NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, July 2003
Right Click
Try It – You May Like It

by Les J. Kizer
Greater Tampa Bay PC User Group
Mid-Hudson Computer User Group
(click to email author)

My friends, there was a time long ago. It was way back in the early age as computer time is told. Even some of us old folks find it hard to recall; however, you know, for the children’s sake we need to remember history. It was a time before the ascent of the rodent.

In those prehistoric PC days, when we copied text from one place to another, we blocked the beginning of the copy or move by pressing ctrl-b. Then we would use the up and down arrow keys to go to the end of the block. Again we would press ctrl-b to define the end of the block. Eventually someone, who is long forgotten, highlighted the area from the beginning to the end of the block and told us the text was now selected, not blocked.

Unblocking was done with ctrl-o, which today will help you open a file. Ctrl-b now causes selected text to become bold, which in those dark days before the rodent invaded, I can’t remember having bold type at all.

Then while the text was blocked, or selected, we pressed ctrl-x for cut or ctrl-c for copy followed by using the up and down arrow keys to point to the place where we wanted the text inserted. Then press ctrl-v for paste. Ctrl-x, ctrl-c and ctrl-v still exist and are used by only the oldest among us.

When the rodent arrived and we plugged its tail into the PC, many advances came. The menu bar was enhanced buttons, and then the tool bar was added. Most application programs added rodent buttons for cut, copy and paste. With the index-finger pressing on the rodent’s hind quarter, selecting text was easier, and highlighted also. Moving the rodent to the cut or copy button followed by a flick of the index finger gave the command to be. Then sliding the somewhat tamed rodent to the location of the insert, a quick flick and then back to the paste button for another flick of the index finger. Progress! Ease of Use! Fabulous! And rodents become famous, heralded throughout the land.

That, though, is not the end of the rodent’s march to fame. For all this fame was obtained by pressing the rodent with only the left or index finger. What about pressing the rodent’s other hind quarter?

Silently, with great stealth, someone slipped in something new. It was done so quietly and without a fanfare, we are not even sure when it began to happen. It is called simply: right-click, as opposed to click.

Now we can select the text we want to cut or copy. Then without an arduous effort of guiding the rodent to the menu or tool bar, we simply right-click. Walla! A menu pops up on the spot giving us likely choices upon which to flick our index finger. Move the rodent to the insert point, and right-click again. The same or a modified menu pops up for us to flick our choice. Neat, and so effortless.

Today, we can right-click almost anything – desktop, icons, menu bars – or anywhere, and a small menu pops up containing the choices we are most likely to flick. Such is the added triumph of the rodent and right-click.

Is there any end to what we can accomplish simply by flicking a rodent’s hind quarter–one side or the other. Long live the rodent!

There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context, with proper credit given to the author. This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member.

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