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: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=678836

  • It works wonderfully in my Windows virtual machine. Are you on Windows using Boot Camp?
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 12:56
  • 1
    Came here for TortoiseGit move operation in Boot Camp, similarly stuck!
    – Dunc
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 8:34

8 Answers 8


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.

  • 10
    I think it's ridiculous to suggest one to adopt a Mac OS X "lifestyle" while in a Windows environment. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 6:37
  • In 3D modelling, generally, the more types of click and drag at one's disposal, the better.
    – Andy
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 17:38
  • In certain cases the "Mac way" is not an option, and in fact has nothing to do with OS. 3D modelling and games have an established standard of "hold down right mouse button and drag" to rotate the camera. Some software adjust to OSX and provide an alternative. But in those cases that don't, it would be useful to have the ability to mimic. For example Option + 3 finger drag would be simple and great for those non-Mac aware software.
    – Amir Abiri
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 7:23

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?

  • 1
    The right-click shortcut on mac is just control-click. No shift necessary.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 22:10
  • 1
    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
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 23:49

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


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: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1720?locale=en_US but the URL can change, in that case - google for "Boot Camp Download 17 early 2011") and install the trackpad drivers only.


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.

  • The previous answers seem to suggest that it is possible. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 8:02
  • No they don't. Those answers apply to legacy models, before 2011, with physical trackpad buttons.
    – Szak1
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 8:40

Press and hold Alt (Option) and then use the 3-finger drag. While still pressing down Alt (Option) 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 Alt (Option) before you use the normal 1-finger click to select an option (or arrow keys to desired selection and pressing Enter on it).

  • 3
    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
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 18:30
  • I'm using Mac OS X 10.8.2, but on a Windows 7 machine via RDC.
    – adastragrl
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 19:31
  • My own answer no longer works at least on Max OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 and then using Citrix to get to my Windows 10 work machine. Instead of Ctrl+Shift, just the Alt (Option) key is necessary. I will update the answer.
    – adastragrl
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 13:34

For anyone who reaches this question due to Games (especially 3D strategy games) playing on mac - I was able to perform right click drag by:

  • Two fingers click - not tap, although I have two finger tap as right click enabled - I needed to actually do a click with two fingers.
  • Lift one finger and leave the other on the trackpad.
  • Drag around remaining finger - game picks it up as right click drag.

Tested with Stellaris.

Only took me 4 years to figure this out LOL! I wish game developers would realise this little hole and address it when they port games to MacOS (which I'm very appreciative of course! :) ) - a Cmd-drag or Option-Drag would be much preferable.

  • Are you talking about in MacOS? Or Windows? The original question was about Windows on a Mac (i.e. Bootcamp).
    – Mafuba
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 21:18
  • I’m aware. But the problem is that it’s among the top 3 results in Google for “Mac right click drag”. So for anyone searching for that in context of games on Mac, let them find the answer here.
    – Amir Abiri
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 1:06

i know this is an old thread, but I may have found an answer for you folks.

settings -> accessibility -> on the left menu, scroll to mouse/trackpad -> trackpad options -> Enable dragging (without drag lock)

hope that helps you guys

  • 1
    ...and how to combine that with right-clicking?
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 5:51

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