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She could be finding out how to right click on a Mac

How to Right Click on a Mac

Wondering how you can right-click without a right mouse button—or a mouse? Find out here how to right click on a Mac with mouse or trackpad.

First, a Butter Dish on Wheels

or, to be more precise, on one wheel: Dean Hovey built the prototype for Apple’s first mouse from a butter dish and a roll-on deodorant’s ball.

Neither was controversial, of course. The big question was what to put on the dish: the mouse Steve Jobs had seen at Xerox had three buttons; Jobs wanted simplicity—and got it with one button.

That is why you today have either one or no button at all to right-click. Let’s find out how you still can (to, say, open a logo so you can resize it for use in your Gmail signature)!

How to Right-Click on a Mac

To click with the right mouse button (yes, even if you have neither a mouse nor buttons) in macOS, typically to get a context menu using a trackpad:

  1. Make sure the 2-finger-tap gesture is enabled.
  2. Tap with 2 fingers on the trackpad.

As an alternative, with either a trackpad or a mouse that has only one button:

  1. Hold down the Control key while tapping with one finger or clicking the sole (or left) mouse button.

As an alternative with Apple Magic Mouse, Apple Mouse or just about any other two- or more-button mouse:

  1. Click (or tap with Magic Mouse) on the mouse’s right side.

How to Enable Two-Finger Tapping for a Right Click using a Trackpad

Right-clicking Mouse. Heinz Tschabitscher
This mouse is clicking right, presumably on an imaginary Mac.

To set up a trackpad (Magic Trackpad or the trackpad on a laptop) so tapping or clicking with two fingers will work like right-clicking:

  1. Click the Apple () menu.
  2. Select System Preferences… from the menu that has appeared.
  3. Select Trackpad.
    • Tip: You can also click Search in the System Preferences window and type “Trackpad” to find the Trackpad settings.
  4. Go to the Point & Click tab.
  5. Make sure Secondary click is checked.For 2-finger tapping to right click, make sure "Click or tap with two fingers" is selected
  6. To change what counts as a secondary (right) click:
    1. Click the downward-pointed caret () under Secondary click.
    2. For 2-finger tapping to right click, make sure Click or tap with two fingers is selected.
    3. You can also choose tapping or clicking in one of the lower corners, of course.
  7. Close the System Preferences window.

How to Choose Between Right and Left Clicking for a Right Click using a Mouse

To set up your mouse so either a click on the right or on the left button produces a right (secondary) click:

  1. Click the Apple button () in the menu.
  2. Select System Preferences… from the menu.
  3. Open the Mouse category.
  4. Go to the Point & Click tab.
  5. Now make sure Secondary click is checked.
  6. To choose the side of click:
    1. Click the downward-pointed caret () or the highlighted text.
    2. Select Click on the right side for the right or Click on the left side for the left side.
  7. Close the System Preferences window.

(Tested with macOS Sierra 10.12; )

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Heinz Tschabitscher

Has been writing about email, communication and technology in an engaging and informative manner since 1997. Find out more.