The Right-Click Trick


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Microsoft Windows employs an extremely helpful capability for finding out what actions are available at any point on the screen. This capability, which displays context-sensitive menus, is available by clicking on the right mouse button with the cursor at the desired point on the screen. When the right mouse button is clicked, a menu is displayed, which is customized for the current location of the mouse, hence the term context-sensitive-the menu changes depending on the context, or what the cursor is pointing to. This feature provides the great capability of being able to find out quickly what actions are available at the current cursor location.

For example, if you put the cursor over a word in Microsoft Word and click the right mouse button, the menu displayed will give you the choices of Font, Paragraph, Bullets and Numbering, Hyperlink and Synonym, all of which are applicable to any word in a Microsoft Word document. Now select a word by double-clicking on it, then click the right mouse button with the cursor on the selected word, and the additional options of Cut and Copy are added to the possible selections.

Try right clicking on an empty space on your desktop. You'll get a menu that is specific for the actions you can do with an empty space on your desktop, such as Arranging Icons, Refreshing the screen, and Desktop Properties. Right-click on one of the icons on your desktop and you will get an entirely different menu with very different selections, such as Open, Pin to Start Menu, Create Shortcut, and Properties. Different desktop icons will even have different menu options available when right-clicking. Right click on the My Computer, the Recycle Bin, and the Internet Explorer icons on your desktop and see the different options that are available for each one.

Right click in a blank area of a Web Page in Internet Explorer and you will get specific options available (did you know that you don't have to move the mouse all the way to the back button at the top of the browser window to go back one page?). Right click on a graphic on a web page and you will get options to allow you to save the picture, and set it as your desktop background.

Other operating systems may have similar capabilities. The context-sensitive menu on the Macintosh (which doesn't normally come with a three-button mouse) is accessed by clicking in a particular location and holding the mouse button down until the menu is displayed. Other operating systems may have their own methods of providing access to this capability.

Accessing context-sensitive menus through the right mouse button can be a great time saver and provide access to options that you didn't even know existed. Try it and you'll probably find you can't live without it.

Scott Carey has several interests and hobbies including computers and outdoor cooking. Visit InfoTesoro for computer tips and Outdoor Cooking Magic for outdoor cooking tips.


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