How to add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10

How to add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10

The context menu opens when you click with the right mouse button. It works everywhere, like desktop, browser, and apps. Some keyboards come with a dedicated key to launch the context menu. For everyone, you can now add a context menu keyboard shortcut on your Windows 10 computer.


Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10

We’re going to be using a free and open source keyboard button remapper. I’m talking about PowerToys. It was developed in-house by Microsoft and comes with a lot of cool features. One of them is the ability to assign a custom function to any key by remapping it.

Let’s start.

What is PowerToys

PowerToys debuted with Windows 95 and has always enjoyed being one of those background players. A set of free utility tools that gave power users more control over lesser-known Windows features and how they worked. Microsoft continued to refine PowerToys, adding and removing features until XP. We all know what a Vista disaster was, and PowerToys hasn’t received support for that either.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 7

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 7

Things changed with the launch of Windows 10, where Microsoft finally managed to do a lot. One of the decisions was to make PowerToys open-source for independent developers to work on. The code is available in the GitHub repository (link below), and it comes with new and old tools. One of them is the ability to easily remap keys. Some other notable features are:

  • Color picker: click anywhere on an image / app to find the hex code for the color
  • FancyZones: divide the desktop into zones to resize and organize open windows
  • Image Resizer: Quickly resize images on the fly from the context menu shortcut
  • Keyboard Manager: remap keyboard keys to new shortcuts
  • PowerRename: Bulk rename files using find and replace
  • PowerToys Run: an advanced search bar shortcut that works everywhere
  • Windows keyboard shortcuts guide: view all keyboard shortcuts for Windows at a glance

You can see how powerful these tools are and they keep adding new ones. There were only 2-3 features available when it was first launched, a must have for all Windows users.

How to remap keys to add a context menu button

You can download the PowerToys app from the link above, if you haven’t already.

Step 1: Launch the application from the Start menu or the notification area.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 1

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 1

2nd step: Select the Keyboard Manager option in the left sidebar and activate the Enable Keyboard Manager button. Click Remap Key to begin the process.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 2

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 2

Step 3: Click the plus icon to add a new key. You can remap as many keys as you want.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 3

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 3

Step 4: In the pop-up window that follows, you’ll choose the key you want to remap from the drop-down menu on the left, and on the right, you’ll select whatever you want it remapped to. For example, I don’t use the scroll lock button. So I can remap it in the context menu, which is the Applications / Menu option. You can also use key combinations like Alt + A but in the Remap shortcut box. Useful if you are not sure which existing shortcut to remap. Just create a new shortcut.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 4

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 4

Step 5: Click OK at the top to save the settings and you will receive a notification. Click Continue Anyway.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 5

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 5

You’re done and can test the newly remapped key or key combination to see if the context menu launches or not. It should work everywhere like on desktop, browser, etc. Just like a physical context menu key works.

Fun fact: The notification area to the right of the taskbar that houses the clock, Wi-Fi icon, and other app shortcuts is not called the system tray as it is widely believed by users. It’s just a notification area that sits on the taskbar.

How to delete a remapped key in PowerToys

You will follow the same steps as above to reach the Keyboard Manager area, which are Steps 1 and 2. Notice a delete icon next to each remapped hotkey? Click on it and confirm if you are prompted to remove it. The shortcut will no longer work and you can always create or recreate the same shortcut again if needed.

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 6

Add context menu keyboard shortcut in Windows 10 6

Hidden keyboard shortcut for context menu

Here’s a bonus tip that may or may not work for you, depending on the keyboard layout and model you have. In my case, it worked in Edge and Chrome outside of the office but not in Firefox for some reason. This means that it also doesn’t work on all apps, but works in most places.

Press Shift + F10 or Ctrl + Shift + F10 on the keyboard to launch the context menu anywhere on your Windows 10 computer. It works in most areas, but I already have an external keyboard with an icon of dedicated context menu. Try it now.

Menu of the day

PowerToys is incredibly powerful and comes with so many useful tools under its belt. The list only grows as developers continue to add more utility to the app. The Keyboard Remapping Tool is just one of them, and imagine what you can do with that alone.

And there’s the Remap Shortcuts option which we haven’t even explored, but which will let you tweak keyboard shortcuts more as you like. I suggest you play around with it for a while to see how it works. You can always delete them if you don’t like how it works.

Then:

Did you know that you can also remap Android hardware buttons as you like? Click on the link below to learn how to change the volume and power button functions right now.

Last updated on Nov 10, 2020

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