Most laptop computers have a touchpad centered under the spacebar. And most laptop computer users operate the touchpad with their index finger and with practice it becomes as easy or even easier than using a mouse or trackball. There is another way to use the touchpad that is even better, especially for a touch typist. Without leaving the home keys, operate the touchpad with the side of your thumb. This way, you can do mouse operations and type all without moving your hands. After you get used to it, you’ll never want to go back to using a mouse or other pointing device. You’ll find the time it takes to reach for the pointing device, and to come back to the keyboard home keys very distracting. This is especially important when you consider that mouse movements are frequently done right in the middle of entering text, such as cut, copy and paste operations. Whether you use the touchpad technique of taps and double-taps to emulate mouse key operations, or whether you use your other thumb to operate the touchpad button is a matter of personal choice.
You don’t need a laptop computer to use the touchpad technique. You can buy an external touchpad that plugs in just like a mouse or uses Bluetooth wireless communication. On most keyboards, you’ll find that there is too much plastic below the spacebar to place the touchpad close enough. The answer is simple: Buy an inexpensive keyboard, cut out the unnecessary plastic, and glue the touchpad into position right below the spacebar.