The Power of the Right-Click

The Secrets of Context Menu Properties Sheets

Find out how to use the store of information and functions contained in context menu properties sheets. Discover more ways to make the right-click work for you.

In this article we will continue our exploration of the many facets of the right-click. Here we will look at the bounty of information and actions in what is called the "properties sheet". Right-clicking almost any object will bring up a context menu with an entry “Properties” at the bottom. Not only files and folders but also many special objects such as the Desktop itself, Computer, Network, and the Taskbar have context menus with a Properties entry. Clicking on that entry will produce a window or box that goes by the name "properties sheet". It contains details about the object and a variety of possible actions for the object. The exact nature of the contents of the property sheet varies with the object.

Examples of Properties Sheets for Files

The figure below shows the property sheet for a file. In this example, it is a Word document. There are four tabs, each containing different functions. The "General" tab shown in Figure 1 has information such a file size and date created. It also has a button "Change" where you can change the program used to open the file type in question. Another button, "Advanced", provides for changing attributes.

Figure 1. General properties

Figure 2 shows the Security tab, where permissions can be configured.

Figure 2. Security tab

Next is the "Details" tab. Its contents are a long scrolling window with contents that depend on the nature of the file. Figure 3 shows the contents for a Microsoft Word document and Figure 4 shows the contents for a picture. Some of the elements are editable.

Figure 3. File details tab Figure 4. Picture details tab

The next tab is where you can access the backup copies called "Previous versions". Details about these useful backups are discussed in this article about Previous Versions. Figure 5 shows an example of this tab for a file.

Figure 5. "Previous Versions" tab

Properties Sheets for Folders

As Figure 6 shows, the properties sheet for folders has two tabs that are different from folder tabs and has no "Details" tab. The tab "Sharing" allows settings for making folders available on networks. The "Customize" tab provides ways to change the appearance and configure how files are shown in folders.

Figure 6. Properties Sheet for a folder

The "Customize" tab is where you can change a folder icon and background picture. The way in which files in the folder are presented can also be configured. Figure 7 shows an example.

Figure 7. Customize tab for folder Properties Sheet

Properties Sheets for Other Windows Objects

Many Windows objects besides files and folders have properties sheets. Two of the most useful are for the Computer icon in the Start menu and for the Taskbar. They are shown in Figures 8 and 9, respectively.

Figure 8. Properties Sheet for Computer
Figure 9. Properties Sheet for Taskbar

As can bee seen, Properties Sheets contain a wealth of information and functionality. Explore them and you will find much to help you to be a better computer user.