Having a mouse was once considered strange. It was a pricey add-on that only a few professional users could afford. A basic mouse can now be purchased for less than five dollars, and almost every computer operating system is based on this ubiquitous pointing device.
So, if your mouse were to break today, how would you right-click? How would you even left-click? Isn’t that a terrifying thought? However, by the conclusion of this essay, you’ll be able to seize keyboard control of your mouse in an emergency and right-click like a pro.
Also, be sure to visit our YouTube channel, where we created a short film demonstrating the many strategies discussed in this article.
Why use the keyboard instead of the mouse to right-click?
There are two primary reasons to utilize a graphical user interface using a keyboard rather than a mouse. The first is an accessibility concern. Many persons lack the mobility or limbs necessary to easily operate a mouse while yet being able to utilize a keyboard.
The second is a problem with the hardware. For whatever reason, your trackpad or mouse may stop working, and you’ll need to keep using your computer until a replacement or repair arrives.
In some circumstances, utilizing keyboard shortcuts rather than a mouse to operate your computer might be faster and more efficient. Professional computer users are already aware of this, as keyboard shortcuts are fundamental to professional processes.
As a result, you could find that some of these keyboard shortcuts are more convenient than using your mouse. There’s nothing wrong with creating a computer control style that works for you.
In Windows 10, you can use the mouse keys.
- Start by pressing the Start button.
- Use the mouse keys to type.
- Turn Mouse Keys On or Off by clicking the button.
Go to Control Panel > Ease of Access > Mouse Keys for a more advanced set of Mouse Key options. Center for Ease of Access > Make Using the Mouse Easier > Configure Mouse Keys
You can move the pointer around using the number keypad buttons after Mouse Keys is enabled. The mouse buttons are now “/”, “*”, and “-“. The right mouse button is represented by “-.” You may fine-tune how the pointer acts and right-click with the keyboard if you like under the advanced Mouse Keys Control Panel settings.
In macOS Catalina, use the mouse keys.
MacOS, not to be outdone, provides an accessibility function that allows you to operate the pointer with keyboard keys. As you might guess, it doesn’t work quite as well as the Windows version, but it gets the job done.
To use the feature, follow these steps:
- Select the Apple menu option from the drop-down menu.
- Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
- Accessibility is a good option.
- Now select Pointer Control from the drop-down menu.
- Select Alternative Control Methods from the drop-down menu.
- Mouse Keys should be enabled.
Option-Command-F5 or, if you have a Mac with a Touch ID button, pressing it three times in succession will activate Mouse Keys fast and effortlessly.
Because many Magic Keyboards and MacBooks lack number pads, you can right-click with the keyboard using these keyboard key substitutes. As may be seen in this Apple diagram.
The “I” and numpad “5” are used to simulate a mouse click. The buttons “M” and “0” will be pressed and held. The full stop (period) button will release the mouse in any scheme.
In macOS, right-click
If you use a Mac, you’re surely aware that the so-called “alternative click” feature isn’t enabled by default. So, if you attempt right-clicking with the keyboard on a Mac right out of the box, nothing happens.
In System Preferences, under the mouse and trackpad options, you must enable right-click behaviour with the mouse. When you click with two fingers (on a trackpad) or on the right-hand side of your Magic Trackpad or Mouse, it will do a right-click (with the Magic Mouse).
To generate a right-click, you must first use the mouse and then the keyboard. Simply hold down the control button and then click the left mouse button. It is not to be confused with the “options” button.
In many circumstances, if you hold that down instead, you’ll receive a popup menu, but not the right-click menu. Holding options and clicking on the WiFi icon, for example, brings up advanced WiFi options.
Use a Shortcut Key for Right-Clicking
You can pick things in Windows by using the Tab and cursor keys.
The item can then be activated by pressing Enter. When you put it all together, you get very much the same functionality as if you left-clicked or double-clicked on items.
The majority of people are unaware that you can right-click using a keyboard shortcut. A button that looks like this can be found on various Windows keyboards.
Many newer keyboards, however, lack this feature. Fortunately, Windows offers a global shortcut, Shift + F10, that accomplishes the same task. In software like Word or Excel, it will right-click on whatever is highlighted or wherever the pointer is.
Is a Mouse Really Necessary?
Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Still, if your pointing device fails or you find using a mouse too difficult, these keyboard-based alternatives might be extremely useful.
If you need to operate the pointer with something other than a mouse due to a disability, you might consider investing in a different form of pointing device.
Many specialized controllers are available for folks with various mobility difficulties. Eye-tracking cameras or voice-control, for example. You can also use software like Keysticks to control your mouse pointer with a typical off-the-shelf game controller.
While the mouse pointer is still an important part of most desktop operating systems today, you have a lot of options for moving it around.