Right is Might

10 Nov

Something I am always sure to mention in my Digital Workshop sessions is a reminder to use the right mouse button when using a Windows computer. It is one of the most overlooked features of Windows, yet one of the most useful. (And it’s not available on Apple computers.)

The right mouse button is used to access a “context” menu. A context menu is a list of options specifically tailored to control the item on the screen to which you are pointing when you press the button. This works almost everywhere in Windows!

When you find yourself asking, “How to I do _____ with this item on the screen?”, try pointing to the item and pressing the right mouse button. For example, if you want to make a change to your desktop, point to a blank area and press the right button. The context menu that appears offers functions such as “Screen resolution” and “Personalize.” If you are working in a Microsoft Word document and want to perform a task on a portion of text, right-click, and you’ll find formatting options, synonym look-up and much more.

The right mouse button is especially useful with the Windows 7 task bar. If you use the right button on a program icon in the task bar, you’ll find a “jump list” of files recently used with that program as well as favorite files which you can pin there. For example, right click on the Microsoft Word task bar icon and see your favorite documents. Right click on the Internet Explorer icon and see your frequently-visited web sites.

You can’t go wrong with the right button.

– John Busey, ms Ryndam

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