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How to Right Click GMap on a Mac #4150
Back To Discussion List Written: 2014.01.12 by: Robin Tivy

I was talking to an important user (John Baldwin) trying to do a trip report on a Mac using GMap He has a Mac. We can't seem to get the GMap "right click" function to work on his Mac. As you may know, a Mac mouse only has one button, whereas a PC has both a left and right button. Many programs have functions that are triggered by "right clicking" the PC mouse button. For example, if you were in GMap and wanted to know the coordinates of a point on a PC, you would right click the mouse. This causes a yellow window to pop up which is titled "Coordinates for the point you clicked". You can then release the mouse button and the window stays up, thus allowing you to move the mouse into the window to "cut and paste" coordinates.

Draw and Save (on a PC)
 The way Draw and Save works on a PC is you bring up a GMap, then click the menu button in upper right corner and "Draw and Save". Then start clicking points, and a black circle with a red cross appears at each one. If you want to Edit a point, you move the mouse INTO the black circle of a given point and RIGHT CLICK. This brings up a menu on which the first item is "Edit This Point". You can then move the mouse into the menu window and click on "Edit This Point". That causes a window to pop up where you can put in a "Comment". What we want to do is the same thing on a Mac.

On a Mac, the standard method to "right click" is to push down the Ctrl key and then click the only mouse button. On John's computer, the menu appears just as it would on a PC, but when he releases the mouse button, the menu disappears! This is a problem because in order to edit a point in the "Draw and Save" function in GMap, he needs to be able to move the mouse in and click on a point that has popped up. He's using a Mac runing OS x 10 with Safari.

The Coordinates test: Start up a fresh GMap. Without using the Draw and Save, go to any old point, and Ctrl-click. He gets the coordinates menu, titled "Coordinates for the point you clicked". He can then release the mouse and control key and the coordinates menu box stays up. Furthermore he can move the mouse into the coordinates menu box and highlight the coordinates in a particular format. He can repeat this for several different points. But the mouse starts to "stick" to the map, thus scrolling the map as he moves the mouse. To unstick the map, he just has to click anywhere. And then he can repeat the whole sequence at a new point.


#1778 - 2014.01.27 Robin Tivy - Apple says do not use Ctrl-Click as Right Click
After days of testing and discussion with Apple reps here is my conclusion. If you want to do a right click, you should not try to substitute the old Ctrl-Left Click for a true right click. Instead, either enable your apple mouse for a true right click, or get a cheap Logitech mouse that has 2 buttons.

The problem with using Ctrl-Left Click is that it is a different mouse event, and many programs including Google Maps API handle it differently than a true right click. So if you are using Google maps, you need true "right clicks". This can be done in the following ways:

1. Buy a cheap $20 Logitech mouse that has both buttons
  2. Go into system preferences and enable your Apple mouse "Secondary Button" for the right side of the mouse. *1
  3. On a track pad, right click is two fingers

*1 Since 2005, Apple mice actually have a hidden right button. This started with the "Mighty Mouse" in 2005 and then continued with the present "Magic Mouse". The mouse itself looks like it only has one button, but there is hidden touch sensitive capacitive panel on the right hand side of the mouse. To get it to work, you have to change your system settings, it does not work by default. Here's what they told me: If you go into "System Settings" you will see a diagram of the mouse, with an arrow pointing to the right side. Assign that item to "Secondary Button" which is Apples name for right click.

For that right click button on a Mac - go to apple icon - system preferences - hardware - mouse - tick the box 'secondary click on right side'.

#1767 - 2014.01.14 Robin Tivy - Works perfectly on Mac OS X Version 10.6.8
I just phoned Macintosh expert Robert Ballantyne regarding the problem John was having. He has a Logitech mouse for his Mac, which has two buttons and a center scroll wheel, like a PC. I walked through all of the GMap functions with him. Everything worked perfectly with his mouse when he "right clicks".

But then we tested the method of clicking the control button and the left mouse button, which is what you do if you didn't have a right mouse button. It is supposed to work the same, but in fact, he had exactly the same problems as John Baldwin! Therefore, we learned that on a Mac, Control-Leftclick is NOT exactly the same as Right click! So somehow in the GMap java script, it is not doing the right thing for the Control - Left Click, but DOES do the right thing for a true right click.

Robert Ballantyne says that most Apple mouses now days actually HAVE a right button. It is hidden, so the mouse only looks like it has one button. But if you click on the right side of the mouse sure enough it is there!! But many Apple users don't know this, because the mouse itself does not clearly have two buttons. It is like many of the "intuitive" Apple features, which depend on hidden tricks. So now I'll check with John to see if his mouse has that hidden right button.

Robert also says that Apple these days is encouraging people to use a separate track pad instead of a mouse! In which case you can accomplish the functions with "gestures".

He also showed me how to download a simple "desktop sharing" program called Mikogo. Once both of us had it installed, either of us could see the other persons computer screen. So I was remotely working his Macintosh, and he could see what I was doing. This will be great for Bivouac support.

Bivouac policy is 100% support for Mac users, no matter how hard I have to work to get everything tested. If you are an experience Mac user, I'd love to know about you, so I can ask future questions sometime.