Is it really possible to invoke a context menu using a keyboard shortcut instead of clicking the right/alt mouse button in OS X? In particular, I would like a menu-key-like feature in OS X. I am wondering whether there is an additional third party software that provides such feature.

Please not that the Mouse Keys feature is not an option as I don't want to depend on the position of the mouse cursor.

Similar Topics

  1. Keyboard Shortcut to Right Click in Mac OS X
  2. Right click using keyboard in Mac OS X
  3. Enable Right-Click on Mac OS X 10.7.5 by default
  4. Keyboard shortcut for spelling dropdown menu in OS X beyond Devonthink Pro?
  5. Add application to right click context menu on Mac OS X
  • For Finder (at least), a user has made a workflow for Alfred to do it successfully without requiring the mouse to hover over the current selected file/folder! I've tested it in Mavericks 10.9.4 and it works even on the Desktop, despite what people say on that Alfred thread. (that may be because I have XtraFinder installed, or because Apple fixed the bug in one of the recent Mavericks revisions) :). So just open the .alfredworkflow file, assign a hotkey to it, and away you go! – user78017 Jul 19 '14 at 2:02

After doing extensive research on this topic, I can confirm that there is no built-in mechanism that enables context menu either by direct shortcut or right mouse click simulation. This is due to technical limitations of the operating system, which prevents from determining coordinates of the current selection (e.g., selected element).

Fortunately, in some applications it is possible to use Apple Script to facilitate such action, but this is a strictly application-specific approach.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    How can it be they call the OS the most friendly but can't make some obvious expected things? – Sergei Basharov Sep 12 '14 at 21:19
  • Excellent question. I wish I could know then answer to this one... I think Apple does not bother because there is no 'magic' (specific) question to perform this action. – czerwin Sep 14 '14 at 11:58
  • 3
    Mac is NOT the most friendly O/S. Ask any keyboardist. It is hogwash. – javadba Oct 19 '14 at 15:47
  • 5
    I use a mouth stick, physically can't use a mouse. There's a few things I wish were there, but still OS X is leagues better than Windows, Gnome or KDE, trust me. – dazonic May 10 '15 at 6:25

While the contextual activation is lacking, in OS X you can activate and access the top menu bar using the keyboard, which will give you access to all of the commands in the contextual menu, and more


| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    Which doesn't help when the context menu is provided by an app inside another app, e.g. websites with custom context menus :/ – Pat May 13 '16 at 18:56

It appears that every post I can find online is either wrong or merely outdated.

In Catalina, you can use System preferences -> Accessibility --> Pointer Control --> Alternate Control methods --> check Enable alternate control methods.

You can reassign the shortcut by clicking on the corresponding options button.

| improve this answer | |
New contributor
OrthogoNull is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • Question reads: I don't want to depend on the position of the mouse cursor. – Forethinker 8 hours ago

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.