One of the greatest developments in Windows-based software over the years is what I refer to as "context-specific menus" (CSM) that are available to you by using the right-side button on your mouse.

Unfortunately, users who were introduced to computers many years ago, or with DOS based programs, have typically not noticed the growing power of "right-clicking" since this button did nothing for us when we first handled a mouse.

This leaves us in the strange position of often wanting to perform some common task and not realizing that executing our wishes is often just a "right-click" away!

Accessing the right mouse button will usually result in a drop-down list of common commands. Most people understand this. However, the idea, and value, of CSM is that the actual contents of the drop-down list will usually change to reflect the current operation that you're performing.

For instance, while using my version of Microsoft Word, right-clicking ordinarily results in a menu of options that contains: Cut, Copy, Paste, Fonts, Paragraph and Numbering.

However, when the mouse-pointer is positioned over a word that might have an error in spelling or grammar, then the resulting "right-click" menu offers suggestions on how to correct the specific error.

The application of "context-specific menus" means that the contents of any drop-down menu are specific to what program you're using and the action your currently performing, as well as the most likely features that the software developer anticipates you'll need, at that specific moment.

Since each program you use has a different purpose and was written by a different team of developers, the only way to fully realize the value and flexibility of the right mouse button is to experiment with it while performing different tasks.

While that might sound like a bit of a challenge, the beauty of this process is that more often than not, the feature you're looking for at any given moment is often just a "right-click" away.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale