Have you had issues with applications or webpages in desktop mode that just aren’t very touch friendly? Small buttons and closely-placed text links often result in needing to undo something or go back and try again.
In the past, I used to either have to resort to attaching a touch/type cover or find my Bluetooth mouse when I ran into this problem.
However, I recently discovered an application called AppyMouse that installs a virtual touchpad on the screen in desktop mode. this touchpad acts (mostly) like a traditional laptop touchpad and lets you move a cursor around the screen to select items and click on icons.
There are both a free version and a Pro version for just $0.99 USD. Right now, the pro version only does one thing the free version can’t (it let’s you customize the pointer speed) so it might not be worth springing for, at least not out of the gate.
However, if you like the app, there’s no reason not to get the pro version. If they have more interest/purchases the developer will likely make improvements quicker and that benefits you for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Just saying…
Right now, neither version supports text selection or drag and drop (but I would expect that in the future it will be added to the pro – at least I hope). I also don’t like that there’s no built-in way to configure the software to prevent it from automatically starting when you restart your Surface.
On the plus side…
AppyMouse on Surface: Installation
For the most part, the installation is pretty simple. Just go to the Appymousing website and download the free or premium version of the software and run the install like you would any other.
That said, I actually had a bit of a problem installing this application the first time. During the installation, I received errors like the one below:
If you run into this issue as well, try restarting your machine before doing the installation – that worked for me.
Also, check that your anti-virus software isn’t causing any problems because AppyMouse is installing drivers and impersonating hardware, so you may need to add the application to the Anti-virus’ white-list to run correctly.
AppyMouse on Surface: Usage
Using AppyMouse is pretty simple, just use your thumb or finger to move the cursor around the screen using the virtual touchpad the application puts on your screen.
The virtual touchpad can be adjusted for left or right handed use, can be re-sized, and even re-positioned on the screen quickly and easily. Below is a video from the AppyMouse team that shows some of the capabilities.
AppyMouse on Surface: Summary
In my opinion, this is a pretty handy application to have on my Surface because, like Akpos, I have fingers that are just a bit too big to easily touch small buttons or links on a busy webpage in Desktop mode. So, it’s earned a permanent spot on my hard drive as a handy tool.
I don’t like that it automatically starts when I restart my Surface but using the CCleaner tool from my recent Startup programs post, I was able to prevent it from automatically starting when I reboot my Surface.
So, for free (or even for just $0.99 USD) it is worth a shot, especially if you use a lot of desktop mode apps on your Surface Pro.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.