Context Menus

Written by Kimberly Clark
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Context menus are a special type of popup menu that can be configured to appear in a Windows or web-based application. Developers generally insert context menus in their applications to make it easier for the user to perform common tasks. As with other popup menus, users can generally access the content menu by right-clicking on an icon or window.

Unlike standard popup menus, the list of options that appear on context menus can usually be customized to fit the particular circumstances or context under which the user is operating the application. For instance, if a user right-clicked on an item within an application, a special menu relevant to that particular item would be displayed. However, if another item is selected, a totally different context menu might appear.

The primary purpose of the context menu is to save the user time. This is accomplished by limiting the options available to the user and showing only those functions that are pertinent to the operation that they are trying to perform. In addition to saving the user time, context menus also limit the amount of extra work the user's wrist has to do.

Creating Customized Menus

To create customized context menus for their Windows or web-based applications, developers can attempt to modify one of the standard Microsoft popup menus. As an alternative, they might consider investing in a menu creating software product, which will allow them to easily build and insert context menus into their applications. Many of the products also provide the developer with the ability to add extra items to existing menus.

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