Right Click Off

I was neck deep in a bunch of WordPress theme files when my maintenance man called to ask me a Mac related question. Specifically he wanted to know how spell checking on the Mac worked 1 – I walked him through making sure the option to ‘check spelling as you type’ was on, but he was still confused. He couldn’t figure out what to do once the word was underlined in red, so I very plainly told him to just right click on the word and select the correct spelling.

…Silence

The next question that came from him: “How do you right click with this mouse?”

Now he is using a Magic mouse, I was pretty sure of this, but I confirmed. He said when he clicked on the right side of the mouse it just acts like a normal click. I instantly knew what was going on, he had not gone into System Preferences to turn on right click in the mouse preference pane. Twenty seconds later it was turned on and things made a lot more sense to him – he had just assumed you couldn’t right click on a Mac.

So too I assume do many other ‘new’ Mac users. Why in God’s name does Apple leave right click off by default on new Macs? It would seem to me that if Apple was really serious about making a Windows to Mac migration seamless that they would have that little option turned on by default.

There was a time – perhaps not long ago – that Mac users really had no use for the right mouse button. Today though we all right click on that damned squiggly red line to find out if the computer can really guess what we meant to type. In today’s world right click is ubiquitous and necessary. I understand the want to simplify the computing experience on Mac OS, and yes I know that you can Control-Click – for most users though not having right click on by default adds an unnecessary layer of confusion. Right click is so ubiquitous that for most not having it is more complicating that having it is.

So to all you new Mac users:

  • Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner.
  • Open ‘System Preferences’
  • On the second row down near the middle click ‘Mouse’
  • Under the ‘One Finger’ heading check the box next to ‘Secondary Click Right’
  • Close ‘System Preferences’
  • Enjoy
  1. He is brand new to Macs – 2nd week of ownership
Originally posted for members on: October 14, 2010
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