How to right-click on a Chromebook

New to Chromebooks? Here's how to right-click with the touchpad or keyboard

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Did you recently get a Chromebook? If you’re used to working on a Windows PC, you might have noticed a few changes and right-clicking is one of them. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to right-click on a Chromebook, you’re not alone. In this guide we’ll teach you how to do it in a few different ways.

We have provided several different methods of right-clicking based on what you want to do. Take a look at the options, and dive into the method that you think will be of the most use.

Method 1: Quick right-click

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

This is pretty easy if you’ve used an Apple or Windows touchpad in the past. Instead of tapping with one finger, tap on the pad with two fingers while hovering over the object you want to right-click. The touchpad will interpret your two fingers as a right-click and show the dropdown menu—or whatever else your right-click is supposed to unveil.

The key here is timing and position because your fingers need to tap down and rise back at the same time, or things can go a little screwy. If you’ve never tried to right-click like this before, it may take a little practice to get down (always make sure the touchpad is clean and dry, that makes a lot of difference).

Method 2: Right-click with the keyboard

If you really don’t like tapping on the touchpad, or are still in the learning stage and need a more reliable way to right-click while you master the pad, then try the keyboard method. Press down and hold the Alt key, and then tap the pad with one finger.

This acts just like a two-finger tap for right-clicking, but it may be more accurate and easier if you don’t have a finger to spare. This method can work well if you are already busy typing and your fingers are right there, so to speak — or if you are on the go and awkward positioning makes it easier to just Alt+Click rather than try two-finger tapping.

Method 3: Right-clicking to move objects

Lenovo Thinkpad-13 Chromebookiretag
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

This is a little more complicated. To move objects using the Chromebook touchpad, you can’t just hold down. You have to combine right and left clicks instead. First, tap the pad while hovering over the object, but keep your finger held lightly down on the pad. Then, with your second finger, tap down and move that second finger across the pad to move the object.

Here, your first finger is enabling the movement, your second finger is actually moving the object. The key is keeping one finger relatively still while moving the other, which does become intuitive in time. As with our first method, this may take a little practice, especially if you are still getting used to the sensitivity of the touchpad. The better Chromebooks have smoother touchpads that make this easier, but it may feel a bit off on cheaper models.

If in doubt, switch it off

Chromebooks allow you to change the touchpad settings, or shut the whole thing down if it’s bothering you. First, go to the “Settings” screen, which you can typically find in the same place as your network connections and battery life. The actual icons can vary a little depending on what brand manufactured the Chromebook, but it’s usually a cog or a wrench.

Once there, pause for a moment and note the slider that allows you to change touchpad speed. If you find the touchpad a little too twitchy, try turning the speed down and experimenting a little – this will also make clicking a bit easier. When finished, look for a button that says “Touchpad settings,” and choose it.

Chromebook Touchpad

Here you will see several options for changing clicks and scrolling. You can turn tap-to-click off entirely, which people usually do if their hands keep touching the touchpad when they are typing. If you’re getting angry at the touchpad in general, shut it down for a while – this may also make using a mouse easier.