SteerMousing Aperture

by Bakari Chavanu

If you glance back on my previous posts, you'll notice that I've largely written about ways I try to increase my productivity workflow in Aperture. Like many of you who process large volumes of images, I'm always looking for hacks and tools that reduce the amount of clicks and steps I need to go through to complete tasks.

Many of us use Aperture and other similar programs because of its batch processing functions. We learn the shortcut keys and we try to organize our photos by image date and stack them so that we can more effectively batch process several photos at a time.

Well, I've already written about a customized Aperture-focused keyboard that may help you with shortcut keys for the batching process, and now I would like to share another little tool that I use called SteerMouse. It's been around for a while, but if you've never heard of it or are not using it, believe me you're missing out on a great time saving tool.

Basically, SteerMouse is an advanced driver for USB and Bluethooth mouses in which the buttons, wheels, and the cursor can be customized to perform various keyboard and cursor actions.

Right now I have a simple three-button, click wheel Logitech USB mouse. Nothing really special about it, and I need to seriously upgrade. But with SteerMouse, using this simple mouse can be is a time saver. In SteerMouse, you can apply different controls for different applications. So while you have the default controls for basic selecting, right-clicking on items, or scrolling, you can change the function of the buttons and wheels for different applications.

Lifting and Stamping with Steer Mouse
Because I do a lot of lifting and stamping in Aperture, I have programed the scroll wheel of my mouse to help me perform those functions. I push the wheel forward to lift metadata and scroll it back to apply/stamp copied metadata. When I use the SteerMouse functions this way, there's hardly any need to use the equivalent shortcut keys or to even right- click for those same functions.

I've also programed the click wheel function of my simple mouse to show and hide the Project Panel (shortcut key W), which is another action I perform regularly in Aperture.

I use these same buttons and scrolling wheel in slightly different ways for other applications, but now I'm looking for a more advance USB mouse that provides a few additional buttons and functions to get even more out of SteerMouse.

From my brief experience with this driver mouse tool, I can say that Apple's MightyMouse, though elegant in design, is way too simple for what SteerMouse can make it do. And because there's probably at least four or five functions we repeatedly use when working in Aperture, an advance mouse is essential to productivity.

To license SteerMouse, you pay a cool $20. I've used my license on three computers so far and haven't had to pay penny more. It performs extremely well. I've experienced no problems with the driver, and it's seriously easy to set up and make customizations for Aperture and other programs. And finally, the SteerMouse homepage shows a nice list of mouses the driver works with. Why Apple hasn't created a driver like this is beyond me to understand.