There are times you want to control your computer but don’t want to reach for the mouse or keyboard. Perhaps you have a computer hooked up to your big screen TV and it's a little too far away to be convenient. Sure you can go buy a wireless keyboard and mouse to hook up to it and pull it out when needed but odds are you’ve already got your tablet or even a smartphone handy already. For just such occasions, with just a little setup beforehand, you can use them as input devices, emulating a keyboard and trackpad.
To start with it's worth pointing out that this isn’t about remote desktop functionality. That lets you log in and use your computer’s functionality remotely. What we’re exploring here are ways you can keep using your computer locally, without having it log out from the current session into a remote session, just with different input devices.
One app that has been a favorite in my arsenal for a long time is Mobile Mouse Pro. It's available for both iOS and Android devices, and can be setup to control a Mac, Windows PC, or even Linux so you have loads of options here. This app can emulate a trackpad on your touchscreen making it easy to control the mouse pointer. It also has a great keyboard that can slide away when you don’t need it, program specific smart remote control buttons and an application launcher. I have it installed on almost all my Android and iOS devices just in case I need to control one of my machines in a pinch and it's become indispensable.
There is also a great series of apps available from Adobe specifically for using your iPad to help control Photoshop. These go beyond keyboard and mouse emulation to provide a whole new tool set, augmenting your workflow. Adobe Nav for Photoshop running on your iPad you can use your tablet to transfer and browse images, switch documents, and use as a virtual, customizable toolbar.
The Adobe Eazel for Photoshop companion app lets you use your iPad as a sort of finger painting canvas. Like Nav, it allows for easy transfers to sync with Photoshop running on your computer. The most innovative of Adobe’s iPad suite is surely Colour Lava for Photoshop. This app is a whole new type of palette allowing users to dab, swirl, and mix paints to create custom colours as naturally as they would with real paints. The app integrates directly with the colour picker in Photoshop allowing for real time colour swapping and swatch syncing.
Whether you’re looking to emulate your existing input devices or try something new to augment how you control your computer there are a lot of powerful options at your disposal.
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