How to right click.

Grigram / Shutterstock.com.

You may have noticed the mention of “right click” while reading the instructions. But what does that mean? In some cases, it’s more than just clicking your right mouse button. We’ll show you how to right-click on many different pointer devices and platforms.

What does right click mean?

If you see the instructions that you “right click”, it means press the button to the right of your mouse. Normally, it opens a context menu for the item you clicked on.

One of the first right-click context menus, as seen in Small Talk in the 1970s.
An early right-click context menu appears on a Xerox Alto in Small Talk-76. Xerox

Right-clicking, as a physical process, began with the first multi-button mice made in the 1960s. But the idea of ​​clicking the right button to open the context menu originated in the small talk environment on the Xerox Alto in the mid-1970s, and then later reached the Windows operating system with Windows 95. With the Mac OS X beta in 2000, although OS 8 and 9 included a context menu that was accessible by holding down the keyboard controls when clicked.

Related: Windows 95 turns 25: When Windows went mainstream.

Why is right click different from left click?

Two mouse buttons that work differently allows you to do more things using your mouse, which can save you clicks and keyboard presses. In general, most operating systems save the left mouse button as a “primary click” to select items on the screen or open apps or documents, and they save the right button as a “secondary click.” Are used to cancel selections or open contexts. Menu. The context menu is a list of options depending on where you click or which application you are using.

An example of a right-click context menu in Windows 10.
Right-click on the context menu in Windows 10.

On Windows 10, Mac, iPad, and more, you can change the function of the two buttons, which is sometimes ideal for left-handed people who use their left hand to click the “primary” button. Want to use the index finger. Their mouse.

Related: How to switch left and right mouse buttons on Windows 10

How to right-click with the mouse

Example of the right mouse button.
Grigram / Shutterstock.com.

It’s easy to right-click with the mouse. Mouse-based as you normally hold it, press the right button (or clickable area) on the mouse surface.

On the Mac, if you’re using a one-button mouse, you can do this by holding down the control key on your keyboard and right-clicking on your mouse button. Or, if you’re using an Apple Magic mouse (where the entire surface can be clicked), you can right-click by placing two fingers on the surface of the mouse.

Related: How to right click on any Mac using trackpad, mouse or keyboard.

How to right click with track ball

Kensington trackball mouse.
Kensington.

Trackballs vary greatly in layout from design to design, but in general, they include the right button on the surface or side of the trackball, which acts like the right mouse button. To right-click, just right-click. Consult your trackball documentation to see how to secondary click if you have a problem.

How to right click from touchpad

Right-click on the Mac touchpad.
Apple

If you’re using the TouchPad on a Mac, Chromebook, or Windows PC, you can usually perform a right-click (secondary click) by pressing or pressing down on the touchpad with two fingers at the same time.

Or, if your laptop has two physical buttons under the trackpad, press the right button to right click.

How to right click on touch screen

Here’s where things get interesting. If you’re using a touch screen Windows PC, you can right-click by pressing and holding your finger on the screen until the context menu appears. The trick is at least Windows CE in 1996.

On the iPhone and iPad, you can perform actions like right-clicking on the screen: just hold your finger in one place until the menu appears. Apple often uses this gesture to hide popup context menus.

Related: What was Windows CE, and why did people use it?

How to right-click using a pen or stylus

Microsoft Surface Pane Side Button.
Microsoft

Many third party styles designed for use with Windows and Max (but not Apple Pencil) include a button on the side of the style that can act as a right-click when pressed.

For Microsoft Surface Pane, tap and hold the side button while tapping an item to open the context menu. Typically, these buttons can be reassigned through software to perform other functions.

Happy right click!

Related: How to configure your pen and its buttons on Windows 10

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