Long ago I remember seeing a GNU/Linux program where one could type essentially using only mouse movement by dragging, likely written for accessibility.

I'm not talking about on-screen keyboards, those obviously allow a user to type using a mouse, but they usually feature buttons that the user clicks on. I'm also not talking about the "swipe" functionality on keyboards for mobile devices.

If I remember correctly, this program consisted of a window where the user would put their mouse. To the right side of the window were smaller boxes with possible letters - I think it started with the whole alphabet (and maybe numbers), but then as you held your left mouse button and dragged/moved your mouse closer to one of the letters, the smaller box with that letter would start growing until it filled most of the window and now that was the letter you had "typed" - then new smaller boxes with letters would start filling the right side again - however this time I think the smaller boxes with letters were sorted statistically? Very unsure. Eventually, as you finished dragging your sequence of letters you let go of the left mouse button, finishing your typing. At least, that's how I remember it - and I'm probably wrong.

It's difficult to visualize the movement, I think maybe the mouse didn't move at all and remained in center? That maybe only the boxes moved?

I've quickly drawn a shoddy visualization to try and help explain better:

enter image description here

What is the name of this program?! Optionally, are there any similar programs?

1 Answer 1


I found it after looking through all the GNOME accessibility apps. I was a little off about how it worked, but I think I got the gist.

The program is called dasher.

It works like this:

animated GIF of dasher typing using mouse movement

This software is highly visual, and will probably not be very useful for visually impaired users, but it might be helpful for users who can move the mouse in a horizontal and vertical direction.

A long explanation of how it works can be found here: Dasher Basics

  • How does it work? When you don't see the letter you need you select the square, and when the last letter hovered passes the vertical line it is selected? Oct 13, 2023 at 2:18
  • What happens when you have hovered a letter by accident? Oct 13, 2023 at 2:19
  • How do you cancel it? Oct 13, 2023 at 2:19
  • How do I slow down, do I just move the pointer to the left? Oct 13, 2023 at 2:22
  • What about accessibility. Some people with no hands may be unable to move the pointer, perhaps, even comfortably, in two directions (horizontally, or vertically), and for these people out might be appropriate to redefine the x-axis along a curve on the screen (with micro-movements along that curve in the y-dimension). Oct 13, 2023 at 2:24

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