Mac OS X

Getting middle-click to work for tab browsing in Mac OS X

If you’re a recent convert to Mac OS X (Tiger / Leopard / Snow Leopard / etc) or someone who uses multiple operating systems at the same time, the differences in mouse and keyword shortcuts get confusing, even irritating sometimes. One of the most irritating ones for me is the difference in what happens when you middle-click on the mouse.

In Windows / Linux, middle clicking in browsers is used to open and close tabs. In OS X, this doesn’t work because middle click is used to trigger the Dashboard. Every time I would want to open or close a tab, the dashboard would show up! To disable this, all you have to do is go to System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces and set the mouse shortcut to “-”.

For the newbies, here’s a screenshot guide. First select “System Preferences”:

Then click on the “Exposé & Spaces” button:

Set the “Dashboard” mouse shortcut to “—” :

So that it looks like this:

And that’s it! You will now be able to middle click to open and close tabs in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. For Safari, you can open tabs, but closing tabs don’t work.

And there you have it, middle click tabs on Mac OS X!

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No, I wasn't suffering from writer's block.... it was more of a guilt sort of a thing - trying to cope up with the overdose of holidaying, and not working. Now that I'm back in my geek-workaholic-sit-in-front-of-computer-all-day mode, things should become normal soon.

The first thing I want to write about is where I'm writing from. As you can see from the header graphic, I'm writing live from Mumbai, more specifically from the Informatics lab at the Computer Science department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, which is in Powai. The work environment at IITB is quite different from what I'm used to. The networks here are built like fortresses; everything is secured. It took me hours to get past the firewalls and figure out a way to check my own (outside) email. IITB(or atleast the part I've seen so far) is a linux country; windows machines are harder to find than girls on the campus.