IDG logo

Advertise with InfoWorld

SiteMap News Test Center Opinions Forums Careers Stock Quote Subject Indexes About Us Search Subscribe Home [Window Manager]

January 15, 1996

Use your new right mouse button in Win95; explore the Send To function

When people ask me, "Why should I switch to Windows 95? Windows 3.1 is fine," one answer that immediately comes to mind is the new power of the right mouse button.

After using Windows 95 for a while, I almost reversed my mouse buttons in the control panel, making the left button act like the right, and vice versa. The right mouse button has so many new features that I use it more than the left button sometimes.

Many of these features are most evident in the new Windows 95 Explorer and Desktop. Right-clicking almost any object in either place reveals a right-mouse button menu. This is called a context menu, because it changes based on the status of the item you clicked -- the type of file, for example.

The context menu may display actions such as Open, Copy, Paste, Delete, and the ever-present Properties (to see an item's settings, and so on).

Right-button features show up in some unexpected places, too. Windows 95-aware applications (such as the new WordPad) that use Microsoft's new "common dialog boxes" enable new functions within dialog boxes such as File Open. Right-click any file name in File Open, and you can Cut, Copy, Rename, and Delete -- features left out of many applications' File Open.

One of the least understood, and therefore most neglected, functions on the Win95 context menus is the Send To item.

When you install Win95, the Send To submenu displays only a few choices. You can Send a file to a diskette (such as the A: drive), a Fax Recipient (if you installed Windows' fax capabilities), and so on.

Most Windows users would benefit greatly from adding many more items to the Send To list. Once you understand the basic workings of this function, two or three mouse clicks will do things that would ordinarily require a lot of dragging and dropping.

What does Send To actually do? The act of Sending an object (a file, say) to a destination is exactly the same as dragging that object from the Explorer and dropping it on the destination's icon. Right-clicking an object, then clicking Send To and the destination, eliminates the need to see both sides of a drag- and-drop action.

A "destination" can be an application, a printer, the Desktop, a folder, even a drive on another computer you're networked to.

How do destinations get on the Send To list? The answer is that anything in the C:\Windows\SendTo folder becomes a destination. Rather than placing applications, printers, and so on, in this folder, you place shortcuts in the SendTo folder. One way to do this is to right-drag an application file name from its original folder and drop it on the SendTo folder. When a context menu pops up, click Create Shortcut Here.

It's a lot easier to add items to the Send To menu, however, if you make the SendTo folder itself a destination on the Send To menu. This way, you can right-click an application file, click Send To, and then click Send To Folder. The application will immediately show up on the list the next time you use Send To.

To put the SendTo folder on the Send To menu, first run the Explorer, click View, Options, and make sure Show All Files is on. Then select C:\Windows\SendTo in the left pane of an Explorer window.

Right-click any empty space in the right pane, then click New, Shortcut. Type C:\Windows\SendTo, click Next, type Send To Folder, then click Finish.

Good things to put on your Send To menu are Notepad, WordPad, your word processor, your unzip program, and so on. Folders are an exception to this method. "Sending" folders within the same drive actually moves them, instead of creating a shortcut.

You should use the usual right-drag method to create shortcuts in the SendTo folder to other folders.

Brian Livingston is the coauthor of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

Missed a column? Go back for more.

Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


Copyright © 2002. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. is a member of complies with the ASME guidelines with IDG extensions For New media.