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How do you perform a right-click-drag operation on Mac hardware? I know you can right click, but there does not seem to be a right click drag gesture. In my specific case I am using a MacBook Pro, and I am in a Windows environment.

The question is more than just theoretical. I ask because there is functionality that uses this gesture, at least in the Windows world. For example, right now I'm trying to do a copy and rename in the TortoiseSVN repository browser. I think there are things you can do with a right drag in graphical editors like Photoshop as well. In windows you get a context menu when you right drag files. For those familiar with the software, I know I can do it in other ways; I'm not looking for workarounds to specific problems.

I have tried this suggestion on the macrumors forums by Darth.Titan, but either have not been able to get it to work or do not understand what they are talking about:

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It works wonderfully in my Windows virtual machine. Are you on Windows using Boot Camp? – Daniel Beck Jun 2 '11 at 12:56

6 Answers 6

I have the same problem, and I believe that by definition it isn't possible. You initiate a right-click by tapping with two fingers. Then you start dragging those two fingers - but your fingers aren't moving exactly in the same direction, therefore the trackpad doesn't know which one to follow.

The solution could be two-finger clicking, then holding one finger and dragging, but this would break the "Tap to click" option.

With all that said, I think Apple decided to leave right-drag out of their Windows driver.

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The previous answers seem to suggest that it is possible. – Scott Nov 19 at 8:02
No they don't. Those answers apply to legacy models, before 2011, with physical trackpad buttons. – user2385823 Nov 20 at 8:40

Sometimes it helps to install the trackpad drivers from the OLDER bootcamp software version.

Find the boot-camp software for older macs (for instance, the "17' early 2011", can be found here: but the URL can change, in that case - google for "Boot Camp Download 17 early 2011") and install the trackpad drivers only.

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Although it is an older question but still I will like to answer as I have also the same problem while using right click drag, its generally used in Xcode for connecting storyboard IBOutlets and IBActions.

Press and hold control+command and then use 3 fingers drag to perform the task. NOTE: it will only work when you have enabled double finger tap for right click and three finger drag

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Press and hold Ctrl+Shift and then use the 3-finger drag. While still pressing down Ctrl+Shift and not letting go, lift your 3 fingers and then you'll see a right-click menu that shows the options like "Copy", "Move" and "Cancel". Let go of Ctrl+Shift before you use the normal 1-finger click to select an option (or arrow keys to desired selection and pressing Enter on it).

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What OS does this work on? I cannot get it to work on Mac OS X 10.8 nor a Windows 8 virtual machine. – Daniel Beck Oct 29 '12 at 18:30
I'm using Mac OS X 10.8.2, but on a Windows 7 machine via RDC. – adastragrl Oct 29 '12 at 19:31

CTRL-Click acts as right-click - does the same key modifier work for dragging?

Have Mac but not a Win environment on it, so can't verify.

I suppose a USB mouse is out of the question?

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The right-click shortcut on mac is just control-click. No shift necessary. – NReilingh Jan 6 '11 at 22:10
A USB mouse works fine. I am just interested in if there is a way to do it using purely Mac hardware. Control click does not work in a windows environment. You can use a two finger tap or click if you have a trackpad, or use the old school Shift+F10 after selecting something to bring up a context menu, but neither of these allow you to drag. – Mafuba Jan 7 '11 at 23:49

It is in your best interest to leave the shackles of your old platform behind you and embrace the "new" way. If you keep looking for ways to get OS X to behave like Windows, and remain in your Windows Comfort Zone, you will never be happy with OS X, and/or you'll end up going back to Windows, effectively "wasting" your money as so many anti-Mac pundits claim.

That said, you may explore the Trackpad preferences pane in System Prefs. There are options in there for multi-finger drags, selects, etc.

According to what Darth says, it sounds like he's doing a 3-finger drag. Again, its easier to accept the Mac convention and embrace the toolset provided on the platform, rather than trying to bend the conventions until they break by wanting it to behave like Windows.

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I think it's ridiculous to suggest one to adopt a Mac OS X "lifestyle" while in a Windows environment. – Dave Van den Eynde Apr 26 '13 at 6:37

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