Meet the Other Mouse Button

by Kendall Callas

When you first started learning Windows, you probably learned pretty easily how to use the left button on your mouse or trackball. Point and click, as they say. But there is even more power in getting to know that other button, the right mouse button.

In essence, when you right click on a screen element, you're asking the question “How can I change you?” (Don't you wish this worked on your spouse?) This powerful feature works in all Windows programs. Let me show you how useful it can be in all versions of WordPerfect for Windows. (The QuickMenus shown are from WordPerfect 10.)

[QuickMenu - commands available within the margins of the document]

Right Click for QuickMenu

When you right click, a “QuickMenu” pops up offering a set of commands useful in your current situation. More sophisticated than its left brother, the right mouse button is context sensitive — it knows what you're pointing at. And that's key to using it effectively: Point first, at these screen elements:

Within the Margins of Your Document

Right click within the body of your document for help working with text: align text (center, flush right, indent), paste text you previously copied, change font, insert a symbol, turn on spell check, toggle Reveal Codes. Right click on a misspelled word (indicated with red underlining) to replace it with a likely option or add it to your dictionary.

[QuickMenu - commands available in the left margin of the document]

In the Left Margin of Your Document

Right click in the left margin (just left of the text you wish to work on) for help selecting logical sections of text (sentence, paragraph, page, all), setting margins, or inserting a comment.

[QuickMenu - commands available pointing to a toolbar]

On a Toolbar

Aim at a toolbar and right click to change it. As an example, here are the steps to add an envelope button: Choose “Edit” near the bottom, then left click the down arrow to the right of “File” in the Feature categories pick list and change it to “Format”, scroll down through the Features list and select “Envelope ...”, click the button at upper right labeled “Add Button“ and you'll see a little envelope icon added at the right edge of the toolbar. Click OK to finish.

On the Application Bar

[QuickMenu - commands available pointing to the Status/Application Bar]

You may not have been introduced before, but the “Application Bar” is the bottom-most row of the WordPerfect screen, and includes the cursor location indicator [Pg 1 Ln 3.36" Pos 5.5"]. (It was called the “Status Bar” in WP version 7 and prior.) As an example, here are the steps to add a button for today's date: Aim at the bottom row and right click. (If you don't see “Hide Application Bar” at the top of the pop-up menu, you missed it!) Choose “Settings” at bottom (“Preferences” in WP 6.x and 7), then find “Date” in the large white list of elements that can be added to the bar, left click in the box at left of “Date” to checkmark it. Notice the little calendar page icon added to the very bottom right corner of your screen — double click it to make it readable. Finish with OK and you've got a permanent Date button that's quite useful: you'll never again mistake the date, and you never again need to type it, just click the button to insert today's date (as text) at the cursor position. (Double click in WP 6.x and 7.) Fabulous!

Pointing to a File in the FileOpen Screen

[QuickMenu - commands available at the FileOpen Screen, pointing to a file]

When you right click on a file in the FileOpen screen, the QuickMenu that pops up offers a convenient set of file manipulation commands, including open, print, delete, rename, and cut/copy (for later paste). “Properties”, at the bottom of the QuickMenu, can be used to set a file as Read-only — useful in protecting forms and key documents.

Send To

After right clicking on a file in the FileOpen screen click “Send To” for some very useful features. Click “Send To” then “Floppy” for an easy way to copy a file to diskette. Click “Send To” then “Mail Recipient” to send a copy of the file as an e-mail attachment; wait a moment for your e-mail software to come up, then you'll be able to fill-in the addressee and type a message. (“Send To” is available in WP version 7 and later.)

(Many Send To commands may be performed on a single file, or on a group of files — use Ctrl+Click or Shift+Click to select multiple files.)

Pointing to White Space in the FileOpen Screen

[QuickMenu - commands available at the FileOpen Screen, not pointing to a file]

By not pointing to a file, you're signaling a need other than file manipulation. So, point into the white space when you right click, and you'll get the other set of FileOpen commands: Change the “View” to see more details, “Paste” a file you previously cut or copied, or create a “New” folder branching from this one.

Experiment a bit and you'll learn that the right mouse button is a very useful tool that will help you manipulate the screen element you click on.

Copyright (C) 2002 by microCounsel. All rights reserved.

[ Home Page | Articles List | Top of this article ]