How much do you use context menu key?

How much do you use context menu key?

heavily, it's a crucial key for my work
5
9%
sometimes, for specific editing work
2
4%
very rarely on special occasions
6
11%
I have it remapped to something else
6
11%
it's just a dust collector, I never use it
17
30%
I don't have it at all
20
36%
 
Total votes: 56

User avatar
paperWasp

23 Sep 2021, 21:48

I wonder if this key occupying space in the bottom row is completely useless these days or does it still make sense to have it on the keyboard? Only some programs can use it, many others ignore it completely.

User avatar
Palatino

23 Sep 2021, 22:06

I must be option 5 or 6, because I’m going to have to Google what the context menu key is.

User avatar
paperWasp

23 Sep 2021, 22:12

Image

User avatar
Palatino

23 Sep 2021, 22:29

5 for some keyboards, 6 for others then!

User avatar
Palatino

23 Sep 2021, 22:33

I do like the sound of your third option, though: “on special occasions”. Christmas, birthday, anniversary; the anticipation builds; I slowly extend my fortunate forefinger for this rarest of treats.

Lanrefni

23 Sep 2021, 22:38

It's not even present on my BFO-9000.

Findecanor

23 Sep 2021, 23:29

I have it mapped to Compose. This mapping is also the default under some Unix, and a proposed mapping in the USB HID standard.

It is pretty useful for typing — emdash, ← arrows ⇒ ½ fractions, æ ligatures, × the multiplication sign, ⋄ the Meta key diamond, among many other things. I ♥ this key.

If I had my way, I would make it standard on every keyboard, and add an interactive character picker that uses it to every OS, for selecting any unicode character including emoji (instead of adding a non-standard proprietary key to the keyboard).

Lucid

23 Sep 2021, 23:41

I use it in macros a lot for formatting, inserting fields, etc. in various windows programs such as word and Visio. However I don’t use the actual key directly and have it mapped to something else. Not sure what that falls under :)

Shorle

24 Sep 2021, 12:45

Findecanor wrote:
23 Sep 2021, 23:29
I have it mapped to Compose. This mapping is also the default under some Unix, and a proposed mapping in the USB HID standard.

It is pretty useful for typing — emdash, ← arrows ⇒ ½ fractions, æ ligatures, × the multiplication sign, ⋄ the Meta key diamond, among many other things. I ♥ this key.
That is a great idea, I'll try that instead of mapping a layer for those extra signs. I am quite used to using alt+numpad for some of them already though.

So far I have only pressed the key on accident while getting used to use the right windows key instead of left one.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

24 Sep 2021, 12:57

The question presupposes Windows, a platform I've not touched in decades. My first laptop had that key but I can't remember how I used it.

On the Mac, Option handles composition functions like œ∑´®†¥¨ˆøπ and all the rest. Option's one of the core modifier keys, and you get two of them for symmetry's convenience.

Few of my physical keyboards have the Context key. Most are too vintage, end of. The modern ones, like my Filco and NovaTouch, hijack that position themselves, for keyboard internal stuff: non-exposed Fn. Very annoying!* I want to decide what that key does, not the keyboard. The only one that gets it right is my Realforce 87u, which sends that key over USB as it should. I have it mapped to the host's Fn, which brings up the visual Character Viewer when pressed alone, or serves as an extra modifier when chorded.

So yeah, I guess I have it mapped to something else, when I'm on my Realforce, and don't have the key at all when I'm on literally everything else.

*The Filco MJ2 has an easily detachable controller, and I remember Bpiphany used to sell programmable replacements. It's only that one key which bothers me, though; as I can't get to it with Karabiner. I've dreamed of swapping out the Filco's controller for something with Bluetooth, too, but I never found anyone making that.

User avatar
vvp

24 Sep 2021, 19:19

Many people likely use it in text editors. I mostly use it in CAD. You can walk the transformation tree with arrows, open a local context menu with Menu key and select the desired action.
It is likely one can define shortcuts for everything in the local context menu but if you are new to some software it is nice to have the discover-ability provided by local context menu.
It is a useful key.

retrofitit

25 Sep 2021, 05:08

I use Linux, so all I need to do is right click on the desktop and I get the menu, the context menu is the same - a right click on the file (or whatever) and there it is, does not matter to me if there is a menu key on the keyboard or not.
I never even think about the menu key, maybe I should remap and repurpose it.
Last edited by retrofitit on 25 Sep 2021, 18:32, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
skorpionrazor

25 Sep 2021, 07:54

I only used it a few times when mouse wasn't plugged

User avatar
inmbolmie

25 Sep 2021, 11:50

When I was into gaming I used to rip it off the keyboard, as well as its cousin Windows keys. Now I only use vintage keyboards so it is less of a problem :mrgreen:

User avatar
Muirium
µ

25 Sep 2021, 11:53

Try gaming with an XT sometime. Last game I completed was on one! (2010s, not 1980s, mind…)

User avatar
paperWasp

25 Sep 2021, 17:35

What an interesting spread in answers!
Context menu key isn't just a Windows thing. Some Linux programs make use of it as well. Not sure about Macs.

My 'special occasions' (love the interpretation!) is something like renaming 5 or 10 files. Not so much for a batch rename using a special wildcard but too much for repeated shooting your hand to mouse and back. On that special occasion I remember that YouTube productivity guy telling us that leaving fingers on keyboard instead of using mouse can speed up our work.

User avatar
Bjerrk

25 Sep 2021, 18:28

Muirium wrote:
24 Sep 2021, 12:57
The question presupposes Windows, a platform I've not touched in decades. My first laptop had that key but I can't remember how I used it.
Not really. I've used Linux for the past 17 years and I use the key a lot. It saves me quite a bit of mousing around.

User avatar
hellothere

25 Sep 2021, 19:04

Well, if I go by percentage of keyboards I own, I don't have one. I just noticed that my Realforce R2, which is less than a year old, doesn't have a context menu key. On the keyboards I own that do have a context menu key, I don't use it.

User avatar
vvp

25 Sep 2021, 20:57

Opening context menus with Menu key is definitely quicker than using mouse. Of course, it is even quicker to define shortcuts for the most used actions ... if your application supports that.
And yes, I use it even in Linux, at least FreeCad works on linux and supports Menu key.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

25 Sep 2021, 23:11

paperWasp wrote:
25 Sep 2021, 17:35
Context menu key isn't just a Windows thing. Some Linux programs make use of it as well. Not sure about Macs.
It does nothing on the Mac. It's like Num Lock and gets ignored completely. Karabiner can see it, and remap it to something useful, but on a stock system there's no support for it at all.

I still prefer it to a hidden keyboard-internal Fn key, though. If the host can see it: I can remap it. Not so with those.
vvp wrote:
25 Sep 2021, 20:57
Opening context menus with Menu key is definitely quicker than using mouse.
That rings a bell, actually. I probably did use it in the late nineties when I was still on the PC and that key started showing up. It was a nice quick way to "just open a damn context menu, anywhere will do…"

I do that kind of thing with Control + F2 (or actually Control + 2 as I remapped it) on the Mac. Arrow keying your way around the menubar is often quite handy when you're heavily keyboard focussed like us. Also Control + F8 to get into the system menus on the right.

Command + ? is my favourite, mind. Immediate access to the menubar, with a search function highlighted, and you start typing the name of the command you're after. Hit Return and done, wherever it lives in the hierarchy.

User avatar
raoulduke-esq

25 Sep 2021, 23:20

Muirium wrote:
25 Sep 2021, 23:11
It's like Num Lock and gets ignored completely.
Num Lock is A/C in the calculator app on macOS.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

25 Sep 2021, 23:52

On Apple's own keyboards it's mapped as the mysterious / mostly useless third flavour of Delete, the "Clear" key: ⌧
Spoiler:
Image
Plug in a fullsize USB PC keyboard and, as far as I remember, it does bugger all. But I could be wrong. Mine are all smaller and/or vintage pre-USB.

Findecanor

26 Sep 2021, 01:05

Now we're going a bit off-topic, but anyway:
Muirium wrote:
25 Sep 2021, 23:52
On Apple's own keyboards it's mapped as the mysterious / mostly useless third flavour of Delete, the "Clear" key: ⌧

Plug in a fullsize USB PC keyboard and, as far as I remember, [Num Lock] does bugger all. But I could be wrong. Mine are all smaller and/or vintage pre-USB.
The same key "usage code" is listed in the USB HID spec as being "Num Lock" in Windows and "Clear" on Mac, so I'd think that a PC USB keyboard's Num Lock should work as Clear on Mac just fine.

BTW, a weird thing is that some more recent Microsoft keyboards have got a numpad-Clear key too beside the Num Lock key. On some, the Clear key is in that spot that Num Lock usually is found in.
I suppose Microsoft hired a designer that actually prefers Mac ...

There is actually a USB HID "usage code" especially for "Clear" (without being also Num Lock), but Microsoft Windows does not officially support it so I suspect that they are using a special driver and/or possibly a special report format for it.

User avatar
paperWasp

26 Sep 2021, 18:55

@Findecanor You mean this kind of mess? :roll:
Spoiler:
Image
While I like split keyboards - they're very comfortable, especially if you type longer texts - this is just insane!

Actually this model has a dedicated smiley key instead of the context menu key. Pressing Win [dot] every time must be too difficult and we need smileys probably more than spaces, don't we? :lol:
I don't know what's the symbol to the left from the smiley key. The context menu key is between left ctrl and win keys, as expected by 99.9% earthlings.

Findecanor

26 Sep 2021, 19:59

paperWasp wrote:
26 Sep 2021, 18:55
I don't know what's the symbol to the left from the smiley key.
That's an "Office key" (as a raised middle-finger to the anti-trust lawsuit back in the '90s ...)
It produces Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win at once, a combination which used to unofficially be called "Hyper" key on Windows, and officially still is the default Hyper mapping on Mac, even though very few programs use it.
The emoji key produces that combination + Space.
At least it doesn't produce a proprietary code, which is what the Fn/Emoji key on Mac does.
Last edited by Findecanor on 26 Sep 2021, 22:06, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
hellothere

26 Sep 2021, 22:01

FWIW, on the Mac side, I rarely use any modifier keys other than Command. The only real exception is Command + Option + Esc when a program's behaving badly. Of course, I'm discounting any of the troubleshooting keys you could use at startup.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

26 Sep 2021, 22:37

Put your cursor in the middle of some block of text.

Option plus arrow keys. Then add Shift to that. You just might change your mind.

Alt + cursor keys is pretty much why I write on computers!

User avatar
0100010

27 Sep 2021, 01:27

I use the menu key all day, everyday for work in Word, Excel, Powerpoint.

User avatar
hellothere

28 Sep 2021, 01:48

I was thinking about creating another thread, but I'll just mention the idea in here, instead.

* I've heard from multiple folks that they don't use Caps Lock. I use it all the time.
* I have no need or use for Pause or Scroll Lock.
* I don't use the up or down arrow keys.
* I very rarely use the Insert or Delete keys.
* I almost never use ~ although I do use `
* I don't use |

I'd like to see the = on the num pad. I'd also vote for a backspace key, a 00 key, and a currency key. Europeans might want a , key.

I'd like a degree ° key.

I wouldn't mind dedicated buttons labeled for Save, Copy, Cut, Delete, etc.

I'm currently typing on an OmniKey 102. It has three * keys. That just seems excessive. I understand why, though: wild key searches in DOS.

Findecanor

28 Sep 2021, 02:21

hellothere wrote:
28 Sep 2021, 01:48
Europeans might want a , key.
Numpads for European countries that use decimal comma instead of decimal point do have comma on the numpad instead of decimal point.

The Brazilian PC keyboard's numpad has decimal comma, but also a . key -- the numpad + key is split!
hellothere wrote:
28 Sep 2021, 01:48
I'd like a degree ° key.
It's on German layout, shift-^ . It's often called the "Stargate key" because together the two symbols become a symbol in the TV-show Stargate (which signifies Earth).
Swedish layout under Linux: Shift+Alt Gr+0
Compose O O

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”