macOS Sierra: Use Dwell Control

With Dwell Control, you can use eye- or head-tracking technology to control the mouse to click, drag, and scroll items on the screen. You use buttons in the Dwell Control Home Panel to select dwell actions, such as Left Click. You can also use other panels available in the Home Panel to enter text and adjust system settings, such as volume or brightness.

Use the Dwell Control Home Panel buttons to perform mouse actions. Use other panels to enter text, adjust system settings, and more

After you select a dwell action, you rest or dwell for a set amount of time (called the dwell time) on the item that you want to click, drag, or scroll, then the action is performed.

Enable Dwell Control

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Dwell Control.

  2. Click General, then select Enable Dwell Control.

    The Dwell Control Home Panel is shown on your desktop, and the Dwell Control status menu is displayed in the menu bar.

Dwell actions

You can select dwell actions in the Home Panel, the Options menu, or the Dwell Control status menu in the menu bar.

After you select a dwell action, dwell on the spot where you want the action performed—for example, on a checkbox or an image. The pointer appears over the item and the dwell time countdown begins (the pointer circle starts to turn white). When the countdown is over, the action is performed.

Note: When you choose an action from the Options menu, it’s used one time only—the action is not repeated.

  • Left Click : Performs a left click when you dwell on an item.

  • Double Click : Performs a double click when you dwell on an item.

  • Right Click : Performs a right click when you dwell on an item.

  • Drag & Drop : Drags and drops the item you dwell on.

    When the countdown is over, the pointer indicates the item can be dragged. As you dwell where you want to drop the item, the item moves there, the countdown begins, and when it’s over, the item is dropped.

  • Scroll Menu : Scrolls the item you dwell on.

    Make sure you dwell on content that can be scrolled—for example, a webpage or a document. When the countdown is over, scroll indicators appear at the top, bottom, and sides of the content (depending on how it can be scrolled). Dwell on a scroll indicator to scroll in that direction.

  • Options Menu : Shows the Options Menu when you dwell on an item. 

  • No Action : Pause and take no action as you move around the screen or dwell on items. This action is useful when you want to take a break from actions—for example, to read a webpage or watch a movie.

    When you’re ready to resume and perform dwell actions again, dwell on any dwell action in the Home Panel. If the Home Panel is hidden, dwell on the hot corner assigned to show the Home Panel (as set in Dwell Control preferences).

The color of the scroll indicators in the Scroll Menu is determined by the highlight color set in General system preferences. To change the highlight color, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click General.

Use the Home Panel

In addition to selecting dwell actions, you can use the Home Panel to display other panels.

  • Keyboard: Provides a keyboard for entering text. Use the buttons across the top to choose dwell actions. Keep an eye on the bottom row, which displays suggested words, based on the keys pressed so far; you may save typing time by selecting a suggested word.

  • System: Provides buttons to control the volume or display brightness of your Mac and control media playback.

  • Custom: Shows custom panels, if available. You can create custom panels (using the Panel Editor) to streamline common tasks and actions for your favorite apps.

  • Location: Provides buttons to reposition the Dwell Control Home Panel on the screen.

Each of these panels contain the Panel Options icon for adjusting the transparency and size of the panel, and the Home icon to return to the Home Panel.

Tip: You can set a preference to have the Home Panel shown when you dwell on a corner of the screen. To set Dwell Control hot corners, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, click Dwell Control, then click Settings.

Use the Options Menu

You can use the Options Menu to quickly switch between various dwell actions. When you select an action from the Options menu, it’s used one time only—the action is not repeated.

The circular Options Menu whose buttons include, from the top and moving clockwise, Double Click, Right Click, Scroll Menu, Close, Drag and Drop, Left Click

Tip: The crosshair in the middle of the Options Menu indicates the target location where the action will be performed.

  • Select an action: In the menu, dwell on the action you want to select—for example, the double-click action at the top of the menu. The pointer appears over the button, and the dwell time countdown begins (the pointer circle starts to turn white). When the countdown is over, the button is selected and the action is performed at the target location.

    The Options menu disappears from the screen when the action is performed, but reappears as soon as you dwell on another item, so that you can choose another action.

  • Close the menu: Dwell on the close button at the bottom of the menu. When the countdown is over, the Options menu closes.

Use the Dwell Control status menu

When you turn on Dwell Control, the Dwell Control status menu appears in the menu bar at the top of the screen. The icon shown in the menu bar changes as you use different dwell actions.

Dwell Control status menu whose menu items include, from top to bottom, Left Click, Double Click, Right Click, Drag and Drop, Scroll Menu, and Options Menu

The status menu is useful for changing dwell actions when the Home Panel is hidden. A left mouse click to select an action is always performed in the status menu, regardless of the current dwell action.

  • Open the menu: Dwell on the status menu in the menu bar. The pointer appears over the status menu and the dwell time countdown begins (the pointer circle starts to turn white). When the countdown is over, the menu opens.

  • Choose an action from the menu: Dwell on an action. When the countdown is over, the action is selected.

If you enabled zoom in the Settings pane of Dwell Control preferences, the area you dwell on and the pointer are magnified. The size of the zoom window is based on the size set for picture-in-picture zoom.

To customize Dwell Control, such as setting the dwell time, use the Settings pane in Dwell Control preferences. To learn about the options, click the Help button in a pane. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Dwell Control.

Published Date: Mar 31, 2017
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