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If you asked me to name just one program I don't think I could live without, I would name a program I never actually remember I am running from one day to the next. It runs so invisibly that the only time I ever remember I'm running it is when I'm not running it. If that makes sense.

Stroke ItI'm talking about StrokeIt, the single most useful program I have on my PC. It's free for non-profit and individual use. Companies can buy a license for $10 - and it's well worth it.

So what does StrokeIt do? I hear you ask. Well, StrokeIt enables you to use your mouse more intelligently and effectively. Essentially, StrokeIt allows you to perform common functions with a gesture of the mouse.

For example, when browsing the web, the average person spends a lot of time going back and forwards. You can click a back button, or press backspace on your keyboard, but using mouse gestures allows you to go back or forward simply by making a left or right gesture with the mouse.

In order to actually perform a gesture, you start by holding down the right button of the mouse. Then, you make your gesture (eg moving the mouse in a straight line to the left to go back). Then release the button and the gesture will be performed. Simple as that.

Opera, the internet browser, was the inspiration for Mouse Gestures, and other browsers now include these by default. StrokeIt, though, allows you to use gestures in each and every application on your Windows PC.

When you first install the program, you will find that it takes a little while to get used to. Check out the options as well, to turn off the coloured lines that gestures produce (you can literally make them and the whole program run invisibly in the background if you wish).

Once you are familiar with the concept of gestures, you can start to configure them for individual applications. While the most common gestures in file managers and web browsers are back, forward and up, other programs like graphics packages or word processors have different requirements and will use different gestures.

I've been using mouse gestures for a year or two now, and they are without a doubt the biggest advance in user computer interaction since the invention of the mouse. They will change how you use your PC and the internet. Go and give them a try!


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