Tech Writing - Ctrl-Click on Mac


Since I'm not familiar with the MAC, (in fact, I don't have access to one) I have not encountered this syntax before.

In a set of Release Notes, I need to document a feature involving the MAC key combination COMMAND and Click.  Two questions:

1. What's the preferred syntax here?

Something else?

2. What's the correct verb? Press? Perform? Do? e.g.
Press <Command>-<Click>

Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAsked:
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Martin MillerCTOCommented:
for (1) I think the first one can be shown as


It shows the word "command" on the key on my keyboard with a symbol.

for (2) I have read this before as, below, note the lower case 'c' in command.

Press <command>-<Click>

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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
The Apple keyboard has "cmd" written on the key and on Apple devices it is also knows as the 'Apple key as it has a unique symbol  (⌘)

It has been a critical function key on Apple devices for many, many years.

When combined with other keys of the mouse it performs a wide range of functions .. therefore you should probably follow how APPLE define them - they use the following syntax

If you look at user manuals for other OSX applications you'll see a huge number of variations  including CMD or Command(⌘) + left click but I'd say that APPLE themselves should be the benchmark you use.

Another thing to bear in mind is that CLICK is ambiguous ... originally apple mice only had one button but trackpads and mice on OSX are now left/right enabled and if your action is RIGHT click based you should indicate that as CLICK on its own now implies left click.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
BTW "click" is the verb so there is no need to add another verb ;-)  If you want to do it then "Press" is the correct term as you have to PRESS AND HOLD the Command key while you then perform the other key or mouse click/action
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The ⌘ (command) symbol used to be an  (apple) symbol long ago.

The verb is <click>, and <command><click> specifically means click the mouse button, to make it work as a 2nd mouse button.  That is basically Windows <right-click>.

To give you context:
Apple ships their mouse to work as a single button mouse since the very first Mac.  You have always been able to purchase a two button, or more, mouse for a Mac.  The modern Mac mouse has an extra button that is just disabled in the settings, but you can enable it.  The work around is the <command><click> which is much easier to convey, with less hassle, to a very non-technical person than a <right-click>, especially over the phone or chat.
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, everyone. The audience for this doc is technically sophisticated, and this is not a step-by-step procedural doc, so I have some leeway.  

It's a very brief release notes blurb and all I need to say is something like.
"Pressing Command-Click now brings up the vendor data in a new browser window".

Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
@Martin Miller-

Per your comment:

Nice job on it. I'd like to accept it as the best solution. However, you seemed to indicate that "Command" s/b lower case.  However, this link indicates it's upper case.

Any chance you can repost your comment w/o the reference to lower case (using Upper instead)?

Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank you. I'll close out question later today...have to leave my desk for awhile.
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
As a slight clarification to Martin's helpful solution:

It seemed to indicate that "Command" s/b lower case.  However, this link indicates it's upper case.

Maybe it's just a matter of taste, but including here for the record. :)

Thanks, everyone!
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Great info, all of you! Thanks so much.
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