Leap Motion Mouse Control

BetterTouchTool’s mouse mode is still in beta and I know that it can be improved by a lot. Please report any issues you encounter or suggestions you have.


  1. Initial Setup
  2. How To Use BetterTouchTool’s Leap Motion mouse mode
  3. Tip & Tricks
  4. FAQ & Troubleshooting




Initial Setup

1.) BetterTouchTool’s Leap Motion mouse control is disabled by default. In order to use it, you have to assign the predefined action “Enable / Disable Leap Moution Mouse Control” to a gesture or shortcut. 

Important: In mouse mode only a few Leap Motion gestures will work by default (Five Finger Swipes, Three Finger Swipes and the Clap gesture). This means that you won’t be able to disable the mouse control mode via any other Leap Motion gestures (however enabling it will work). Starting with version 0.966 you  can configure which gestures are available in mouse mode (see screenshot below).

Screenshot 2013-08-09 11.51.13


2.) You can also use keyboard shortcuts to enable / disable the mouse control mode

Screenshot 2013-08-09 11.56.24

3.) After assigning the predefined action to enable / disable mouse mode, you can change various settings:

Screenshot 2013-08-15 15.31.03
Make sure to select left-handed if you want to control the mouse with your left hand (however I could not really test this yet)


4.) To change the mouse mode settings later, click the little gear symbol next to the action selector drop-down button:





How To Use BetterTouchTool’s Leap Motion mouse mode


Moving The Mouse Cursor:

  • You need two fingers to move your mouse cursor. Your thumb and your index finger. While moving the thumb must be straight and point away from the screen.
  • Point with your index finger into the direction the mouse cursor should move to. You do not need to move your arm at all (thus you can rest it on the table all the time)
  • The more you point into a direction, the faster the cursor gets. (But don’t point too steep, because then the Leap Motion Controller may loose track of your fingers)
  • mousemove


  • Point the tip of your thumb towards the tip of your index finger and back again. The mouse cursor will notify you about the click by becoming bigger for a short amount of time.
  • click


  • Since version 0.966, the right-click in mouse mode is done by a three finger tap (move three fingers towards the screen and back again fast)
  • You can also enable two finger taps to do a right-click, however I don’t recommend this because they may trigger accidentally.


  • Keep the tip of your thumb pointing towards the tip of your index finger until the mouse cursor gets a little bigger and stays bigger. Then point towards the direction the mouse should move with your index finger.


  • Use three fingers. Your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger. Point with your index and middle finger into the direction you want to scroll to. The direction the thumb points to is ignored. The distance between the index and middle finger should not neither be too far, nor too short.
  • Unfortunately the Leap Controller is currently not very good at recognizing three fingers pointing downwards. Thus try to only point the tips of your fingers down, not the whole finger.
  • You can also enable two finger scrolling, however this is not as reliable as three finger scrolling. When enabled use your index and middle finger to point into the direction you want to scroll.
  • Note: In order to reduce errors while moving the mouse, scrolling does only start if all three fingers have been visible for at least 0.2 seconds.




Tips & Tricks

  • Three Finger Circles
    • I recommend activating three finger circles in mouse mode, because they are not triggered too easily and can be very useful. For example you could configure them to open / close tabs in your browser or to start /stop dictation. (Starting dictation with BetterTouchTool can for most applications be achieved with the “Trigger Menubar Menu-Item” predefined action, if your system is set to the english language, you’d enter Edit;Start Dictation to trigger that menu-item. )





  • What should I do if I encounter unwanted drags / clicks?
    • I’m working on a better solution for dragging. If the current solution doesn’t work well for you, please try to disable dragging for now (see section 1)
  • What can I do if the mouse mode doesn’t work well with my Leap Motion Controller?
    • First, make sure that there are no reflective objects near to the Leap (this also includes watches or jewlry you wear on your arm)
    • Second, make sure that the Leap is clean, even small dirt particles can be a problem.
    • If this doesn’t help try to use the diagnostic visualizer which is available in the Troubleshooting tab in the Leap Motion Controller settings. If it does show strange / unwanted fingers or hands, try to recalibrate your device or conctact me or the Leap Motion supoprt.
  • When I try to move my mouse cursor, the mouse just moves to the left / right side of the screen. How can I fix this?
    • If you are left-handed make sure you have selected the left-handed mode in BetterTouchTool’s mouse mode settings, if you are right-handed make sure right-handed is selected (that’s the default)
    • Do not move your arm, only point with your index finger into the direction the cursor should move
  • Gesture XY does not work while in mouse mode, although it’s checked in the mouse mode settings?
    • If the gesture is checked in the mouse mode settings, it means that it is DISABLED, not enabled :-)
  • Why do I have to tuck in my fingers so tightly when using BetterTouchTool with the Leap?
    • Answer: Unfortunately, due to the way how the Leap Motion Controller  works, fingers that are not tucked in can cause irritation and unreliable recognition. Think about the Leap as a camera that films your fingers from below. Now if you for example do not tuck in your middle and ring finger, and point with your index finger to the right (if you are right handed) the Leap won’t be able to see your index finger anymore because it’s obscured by the other two fingers. You can easily reproduce this with the diagnostic visualizer that is available in the Troubleshooting tab in the Leap Motion Controller settings. As of now, I don’t think that I can workaround this problem.

One Ping to “Leap Motion Mouse Control”

  1. BTT 0.965 alpha – Leap Motion Mouse Control » BetterTouchTool, BetterSnapTool & SecondBar Says:

    […] Please read the documentation for the Leap mouse mode (and post your comments there): http://blog.boastr.net/documentation-faq/leap-motion-mouse-control/ […]

25 Responses to “Leap Motion Mouse Control”

  1. 1. Mitchell Says:

    Feels a little sluggish, but it could just be me getting used to it. That said, this feature has a lot of potential and I’m REALLY glad to see you’re developing it. As a first crack at it and an experimental feature, it’s great. Thanks for putting in all this hard work for us, you’re an internet hero.

  2. 2. Tom Says:

    Maybe I am just having a Friday moment, but how do I get back to the settings for the motion mouse so that I may switch from left handed back to right handed? Thanks!

  3. 3. andreas hegenberg Says:

    Hey Tom,

    there should be a little settings button right to the predefined actions drop down. If this is not shown for some reason just reassign the enable/disable action.


  4. 4. Patrick Says:

    VERY COOL. One quick question. Should I be running Touchless with this, or not?

  5. 5. andreas hegenberg Says:

    @Patrick no currently you should disable it, future versions of touchless will be compatible however.

  6. 6. Kam Says:

    Awesome….thanks so much for your work Andreas.

    It took me some time to configure BTT to work with Leap Mouse Control better, but now it’s working better than when I first tried.

    Some tips for other uses:

    – In the Leap Motion settings, under Tracking, choose Speed (seems to work better for me than the other two options).

    – It seems that a bit of hand movement while pointing your index finger helps move the mouse faster.

    – If the mouse gets stuck in a corner or stops responding, move the whole hand away from Leap Motion, and then put it back. That seems to help get things back to normal.

    – In the BTT settings, under Trackpad (if you’re using a trackpad), play around with the trackspeed…that will affect how fast your mouse cursor moves (Note: but also will affect your trackpad’s mouse speed). I set this to a 3.0.

    – In the BTT settings, under TrackPad, use a keyboard modifier to toggle mouse speed. I hold Cmd+Fn and set the new speed to 0.25. This allows me to move the cursor more precisely if I need to select a word or click a small button.

    I’m still getting used to the mouse control. I think it’ll take some time to get used to it, but I’ll post any further tips/feedback as I use this more.

  7. 7. ijustinJ Says:

    Great update! Look forward to refinements in cursor movement etc but I am sure that they will come.

    Question-I can’t get rt-click to work. The way I read your instructions I am extending my index and middle fingers then pulling my thumb towards them.
    All this does is scroll because of the 3 finger scroll action because BTT interprets it as 3 fingers.

    What am I doing wrong?

  8. 8. Rob Huska Says:

    @andreas this is AWESOME!!!! Like Mitchell stated there is a bit of a learning curve for it, but I am getting used to it. The one I can’t get yet is scrolling back up the page. I can scroll down like a champ, but up is one that I can’t make work… I’ll keep trying, but if you have any other tips that would be helpful. Thanks again!!!

  9. 9. Serge Sander Says:

    The Nouse Control is nice but it feels like to tricky to use it the easy way, it needs more gestures lika grab e.g. so i could add a gesture like on grab start moving window with mouse control, release when i open my hand again, the current toggle on and off way is not very usable, so i don’t want to use the point and clciim a simple scroll and drag would be enough for many users, the most Powerful action for me would be the grab window under cursor and move it away to corner snap e.g.

    Also a speed control for scrolling would be also nice, it seems BTT reacts how far you move your fingers to adjust speed but for me it was too slow, especially when i moved down…

  10. 10. Geetz Romo Says:

    Can’t seem to get the application switcher to function properly.
    I see you added a new command, but doesn’t seem to all me to scroll (using circle gesture) through the app switcher. How do I do this?

  11. 11. Steven Haines Says:

    After a week this is already a big step up from Touchless. My experience so far has revealed a few problems, as one would expect at such an early stage.

    Turning mouse mode on is much easier than turning it off no matter what gesture you choose. It takes multiple attempts for the gesture to be recognised. I have tried clap, one and two finger circles in both directions, and five finger tap. Being able to reliably turn mouse mode an and off seems to me a way to get the best from the full range of gestures.

    Also, turning off Enable Mouse Cursor Move in the mouse emulation preferences doesn’t seem to have any effect. The advantage of this would be to benefit from scrolling without the difficulties of accurately moving the cursor.

    On another matter, it would be very helpful if one could enter numeric values in the various sliders (e.g. Set trackpad speed) rather than just being able to move the pointers. This is more an appeal from my inner pedant that finds only being able to set the value to 1.002 instead of 1 a bit jarring.

  12. 12. Shawn Says:

    A great start for mouse control! Touchless definitely needs more work so it’s great to know there are alternatives in the works. At this stage of development the Leap Motion is almost useless without BTT, it’s the only reason I don’t regret buying the damn thing.

  13. 13. Gaurav Says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks for building it.

  14. 14. Guilleh Says:

    While it looks like this works and it’s amazing, I have been adding things left and right, enabling, disabling… nothing works so far. I think that most people might be coming from leap motion to use this, so it should have some kind of preset to quickly get up and running. Just a thought… I wanted to quickly take it for a spin but i might have to invest at least a few hours. So far i couldn’t even get the cursor to move so it was a little off-putting

  15. 15. Mark Says:

    Apologies if this has already been answered, but do you have any plans to make a Windows version? BetterTouchTool was recommended in this month’s Stuff magazine and it looks to be a huge improvement over Touchless.

  16. 16. Thomas Halleck Says:

    I am having trouble getting the “small two finger circle” gesture recognized. Would love to use that as a double-click. Am I doing something wrong?

  17. 17. Felipe Mesquita Says:

    I would find it incredibly useful if we could program tool specific actions, mainly scrolling. It would be great to, for example, be able to scroll a PDF file for a book with a pen while doing homework. Also, on my on experiments I’ve found that using a tool instead of fingers makes the reading more reliable. Thanks for the great app!

  18. 18. Don Says:

    I am having trouble with the software differentiating between a click and a drag event in the motion mouse control. The mouse cursor only enlarges momentarily, even if I move my thumb towards my index finger slowly. Also, my thumb doesn’t bend that well, so I think it may not be registering well for the drag operation. I’d suggest maybe just having it decide based on proximity of thumb to finger for a given amount of time…or maybe a twist of the hand? :)

  19. 19. Antonio Says:

    Exist a preset configutator for import?

  20. 20. Cose Espinosa Says:

    really nice i loved it please keep up the good work and let mw tell you, you have done an amazing job

  21. 21. AndyM Says:

    Am missing something obvious – Message- Not connected or disabled is displayed in leap settings. Don’t understand how to get past this. Am using MacBook Pro with Mavericks.

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  24. 24. Nick Sanitsky Says:

    I cannot use the mouse even though mouse mode is enabled. Also, the gestures won’t be tracked at all. Please help?

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