If you don’t have a mouse connected to your Mac, you can still double click by clicking twice on the trackpad, using mouse keys, right-clicking to access the context menu, using Spotlight, or by using the terminal application.
Some of these functions aren’t actually “double clicking” but they are doing the same function.
My name is Eric and I have been working with computers and electronics since the early 1980s. We often get comfortable using our technology one way and when we need an alternative way it can be difficult.
I enjoy finding new ways to accomplish a task and would love to show you how to double-click on your Mac without a mouse. Keep reading if you would like to see some alternative ways to do this.
- Why Do We Double-Click
- Method #1: via MacBook Trackpad
- Method #2: via Context Menu
- Method #3: Using Mouse Keys
- Method #4: Using Spotlight
- Method #5: Using Terminal
Why Do We Double-Click
If you think about what we actually use a double-click for on our Mac, it can kind of give you an idea of what other methods are possible to do that same task. We most often use double clicking to start an application or open a file.
While you can double-click with a MacBook’s trackpad, you could use the context menu too.
By default, the first action on an item’s context menu is what takes place when you double-click on it. So, looking at it from this standpoint, we really just need to open the item’s context menu and then select the default action.
Let’s now go over some of the methods we can use to double-click on a Mac without a mouse.
Method #1: via MacBook Trackpad
If you are using a MacBook, you may already know this but the best method to use for double-clicking without a mouse is to double-click or press down on the trackpad two times in rapid succession.
This serves the same function as a double-click on a mouse. Keep in mind that it requires you to actually press down on the trackpad twice, not just tap it. When pressing down you should feel a distinct click and you will also need to do it as quickly as you would with a mouse.
As I mentioned above, double-clicking on your mouse performs the same action on the item that is the first or default action on the context menu for that particular item. You can see the context menu by right-clicking on the item.
So, it may be kind of a roundabout way to do this but you can right-click on the item using your trackpad or any other method and then select the first item shown in the context menu. You can take a look at this article to see how you can right-click without a mouse.
Method #3: Using Mouse Keys
If you are looking to use only the keyboard, then you will need to turn on Mouse Keys. Mouse keys allow you to use your keyboard as the mouse. You can move the pointer around the screen and click on things using keys.
It is a little complicated but it is well documented since it is an accessibility feature provided by Apple. Take a look if you are interested in using Mouse Keys.
Method #4: Using Spotlight
If you have no trackpad and don’t want to use Mouse Keys, this is a great way to startup applications or open a file using its default application which is the same as double-clicking. Just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Start Spotlight
Press the COMMAND+SPACE bar to start up Spotlight with your keyboard.
Step 2: Type in the name of the item you want to double-click on.
Step 3: Select the item
Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move down to the item and select it.
Step 4: Hit the Enter key to start the application or open the file.
Method #5: Using Terminal
Mac’s Terminal application is a very powerful tool that you can use to do many things and one of the things it can be used to do is start an application or open a file using its default application which is the same thing as double-clicking on it. Just use the steps below to do this.
Step 1: Open the Terminal Application
You will first need to get the Terminal application started. If you are unable to double-click, many of the traditional methods to do this will not work. In this case, you can use Siri, by clicking on the Siri icon in the upper right corner of your screen and saying Siri Start Terminal.
If you don’t want to use Siri to start it you can use the method shown above with Spotlight. Search for Terminal, select it, and then hit enter to start it up.
Using the cd command you will need to navigate to the directory where the item is located on your computer. If you are unsure of where the application or file is located, you may need to first find the location.
Step 3: Open the Item
Once you have navigated to the correct location you can use the open command to start the application or open it with its default application. If I were trying to open a file called test2.txt, I would type the command as shown below.
In this case, the file will be opened with my default text editor, which is the same thing that would happen if I double-clicked on it.
Below are some frequently asked questions about double-clicking on a Mac without a mouse.
Can I use Siri?
You can use Siri to open applications but it is unable to do things like open text files. When trying, Siri gives a message stating Finder hasn’t added support for that. This is disappointing and hopefully will be fixed in future macOS releases.
Is there any kind of guide to using a Mac without a mouse in general?
Actually, there is. Apple has a support guide on accessibility shortcuts which gives you information on how to do things with your keyboard instead of your mouse.
My Magic Mouse keeps disconnecting, how can I fix it?
If you’re looking for information on how to do things without a mouse, it may be because your Magic Mouse is not working properly. Check out our other guide on how to fix Magic Mouse keeps disconnecting issues.
If you’re unable to use your mouse to double-click, it is possible to get the task done with the use of your trackpad, mouse keys, or finding a way to open the item’s context menu. You can also use Spotlight or Terminal to do this if needed.
I hope the information above has helped you. Do you know of other ways to double-click without a mouse? I would love to hear about methods that others have used. Feel free to let me know what you have learned.