How do I right-click on a touch-screen tablet?
Q: I have a new Windows tablet PC, but I’ve always used Apple computers until now.
Now I want to transfer a large number of files from my Mac to my tablet PC using a flash drive.
I have several questions, but to let you know the extent of my ‘dummy-ness’, what is a ‘right click’?
My tablet uses a stylus (also a virtual keyboard which I don’t know how to use), and no mouse.
A: First, welcome to the world of Windows tablets. Many more of you will join the party when the tablet-friendly Windows 8 becomes mainstream.
As you’ve noticed, Apple hasn’t embraced right-clicking as much as Windows.
All Windows mice, by contrast, come with at least two buttons. Click something with the handy right-mouse button, and a list appears showing everything you can do with that particular item — a handy trick when navigating uncharted seas.
Although tablets traditionally use finger controls, the trusty right-click menu hasn’t disappeared.
To right-click an item on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 tablet, follow these two simple steps:
- Touch the item with your finger or stylus, and keep the finger or stylus pressed down gently. In a moment, a square or circle will appear, shown in the top, left figure.
- Lift your finger or stylus, and the right-click menu appears, listing all the things you can do with that item.
In this case, it’s the Recycle Bin, shown to the right in the figure above.
If you’re using a Surface tablet with a snap-on cover, you can use the trackpad to position the arrow over the item you want to right-click; then tap both fingers down on the trackpad. The right-click menu appears.
Since you’re copying files from one computer to another, here’s how you’ll copy the items from your flash drive to your Windows tablet:
- On the tablet, select the files or folders you want copied from the flash drive.
- Right-click the selected items.
- Choose Copy from the right-click menu.
- Right-click inside folder where you want to put the items.
- Choose Paste from the right-click menu.
If finger controls become awkward — and they will, when you’re working on the Windows desktop — most tablets support Bluetooth, a way of connecting gadgets without wires. To speed things up, I picked up a cheap Bluetooth keyboard from Amazon. And I love my portable Bluetooth Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse; like all Windows mice, it sports two mouse buttons, making right-clicking that much easier. (It even has a scroll wheel.)
When you’re at your desk, that extra keyboard and/or mouse will turn your tablet into a full-fledged PC.
One more thing: Check your stylus; on some of the more expensive tablets, the stylus has a button on its side. Pushing the button while pointing at an item also fetches the right-click menu. That’s the same menu you see when you click a mouse’s right button on a Windows computer.
For more information about Microsoft’s Surface tablet, buy my book, Surface For Dummies, 2nd Edition, available on Amazon.