How To Right-Click Using the Keyboard

Typing on keyboard

The right click function is one of the most useful and versatile shortcuts that could be used while on a computer. This action usually opens up the context menu, from which you could easily select several options with point and click ease. The use of the mouse has definitely changed the way we use computers. Fifteen years ago, the mouse was just beginning to see use in desktops, and now it has made itself an indelible feature in computers everywhere. It comes in many forms, too - as a traditional mouse, as a touchpad on laptops, a pointing stick, and sometimes even a trackball. In some cases, the mouse has even been replaced by the touch screen.

Should your mouse break down on you with no emergency replacement in sight, it would be very helpful if you knew how to duplicate the right-click of a mouse.

Here's how you do it in Windows.

Solving the problem with your keyboard

  1. Use your mouse to position your cursor on the part of the screen that you wish to right click. Use the left mouse button to select that particular part of the screen.
  2. Press the Shift key along with the F10 button simultaneously. Once you release these buttons, the computer would've simulated what the right-click would have done.
  3. Alternatively, you can use the "context menu" key you can find in any modern keyboard. This is usually located to the right of the space bar, and it is marked by an arrow pointing at something inside a menu. The context menu key usually comes with keyboards that have the "Windows" key.

Solving the problem using Mouse keys

"Mouse keys" is a function that allows you to use your keyboard as a pointing device. This can also double as your "spare mouse" should your regular mouse conk out during use. These keys control the cursor as well as allow users to click items on the screen using some keys.

  1. To use the Mouse Key function, go to the Control Panel and activate the mouse option for the Accessibility Options tab. This will be signified with an icon that shows a person in a wheelchair.
  2. Use the keys of the alphanumeric section of your keyboard to position the mouse pointer anywhere on the screen.
  3. To duplicate the action produced by a left click anywhere on the screen, simply press the number "5" key.
  4. Pressing the plus sign ("+") will mimic the same action produced by a double click.
  5. The minus sign ("-") can be pressed to simulate the clicking of the right mouse button.

In Mac OS X

Windows users who are first time users of Macintosh computers would probably be confused by the lack of right-click buttons on most Apple computers. This was done by design, since Apple designers thought it best to simplify the interface by only implementing one clicker, instead of two. If you need to bring up a context menu on the Mac, simply press and hold the Command key (usually found to the immediate left of the spacebar), and click on the mouse button.

There are other ways of right-clicking on the Mac, such as by clicking and holding the mouse button for a few seconds on traditional one-button Mac mice, or by tapping on the trackpad with two fingers, with Mac notebooks.

Aside from being a great contingency plan for when your mouse breaks down, using these keyboard-based techniques could also work wonders for those with carpal tunnel syndrome or other forms of repeated-stress injuries. Pressing buttons on a keyboard can sometimes prove to be easier compared to having to drag a mouse and then clicking on buttons repeatedly.


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