The Windows Right-Click Context Menu There is a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that are available for the visually impaired to utilize on a Windows operating system; unfortunately the sheer amount of shortcuts available can be overwhelming and virtually impossible to remember in its entirety unless one has been gifted with an exceptional memory recall (unlikely, particularly in my own case). In addition, some keyboard shortcuts may not conform,behave or even exist in a particular context, as a fellow blogger has noted regarding the use of the menu key in the “Using the Applications Key… With or Without the Key! “ It is likely that most teachers who teach technology and computer use have encountered the formidable challenge of culling the most effective and useful shortcuts for their visually impaired students’ use and then sometimes finding that the shortcut doesn’t work as advertised in a particular software application environment, for example MS Access (very screen reader unfriendly). Fortunately, there is a simple Windows universal keyboard shortcut solution for accessing a context menu (context meaning, of course, those options specific to a particular application and/or file) on a Windows machine that emulates right-clicking the mouse and readily accommodates a screen reader. The shortcut, for those who have not discovered it, is Shift-F10. As a novice teacher of the visually impaired, I spent countless hours researching, cataloging and testing keyboard shortcuts and it was months before I discovered the right click context shortcut, Shift-F10. Knowledge of this shortcut would have saved me and my students countless moments of frustration. Navigation through the right click context menu is accomplished by using the arrow keys and the “Enter” key to select one’s choice. This simple shortcut equalizes the playing field for the visually impaired and enables the ability to navigate the Windows operating system as well as a sighted person.
The right click context menu can be customized, but this either requires editing the registry (not recommended for the vast majority of students) or the use of a third party app, but the testing of the usefulness and safety of such applications exceeds the scope of this particular blog post.
A caveat: Apple operating systems, particularly on Macs, do not apparently enable a default right click context shortcut and this must be accomplished with customizations and/or external apps.
By George Thompson