BROWSE THE WEB LEFT- HANDED
Move your browser’s scrollbar to the left
Scrollbars are usually on the right-hand side of your browser for the benefit of right-handed web users, but they don’t have to be. The Scrollbar Anywhere extension for Chrome ( bit.ly/sba430) lets you scroll pages from any point on your screen as if the scrollbar was under your pointer. With the extension installed, simply click and hold the mouse button you’ve selected for the purpose and move the mouse to scroll. Firefox has a hidden option that lets you move your scrollbar from the right to the left side of the window without having to install any add-ons. Type about:config into the address bar, press Enter and click the ‘ I accept the risk!’ button. In the search box at the top, type layout.scrollbar.side. Double-click the ‘layout. scrollbar. side’ entry that appears below, and change the value from 0 to 3. Click OK to confirm this and restart Firefox. If you want to move the scrollbar back to the right, simply reverse the process.
Customise your phone for your left hand
If you have trouble using your Android phone in your left hand, you can activate a hidden right-to-left mode that flips everything on the screen, including the direction you swipe. Before you can use it, you must enable Developer Options. Go to Settings, About Phone and scroll down to the Build Number. Tap this seven times, and you’ll see a message telling you that you’re now a developer – congratulations! Go back to the Settings screen and you should see a new ‘ Developer options’ menu towards the bottom. Scroll down to the Drawing section and enable the ‘ Force RTL layout direction’ option (you need to be running at least Android 4.4 Kitkat to do this). Android will make the switch immediately.
This right-to-left change also affects the stock apps that came pre-installed on your phone, making them much easier to use with your left hand. However, third-party apps are likely to behave as they did before the change, so while this is a step in the right direction, it isn’t a perfect solution.
Install left-handed mobile apps
There are lots of apps both for IOS and Android that make life a little bit easier for left-handed phone and tablet users. Searching in the Apple App Store or Google Play for ‘left handed’ will bring up numerous suggestions (not all of them relevant, it must be said) including replacement keyboards, calculators, guitar tutorials and tuners, games and many more. To save you having to sift through them all, Appcrawlr has rounded up some of the best lefthanded apps for IOS ( bit.ly/acios430) and Android ( bit.ly/acand430).
Android users may be particularly interested in Left Handed Auto Rotate Free ( bit.ly/lhar430), which optimises your phone’s auto-rotate feature specifically for left-handed use. By adjusting autorotate’s sensitivity, the app stops articles you’re reading suddenly flipping from portrait to landscape orientation.
Personalise Windows 10 for left-handed use
It’s easy enough to operate Windows 10 left-handed if you have a touch screen, but less so if you use a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft’s supposedly state-ofthe-art operating system doesn’t offer many options for improving the situation, but you can make a simple change to your mouse. Click the Start button followed by the Settings cog. In the menu that opens, click Devices and choose Mouse in the left-hand pane. From here you can switch the primary mouse button from left to right, which means you can use the right button for all your main pointing, clicking, highlighting and dragging-anddropping activities, and your left button to open the context menu (which you can now call the left-click menu).
In older versions of Windows, click Start, type mouse into the search box and click the Mouse option. Click the Buttons tab, and from there you can swap the primary and secondary mouse buttons.
If you use a digital pen to perform your pointing and clicking in Windows 10, you can make this more comfortable by letting the operating system know that you write with your left hand. In Settings, Devices, click Pen & Windows Ink and, in the drop-down menu under ‘Choose which hand you write with’, select Left Hand. Note that this option is only available if Windows knows you have a compatible pen.
Finally, you can move the taskbar from the bottom of the screen to the left-hand side (or the right-hand side, if you prefer), which might make it easier to reach, as well as freeing up vertical space on a widescreen monitor. Right-click the taskbar, untick ‘ Lock all taskbars’, then click and drag the taskbar and pull it up to the left side. Once it’s in place, you can lock it there.
Switch to a left-handed mouse cursor
Microsoft provides a wide selection of cursor styles in Windows, but for some unknown reason it doesn’t offer a left-handed one with a cursor that points to the right. Fortunately, you can find suitable cursor packs elsewhere, such as on Deviantart ( bit.ly/ lhcursor430). To install and use one of these, click the download button and open the archive. It’s a RAR file, so you’ll need to use a program such as 7-Zip ( www.7-zip.org) to open it. There are three types of cursor available: regular, large and extra-large. Find the . INF file for the one you want, right-click it and select Install. Once you’ve done that, go back into Mouse Properties and you should be able to select your new cursor there. If not, click Browse and the Cursors folder will open. Go into Windows Aero, Windows Aero Left Handed, then select ‘aero_ arrow.cur’ and click Open. ‘ Windows Aero Left Handed’ should now appear as a scheme for you to select.
This trick works in all versions of Windows, but in Windows 10 you’ll need to click the ‘Additional mouse options’ link in Settings to make the change. You should find that you get used to the new cursors quite quickly, but if not, simply select one of the other styles to switch back.
Unlock your phone’s right-to-left mode for more comfortable use
Move the scrollbar in Firefox to the left-hand side of the browser
Make your phone auto-rotate to suit your left hand not your right
If you use a pen with Windows 10, tell it which hand you write with
Install left-handed mouse cursors that are tailored to southpaws
Switch your primary mouse button from left to right in Windows 10