JavaScript API allows developers to detect mouse right-click. It can be useful if you want to handle specific cases when a user clicks certain buttons on the mouse.

To start off, a typical computer mouse has 3 buttons:

  1. Primary button (usually on the left, can be changed for left-handed users)
  2. Secondary button (usually on the right, to invoke contextual menu);
  3. Scroll wheel button (in the middle);

However, some have 5 buttons and more, like advanced or gaming mice. Additional buttons provide extra functionality, like Back and Forward in the browser.

You can detect which button has been clicked by checking the MouseEvent.button property.

This property will be available on mouse clicking events like: mousedown, mouseup, click, dblclick, contextmenu.

window.addEventListener('click', (event) => {
  console.log(event.button)
})

The MouseEvent.button is a read-only property that returns a number. Each number represents a button on the mouse:

  • 0 - Main button
  • 1 - Wheel button (middle button if present)
  • 2 - Secondary button
  • 3 - Fourth button (Back button)
  • 4 - Fifth button (Forward button)

Browser support for the MouseEvent.button property: https://caniuse.com/mdn-api_mouseevent_button

To specifically capture the mouse right-click, JavaScript has a special event for that - contextmenu.

Depending on the situation, instead of identifying which button has been clicked, you can specify the contextmenu event.

window.addEventListener('contextmenu', (event) => {
  console.log(event.button)
})

This event still has the button property, with the number value of the, clicked button. But now for example, if you need to prevent further action, you can specify the e.preventDefault() without checking against a button property.

Disable the right-click on a page:

window.addEventListener('contextmenu', (event) => {
  event.preventDefault()
})

Browser support for the contextmenu event: https://caniuse.com/mdn-api_element_contextmenu_event

Conclusion

Use MouseEvent.button to detect which button has been clicked on a mouse. Useful if you need to intercept certain cases like Back and Forward actions in an iframe. To react on mouse right-click specifically use a designated contextmenu event.

Tags:
js