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  1. Computer Skills
  2. OS X
Computers

Quick Tip: Remove Services From Your Secondary-Click Menu

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When you first get your Mac, everything is clean. Unlike a Windows PC, there’s no promotional software to remove and the system works without hesitation. However, once you start installing apps, things can sometimes get messy. One area that becomes populated with too many little options is the secondary-click menu.

By default, you can select text and secondary click it to perform a number of actions, like copy and paste, speech preferences, or even sharing. When you install third-party apps, though, this menu can become populated with extra options for them to use. If you want to clean things up, here’s a quick guide.


Step 1: Identify the Unwanted Items

Services like Share with Droplr can become annoying and are often superfluous.

Services like Share with Droplr can become annoying and are often superfluous.

Use your secondary-click menu a bit. Browse Safari and use it for images and text. Notice the last section of items on it, set apart from the others by a horizontal rule (a thin line). Anything at the bottom of your secondary-click menu has been put there by a third-party app; all other items are from the system. So, use the menu a bit and figure out what you don’t want to have on it. Or, you may already have an everyday annoyance. Either way, you can remove system items or application-specific ones so don’t be limited in your thinking.


Step 2: Open System Preferences and Navigate to the Keyboard Pane

The Services section of the Keyboard pane.
The Services section of the Keyboard pane.

To switch off these mischievous menu items, head to the Keyboard pane of System Preferences, then select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Here you will find all sorts of ways to access things quickly on your Mac, including handy Application Shortcuts, which we looked at in a previous article. This time you want to use the Services section.


Step 3: Disable the Services

Removing a service is one click away.

Removing a service is one click away.

The Services section contains nearly every secondary-click option your Mac offers (copy, paste, and other vital system functions are not to be tampered with, ergo they are not available here). The ones that are checked are currently enabled. You can uncheck anything to remove it from your secondary-click menu. Since there’s no search, you’ll have to scroll up and down a few times and look through the sections to find the application-specific services. One you have, simply uncheck them.

Tip: Don’t worry about switching off the wrong menu item. There’s always that Restore Defaults button.

This same technique works for some system services, like “Set Desktop Picture” and “Open”. So, if you don’t like having some of those buttons on your secondary-click menu in Finder or when you select a photo, just uncheck them and your changes will be saved instantly.


Optional: Add Shortcuts to the Services

Unarchive something faster with a shortcut.

Unarchive something faster with a shortcut.

Maybe you just discovered a cool service that one of your apps is using. The Unarchiver, for example, has an option to unarchive something, but it’s not enabled on the secondary-click menu by default when you install the app. Once you enable something like this, you can also assign a shortcut to it to make things faster. If it’s a global function like Open URL, this could be very useful. Remember, though: you need to select what you’re using this service on before it can be employed.


What Will You Do?

When it comes to secondary-click services, those are the basics. It’s very easy to remove the unnecessary and enhance what you already have. So tell us, how do you plan to use it?

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