClutch? There is no setting for three-button-clicks, just three-button-swipes.. Jul 27, 2009 at 18:47

Jitouch allows you to set gestures, one of which is middle-click.

Jitouch preferences setting middle-click


Middle is a single-purpose app for adding the middle click to macOS for Magic Mouse and Apple trackpads. You can pick from a few gestures for each device, or hold the fn key and left click for a middle click. (I'm the developer, and the app is not free)

Middle app preferences

Multitouch is an app for adding trackpad and Magic Mouse gestures to macOS, and middle clicking is one of the available actions that can be tied to a gesture. (I'm the developer, and the app is not free)


Addressing creating a new tab from a link (with Firefox and Safari, havent tried Opera) using your trackpad and mouse button: you can drag links to tabs to replace the content, or you can drop the link at the end of your tab row to create a new tab.


Hopefully answering Zarg, I've found somewhere else in superuser about MultiClutch (which oddly wasn't cited in this question just yet). It seems like it started on early 2008, while BTT is from late 2009 and actually based on MultiClutch. I believe it can solve your issue, if you haven't found about it yet. I don't have any Leopard installed to actually try it.

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