Contextual menus are menus called by user interaction that provide a set of commands related to the context of where the interaction takes place within the interface object. They offer only items that are applicable or relevant to the object or region at the location of the focus or the pointer.
A contextual menu appears when the user right-clicks an object, or focuses the object and presses Shift+F10.
- Provide a contextual menu for every object, selectable part, and text input target such as entry fields.
- Every item which is displayed in the contextual menu must also be provided in the menu.
- Provide accelerator keys for every item in the contextual menu (see Keyboard Accelerators).
- Avoid more than ten items in a contextual menu, and avoid submenus.
- Organize items in a contextual menu in the expected frequency-of-use order, considering the guidelines for grouping items. If existent, provide the double-click action for the object on the first position
To maximize their efficiency, contextual menus need to be as simple as possible. All relevant commands and settings must be transparent and identifiable at first glance. Therefore, the number must not exceed a certain limit, and submenus are not advisable.