in User Interface

Single-click: The one Windows feature *still* missing from the Mac

Apple will soon be releasing the new OS X Leopard, which will be adding over 300 new features to the OS. There are some absolutely amazing additions to the Mac OS in this release, such as the Time Machine backup tool or the Spaces custom workspaces to keep your desktop clutter-free. And yet, as I was scanning through this stunningly impressive list of Insanely Great stuff, I was once more disappointed (and a bit surprised) to see that Apple *still* has not added the one feature that has led me to continue to use Windows: the single-click feature…

Single-click - the one Windows feature *still* missing from the Mac

Now, for someone not familiar with this feature (and, actually, for someone who is familiar with the feature), this might seem a bit weird, so let me elaborate. For me, I’ve found that constantly doing a lot of double-clicking causes pain in my wrist, so access to this feature, and the prevention of wrist pain is no small thing. And I guess what is really significant here, is that, even though I know that the Mac OS clearly is superior and just all-around more modern and robust than Windows XP, I still haven’t made the switch. Or, to be more specific, I haven’t made the switch back. For many many years, I was a hardcore Mac-Head, but then I needed to use Visio for my work, and was therefore forced to use a PC. At the beginning, I hated it, but then I discovered that, as with many things once you become more familiar with them, wasn’t so bad at all. (Keep in mind that this was in the pre OS X days, at which time I’d have to say that Windows was in fact the superior OS.)

I have to say that I am really surprised that Apple has not added this, especially with the web making single-click an even more predominant interaction form. I’ve talked to some Mac users and when I describe the feature to them, they are as surprised as I am, especially when I explain some of the bonus benefits of the feature, such as if I am creating a new file and want to name it similarly to another file, I just hover my mouse over that file, at which point the file name field is populated with that value, and I can just modify it (e.g. adding ‘v2’ at the end or whatever.)

If perhaps I should be mistaken, and Apple in fact has added this feature, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve searched extensively for it, including for 3rd party software, but to no avail.


  1. Really? It’s the year 2011 and still no single click? Well I guess after May 21, 2011 or Dec 21, 2012 it will not matter any more. lol

  2. Just got off the phone with Mac and they act like they never heard of or see any reason for a single click option. Also a delete button that deletes in proper order.

  3. Hmmm… haven’t thought about the one click feature missing. I can absolutely see why some would like that feature.

    However, I don’t agree that it’s so damn important to have the windows re-size-able from all edges/corners. How often do you people re-size windows, and why?
    I even find it irritating that quickly grabbing a window by the top to *move* it (which is something I do much more often than resizing) in Windows/Linux sometimes makes the OS think I want to re-size the window…
    I also think that once one has gotten the used to only being able to re-size from the lower right corner it comes naturally ”I want to resize then I have to go to lower right. It becomes like a reflex.

    If one could disable resizing from the top in Windows/Linux I’d agree that’s more convenient though, but it’s not a *major* issue in Mac OS X. In fact, it’s very rare that I hear people complain about it.

    Bill UK,
    Maybe you got the smaller version of the Apple keyboard. I have a ”delete” key on mine. I can imagine you have to hold down the ”fn” key and press ”backspace” to get the forward delete function (same on Apple’s laptops which also lack a ”forward delete” key).

  4. Just bought a 24″ iMac and love it to bits but had to replace it after 2 weeks because the cd drive started roasting discs and the whole thig got rather hot, setting up everything for the second time but can find no cure for the double click problem or the annoying windows resizing glitch plus I like to have a del button on the keyboard but Apple think we don’t need one. but have found a good tip, in the mouse settings, change the right button in the drop down box to secondary button and you get your right click options as in windows

  5. Mondo Mouse is a cool Application that makes it possible to resize windows easily using a keyboard shortcut. I use ctrl and when I drag the mouse the window is resized, if I hold alt the whole window is moved.
    Still looking for the single click solution.

  6. The lack of these two features almost make me want to go back to wimdows. I am amazed more people don’t even know of the advantages of single click mode. Can we get some kind of petition going?!!

  7. I purchased a new macbook yesterday and am now trying to customise it to my liking and am now disappointed that there is no way to turn on single click! I agree with you that the web should be getting more people used to single click and this should be an option in any robust operating system. very annoying. will keep hunting for plugin.And the window resize? aaargh!

  8. These are two of my biggest gripes about OS X. Glad at least to see I’m not the only one out there irked by this.

  9. There are actually TWO things that are standard in Windows but unavailable in Mac OS X, and the lack of them annoys me to the MAX!

    The single-click is one, (though I’m sure I first used it in OS 9…?).

    The second RIDICULOUS thing is that it’s not possible to resize windows wherever you want to …. one MINIATURE triangle in the bottom right-hand corner is a JOKE!! I have to pick up the window, move it to the left, THEN resize.

    In Windows I grab any edge and push or pull.

    Mac, PLEASE get this sorted!
    Or could some clever Tweaker PLEASE devise a little app?
    Hope to hear from one of you soon … :)

  10. I have just recently switched to Mac and have also been frantically looking at how to change to the Windows Single Click option you describe above. I just can’t believe Apple and the glorious band of Mac Users haven’t put this Single Click option into the operating system. I’ve even switched up to OS X Leopard and still no luck. Single Click on a Mac just doesn’t seem to be available :(

    Walt D in LV

  11. Single click on mac works for folders when you turn on that column view mode. As for files and apps, no luck there.

    However one cool mac app i found called QuickSilver allows you to launch apps and open files by pressing a key combo then typing in the first few letters of the said app, file, or action. Since i rarely get wrist pain and/or cramp from using a keyboard (compared to using the mouse or trying to use the darn trackpad), this comes in quite handy.

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