I’m frustrated

Windows keyboard Menu key equivalent on a Mac

I have Parallels Desktop for Mac 7 on OS X (Leopard...I grow tired of the animal names) on an iMac 21.5". The Windows menu key of course is missing on the Mac keyboard. I find it useful instead of right-clicking to get the so-called secondary or contextual menu to appear on a word to look up synonyms in a list. What is the Mac key or keystroke combination equivalent to access the menu? From my searching, this question has never been adequately answered in Mac expert forums.
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  • Hi David,

    To make the contextual menu to pop up on a Mac without right clicking, you can hold the control key while clicking, and that will bring up the contextual menu.

    I hope that helps,
    Chris Olson
    O'Reilly Book Support
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  • I’m anxious to find...
    David Czuba, if I understand you correctly, you're looking for a way to simulate the Windows `menu key` which on most Windows keyboards appears to the right of the space bar along with the Alt and Ctrl keys.

    I'm looking for it too. For keyboard convenience it might be my favourite Windows innovation. It provides the equivalent of the mouse right-click, but without requiring the use of the mouse. The contextual menu it elicits depends on whatever text or graphic object is currently selected.

    Naturally it's appreciated by keyboard-centric users. But it's particularly useful when you've already selected something and now your mouse pointer is elsewhere on the screen: if it's already selected, you shouldn't have to point at it again, right? With the menu key, you don't have to.

    Parallels ~really~ should provide a key-combo that simulates this. But I'm also looking for an OS X utility that provides it. Fingers crossed.
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  • David, for use under Parallels I have found this:
    http://davidtse916.wordpress.com/2008...
    ...see Okta's entry near the bottom. His link to the application is incorrect because of the aspx extension. It should be...
    http://www.inchwest.com/mapkeyboard

    I have not tried it — I'm not using Parallels very much these days. My interest is in finding an OS X utility that simulates the menu key.
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  • Hi John,
    Thanks for your efforts. I'm sorry, but these solutions do not substitute for the Windows "application key". As a postsecondary teacher who just graded finals papers this morning, Okta's entry was worse than my lowest expectations.
    However, you have refreshed my thinking. Since I have a Windows keyboard, I will plug it in and try to extract the keycode when the "shortcut list" or "menu" key is pressed (I have found it referred to in many different terms), then replicate that code in a Mac key sequence. I'll let you know what I discover. Thanks again.
    David
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  • David, you have considerably more expertise than me, it seems. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
    Are you hoping to achieve menu-key functionality under OS X native as well as under Parallels, or just the latter?
    (btw, I like `menu key` because it matches the key icon, and it's shorter to type :)
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  • I’m thankful
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    I placed a support request with Parallels on the subject of Windows keyboard application key mapping and finally received a reply I can live with. Under Parallels -> Preferences, select the Keyboard tab and add a new key (+) to map Apple keyboard strokes to Windows. In the drop-down list of keys to map there appears, magically, the menu key. Problem solved.
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  • 1
    I know this is a bit late but will help other users. Press Shift-F10. It does the same thing in most Windows applications which is useful if you're running Windows on a machine with a Mac keyboard. Microsoft has a huge list of XP keyboard shortcuts and equivalents on their site. Search for "Keyboard shortcuts for Windows". Also, "Keyboard mappings using a PC keyboard on a Macintosh" is a useful KB article if you find yourself in the opposite situation which you probably will if you run a mixed shop. Good luck!

    Another useful one is Alt-F6. This switches between windows of the same application and doesn't require binding Alt-Tab inside the virtualized machine or remote desktop.
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  • 1
    Two years later I bump into this topic again, and it stimulated me to have another look, because what I want has nothing to do with Parallels, or using Windows with a Mac keyboard, or using a Mac with a Windows keyboard. What I want is, when I'm on my MacBook Pro its with built-in keyboard, I want a key combo that does what the Windows “Menu Key” does: whatever the current selection is — be it text or an object — tapping the Menu Key makes a context menu pop up over that selection. It's brilliant, because it means you don't have to move your mouse back to right-click on something that's already selected.

    Here's what I discovered today: when you turn on "Mouse Keys" (Sys Prefs > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad) the eight keys surrounding the letter I control mouse movement, and the letter I itself becomes the mouse-click. (I know, awesome!) And what does Ctrl-I do? It becomes the right-click, of course. Which I find very cool.

    (Here's the Apple support page with the details and a nice diagram: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH14235?v...)

    This is tantalizingly close to what I’m looking for, but no help to me at all, because turning on Mouse Keys otherwise disables the keyboard (other than those 9 keys for moving and clicking). But it's interesting to know that a keyboard trigger for the right-click is even possible. Does anybody have the expertise to bind that trigger to a mod-key combo while keeping the keyboard enabled?
    • Wow, your comment exactly describes my problem and what i was looking for!
      John, have you found any possible solutions yet? (except the one you're describing)
      Subscribing to this thread)
      Also, more than two-year history of this thread doesn't make me feel like this problem may have any coming solutions(
    • David Czuba mentioned "extracting the keycode when the ‘shortcut list‘ or ‘menu‘ key is pressed" but I've never figured out how to do that, or how to bind a key combo to a keycode. Because then I could get the Ctrl-I keycode with mouse keys turned on and use it.
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  • I think I have found the solution!!

    Put the blinking thing in Microsoft Word onto the text that needs correction. Then, hold the 'fn' + 'Shift' keys, and press F10. This will bring up the context menu you are looking for!

    No more need to move the mouse to the offending text, to right click on it.

    For me, this has just made my 4-years-old Macbook Pro far more useable! I hope it helps you too!
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  • Thanks, Sohaib. Just as an added note to that, the key combination is either fn+shift+f10 or just shift+f10, depending on a checkbox that appears in System Preferences / Keyboard: The option is "Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys". If it's CHECKED, then shift+f10 works. If it's NOT checked, you need fn+shift+f10.

    This is the second time in this thread that shift-F10 has been suggested as a solution to the need for Menu Key functionality on the Mac. Unfortunately, it works only in MS Office applications. I'm looking for a system-wide solution.
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