An advanced user interface for use with a computer system operating on an integrated operating environment. The integrated operating environment allows a plurality of application programs to be running simultaneously, one of which is designated the active application program to which all input data is directed. The advanced user interface allows a user to select among user-friendly input devices to operate any application program according to his individual preferences without change to the application program code. The advanced user interface includes alternate input modules which translate the input signals transmitted from the various input devices into input messages useable by the rest of the interface. The advanced user interface also includes interface profiles which contain mappings of the input messages against corresponding commands useable by the application programs, the integrated operating environment or other modules of the advanced user interface itself. An environment link module refers to the interface profiles and matches the input message against the corresponding command for the application program active at the time the input signal was transmitted and send the corresponding command to that application program. The environment link module matches the input message against a corresponding command for an application which owns a window in which a key feature of a gesture is made.