Contextual Menu

What Does Contextual Menu Mean?

A contextual menu is a graphical user interface menu that appears on user interactions such as right-mouse clicks or middle-click mouse operation. This menu only offers a limited set of choices based on the application’s current state. The choices available are related to the object that has been selected.


Contextual menus are also referred to as context, shortcut or pop-up menus.

Techopedia Explains Contextual Menu

Contextual menus provide access to actions that pertain to specific items in the user interface. They act much like left-mouse-button clicks, and operations are offered according to the user’s choices.

Contextual menus are opened when users interact with their interface, and they target a region of the graphical user interface that supports context menus. On computers running on Windows or Unix, context menus are opened by clicking a secondary mouse button. In systems that support a one-button mouse, context menus are opened by pressing and holding that primary button. In certain scenarios, context menus are hierarchically organized, allowing navigation through different levels of the structure.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.