In Windows 95 or later you can “right click” (use your right mouse button instead of your left) to bring up a menu called a “context menu.” This is a tremendous time saver and will save you many wasted clicks over time.

A context menu means that whatever shows up in the menu changes depending on what you have clicked on. Go ahead and try it right now. Go to your desktop using one of the shortcuts we discussed in a past issue. — Oh you don’t remember?

Well, look at the lower left of your keyboard at the Windows key which is usually next to the control (Ctrl) key. Hold it down and then hit your “D” key once. You should instantly be taken to your desktop. Hold the Windows key down again and hit “D” once and it will take you right back where you were.

OK, So you’re at your desktop. Right click in any blank area and you will get a submenu. I’m in Windows XP Professional and my menu has the following choices.

· Arrange Icons by

· Refresh

· New

· Properties

The “Arrange Icons by” choice and the “New” Choice have submenus. You can tell there is a submenu if you see a little black arrow next to the choice.

Now try something different. Open your word processor (I use Microsoft Word) to a document with text in it. Right click in a blank area of the document. Here are the choices I see:

· Paste

· Font

· Paragraph

· Bullets and Numbering

· Hyperlink

· Synonyms

Now highlight a piece of text and right click in the highlighted area:

My context menu gives me two more important options that I use all the time 1.) Cut and 2.) Copy These options were visible in my previous menu, but they were “grayed out” i.e., not usable since I did not have anything highlighted to cut or copy.

Before I learned about this, I would have to highlight a piece of text, then move clear to the top of the screen to click on “Edit,” then “copy.” Then I would go to where I wanted to paste the info and click to put the cursor there. Then I would have to go back to the top of the screen and again click “Edit,” then “paste.” The context menu is so much faster and less hassle. (I’ll show you a cool way to move text in the tips below)


Context menus are also a big time saver when dealing with files and folders. Let’s say you have a couple versions of a file and can’t remember which is the newest. (This is another trick I use all the time). Right click on the file. A context menu will appear with quite a few choices which you can explore on your own. Usually at the bottom is one called “Properties.” Click on this and you will see all kinds of details about the file including when it was created and when it was last modified. You’ll instantly know which file is newer without even opening them.


I run into this all the time because I sell lots of Ebooks. When someone gets the link to download their ebook if they left click on it, it opens but they can’t save it. The proper instructions (which they hardly ever read) is to “right click” and then click on the context menu choice “save target” or “save target as.” Then they can save the PDF file to their hard drive.

So, start getting in the habit of right clicking whenever you want to do something to a file or folder or text and explore the quick ways to do whatever you want to do on the context menu.

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