I really like the two-button mouse. And even though Apple has yet to offer their own, Mac OS X does a great job of supporting right-clicking mice by other folks.
So what’s the big deal about right-clicking? Ah … contexual menus. What a joy! In case you haven’t wandered into these waters, the contextual menu is what appears when you right-click on a two-button mouse, or for single-button mice users, hold down the ctrl key while clicking. These menus are called contextual because what you see listed depends on where you are when you click. You’ll get a different menu in Safari than when you right-click in the Finder.
Mac OS X includes some nifty features in its default contextual menus. One of my favorites is the Open With command that allows me to open a file with a different application than what I’ve set in my system preferences. Maybe I don’t want to load Photoshop right now, and would rather use Preview to look at that Jpeg. Open With easily allows that.
But independent developers have also been busy scratching their own itches by building contextual menu plug-ins, and I want to share my three current favorites.
- GrimRipperCM 1.3.2 — Tired of looking like a dope when you send Jpegs to your Windows friends? You send one file, but Windows users receive two and have to guess which one is the picture, and which one is the stupid resource file. GrimRipper lets your right-click on a file and remove its resource fork. Nice.
- PicturePopCM 1.0 — Maybe you just want to see what “IMG_1579.jpg” is without opening Photoshop, or any other application for that matter. Simply right-click on the file, select PicturePop from the contextual menu, and the image appears on your screen. Now that’s convenient. And you even get some metadata.
- MP3-Info CMM 1.1.1 — Speaking of metadata, Norbert Doerner of CDFinder fame, offers a slick little contextual menu plug-in that lets you see the metadata for your MP3 files right there in the Finder. This is very helpful when you’re moving lots of MP3s around on your Mac.
And the best part … all of these helpful plug-ins are free. You can download them right now and start playing.
If you’re interested in creating your own gems, then take a look at Contextual Menu Workshop 1.3.1, which is a free framework for creating Contextual Menu plug-ins for Mac OS X. It’s also free.
That’s why I like the two-button mouse. Even though I could hold down the ctrl key and get the same results, right-clicking is faster. And besides, I need my left had to hold my coffee cup.
If you have a cool CM plug-in you’d like people to know about, post it here.