On the computer, you have to double-click sometimes to launch an applications or open a document, while in other places (buttons, dock icons) a single click is enough.

On the web, you generally have to click only once.

Do we still need double clicks?

I'd like to experiment with the idea.

  • is there a tool (for the Mac) that makes single clicks act as double clicks (at least in the Finder)?
    Update: Or rather, as phenry and Uwe point out, do it the other way around and configure the Finder to act on single clicks where normally a double click is required.

  • has anyone else given thought to getting rid of the double click and has an opinion if this is a good idea? (it seems that the multi-touch movement is taking the opposite route)

  • 2
    Or you could get rid of the click altogether. dontclick.it – Sasha Chedygov Aug 15 '09 at 19:38
  • 1
    This raises a problem: if single-click is used to select, and double-click is used to activate/open, and you make single-click activate/open, how do you select a file (for copying, or any other action)? Consider how this will break the expectations of other users of this system too (and the accessibility standards you'd be ignoring too). – mlambie Aug 19 '09 at 9:17
  • Too many toos... – mlambie Aug 19 '09 at 9:18
  • "if single-click is used to select, and double-click is used to activate/open" As it is, there is no such clear distinction, at least not system-wide: In most cases, a single-click activates. – Thilo Aug 20 '09 at 1:20

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to use a tool like that. Double-clicks are very rare compared to single clicks, as you yourself implied, and even in the Finder you probably use single clicks a lot more than you think. Try spending some time dinking around in the Finder, double-clicking everywhere you'd normally single-click. I'm guessing the computer would be largely unusable.

  • In Windows xp, you can tell the explorer to react on single clicks the way it would normally react on double clicks. The functionality of single clicks is taken over by marking items or using the ctrl and shift button. Whether the computer becomes unusable this way depends on your personal point of view ;-). Any yes, I have been wondering whether this would be possible on Macs for dome time now. +1 for the question. – Uwe Honekamp Aug 15 '09 at 4:03

Double clicks were never needed, they are a shortcut. You can open files in the Finder without using double clicks by selecting the file and then choosing File -> Open. Since this is kind of cumbersome, it's usually easier to just double-click. Interestingly, Mac OS 9 had a Finder window view which replaced all icons with buttons, allowing you to use the Finder without double-clicking.

Simply replacing single-clicks with double-clicks will not work. You could still select files by dragging open a select rectangle, but you would not be able to drag windows anymore. As far as I know, there is no way to change the Finder so it opens files on selection alone.

One solution would be to use configure your mouse so that one of the buttons creates a double-click.


Not a direct answer, but I rarely double-click anything in Finder:

  • Quicksilver (or similar) can launch applications with no clicks
  • Using Finder's column view, you can navigate folders with only arrow keys
  • Cmd+down opens the selected files
  • 2
    Cmd+down ... Leave it to Apple to come up with obvious keyboard shortcuts ;-) +1 for that. – Thilo Aug 15 '09 at 23:43
  • Is Cmd+down different from Cmd+O ? – Thilo Aug 15 '09 at 23:47
  • Cmd+down is the same as Cmd+o as far as I'm aware (although I tend to use Cmd+down because of the similar Cmd+up shortcut, and it's easier to type) – dbr Aug 16 '09 at 21:44
  • What does Cmd+up do? – Thilo Aug 20 '09 at 1:21
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    Navigates up one directory, opposite to Cmd+down – dbr Aug 20 '09 at 1:34

Double clicks are fine. What you really want to get rid of is "slow clicks".

In the Finder, clicking on an icon or its label selects it. Pause, and then click again on the label to rename. But if you don't pause for long enough, you end up opening the file—particularly annoying when it's a .psd or .xcodeproj

  • +1. That indeed is super-annoying. I press "return" now to rename files (which is a weird shortcut also, one would think "return" opens a file) – Thilo Aug 20 '09 at 1:19

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