I use the ctrl button to emulate the right-click in OS X on my MacBook with an integrated trackpad.

When I connect to a windows computer with Remote Desktop I do not get to use the ctrl button in the same way.

Is there a way to configure this to get right click from the trackpad?

  • 1
    What hardware are you using to generate mouse clicks on OS X? I believe support for contextual menus was added by Apple about 20 years ago so I'm scratching my head to think that any software wouldn't support it by now.
    – bmike
    Oct 11, 2015 at 16:07
  • Well, I was using the trackpad of my MacBook Pro. Remote Desktop takes over the ctrl key on my keyboard, so I cannot use the ctrl key as I normally would do within OS X. Oct 11, 2015 at 18:16
  • I've edited that information in to the main post so that people can see it - comments do get deleted and hidden based on how old/many/bad they are. These aren't bad, but I don't want to lose that important part down the line.
    – bmike
    Oct 11, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    Please don't think me a sore loser, but how is the accepted answer better than my answer, which not only gives alternatives for 3 input methods, but also describes how to activate them....
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 11, 2015 at 18:24
  • 1
    at JoachimBratteli & @bmike - thank you both, for kind & rational explanations. [ 'at' is for system limitation on notifications using @ ]
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 11, 2015 at 18:55

6 Answers 6


Actually I use RDP from a Mac all the time to Windows servers. The right-click can be simulated with a two finger tap on a track pad. The same behaviour works from a magic mouse and magic track pad.

  • 1
    Worked! I probably should learn some more gestures for the trackpad, as I've been doing it "wrong" for a long time. Oct 11, 2015 at 19:59
  • Thanks so much! I can't believe I've been using Ctrl-Click on the Mac instead of 2-finger tap!!
    – Hampden123
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:30
  • 2
    it should be mentioned that this must be enabled in Systems Preference -> Trackpad -> Point and Click.
    – Michael
    Dec 19, 2018 at 23:22
  • 1
    2020 / middle of covid-19 pandemic / still works; lifesaver :) Mar 19, 2020 at 7:27
  • Doesn't work, no effect
    – Dims
    Apr 12, 2021 at 20:49

RDP isn't really configurable in any real way.
Your only option is to actually send it a right click. Windows doesn't have any ctrl/click alternative, even with direct access.

From Remote Desktop Client on Mac: FAQ

Alternative hardware input methods & activation details :-

  • Standard PC two button USB mouse
  • Apple Magic Mouse: To enable right-click, click System Preferences in the dock, click Mouse, and then enable Secondary click.
  • Apple Magic Trackpad or MacBook Trackpad: To enable right-click, click System Preferences in the dock, click Mouse, and then enable Secondary click.
  • 2
    In my case I should just have used the Secondary Click using two finger tap, as it has been configured like that all the time without my knowledge. Thanks for linking to an informative page about the Remote Desktop client @tetsujin Oct 11, 2015 at 20:05
  • So if you just have an ordinary one-button apple mouse you are hosed, huh? Jun 28, 2017 at 16:30
  • @JohnHascall - Macs haven't had a one-button mouse since about 2001....
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 28, 2017 at 17:23
  • You exaggerate considerably. Magic Mouse wasn't even introduced until 2009 Jun 28, 2017 at 21:58
  • @JohnHascall - tbh, I'm struggling to remember, as I don't actually use the Apple ones much... I had a 3-button [ADB logitech?] in the mid 90's, no scroll-wheel in those days. My Bondi iMac's hockey-puck went in the drawer after 2 days, same with every variation of 'magic' mouse ever since. I'm still on Logitechs, but these days the 8-button MX518.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 29, 2017 at 6:09

I needed to make right button mouse clicks work on a Windows 7 VM accessed from the Microsoft Remote Desktop app on my Mac running MacOS Sierra with an Apple Magic Mouse.

Going to "System Preferences..." on the Mac, selecting "Mouse", ticking/checking "Secondary click" and selecting "Click on right side" did the try for me.

Then when I accessed my Windows VM, clicking once on the right side of the mouse enabled the pop-up menu I needed to access.

  • 1
    I agree that this would be an answer if the question were about a magic mouse. For the trackpad you have a similar configuration under "System Preferences..." -> "Trackpad". The default setup seems to be "Click with two fingers" to obtain "Secondary Click" on the trackpad. It may be that the question raised in the title "How to emulate mouse right-click in Microsoft Remote Desktop?" should have stated that it is about the trackpad. Jan 9, 2017 at 14:23

The context key, aka menu key, should be the same as right clicking where the text caret is. Shift-F10 should be the same as the context key.

  • Mac doesn't have a Context/Menu Key. Did you actually test any of this... from a Mac?
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 11, 2015 at 19:23
  • This might have been a solution if the Shift-F10 did emulate the context key in Windows from my MacBook Pro and the pointer position would have been taken into consideration. It does not on both points. On my MacBook Pro Shift-Fn-F10 works to call the context menu function. Still; The context menu function on Windows is designed to get the context menu on the current selection, and not were the mouse pointer is located, as a right-click would do. Dec 2, 2015 at 13:18
  • Man, this doesn't really answer this question, but it's the information I was looking for!
    – Owen
    Oct 19, 2020 at 17:25

Though this is old, this issue just hit me but I was not getting satisfactory results with the trackpad changes mentioned above. However, I was able to get something that works well for me using Keyboard Maestro. I created two new macros and restricted them to run only when Microsoft Remote Desktop application is active. Both macros use the "Move or Click Mouse" action, one set to emit "center button" and another set to emit "right button". For the macro trigger, I use "This device key" set to "Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad Button 1" with modifiers set to "^" (Control) to trigger the right mouse button event, and "⌥" (option) to trigger the middle button event.

Send Right Mouse Button


honestly, I got a cheap USB mouse for windows compatible with mac - I have not had any issues with remote desktops since. If it's stupid and it works...

  • Yes, a mouse would of course do the trick when you have the possibility to use one. I still think there are a few scenarios were you would not have the option of using a mouse, and would like to use the trackpad insted. One would be when you do not have a table or similar to roll the mouse on. Aug 21, 2020 at 11:52

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