SSMT #104: Make Sure the Trackpad’s Right-Click Function is Fully Enabled

by | Feb 9, 2023

I can practically guarantee you’ll click your heels every time your fingers dance over your trackpad after fully enabling its right-click functionality.

Why? Because fully enabled right-click functionality will save you one or more steps when you want to perform these and other actions:

  • Copy and paste the text
  • Initiate print jobs
  • Open, save, move, duplicate, or delete files
  • Create, move, rename, copy, or delete folders
  • Access properties to review, change, and apply settings
  • Open/close tabs and windows
  • Open contextual menus
  • Reopen the web pages you closed
  • Customize your view
  • Pin/unpin apps

For the record, your Mac lets you perform a right-click by using either the keyboard, a mouse, or the built-in trackpad.

To right-click using the keyboard, slide your finger across the trackpad to guide the cursor (or arrow) to your intended target object (folder, file, or icon), then press the “Control” key.

To right-click using a mouse, slide the mouse to guide the cursor to the object, hover over the object, then press the button on the right side of the mouse.

But the faster and easier way to right-click is by using the trackpad by itself. As before, you slide your finger across the trackpad to the target object, hover the cursor, and then tap anywhere on the trackpad with your index and middle fingers held together. This, by the way, is the default setting—but in case it’s not, here’s how to enable it:

1. Go to the Apple menu and open “System Settings”

2. Click on “Trackpad” 

3. Open the “Point & Click” tab (it’s the first one, so it should be already open after you click “Trackpad”)

3. Click the box labeled “Secondary click” (that’s Apple-speak for a right click)

4. Select the “Click with two fingers” option.

A lot of novice Mac users find it awkward to tap with two fingers, so Apple also lets you configure the trackpad to execute secondary clicks with just one finger tapped in either the lower left or lower right corner.

The steps:

1. In the “Secondary click” box (just below “Click with two fingers”) are options labeled “Click in the bottom right corner” and “Click in the bottom left corner.”

2. Select whichever one you prefer.

Ta-da! It’s that easy to set your trackpad up to work for you whether you are switching over from a PC, typically use a mouse, or have been utilizing a trackpad for years. Join me next time for more tips to optimize your Mac.