Context Menu


A context menu displays a list of commands specific to the current selection or element with the keyboard focus.

Unlike other UI elements which are usually visible on the page, a context menu element is invisible by default. It is only when it is trigerred by the user that it is displayed on top of an invisible overlay (a scrim) that captures pointer events. Its operation is effectively temporarily modal.

To display the context menu press the right button of a mouse, tap with two fingers (trackpad), control+click (on macOS), press shift+F10, or do a long press (touch devices).

The context menu appears near the pointer location or near the center of its target element. The location of the context menu or its submenus, may be altered to ensure that the context menu is not displayed outside the viewport.

Usage Guidelines

Includes only the most commonly used commands that apply to the current selection. Commands that do not apply in the current context should generally be omitted, unless it is important to make clear that the command is not currently applicable. Avoid including global commands that are independent of the selection, such as Quit, New Window, Go Back, etc… Try to limit the number of options in a menu to a dozen or so.

Order the commands so that the most frequently used are at the top of the menu. Place destructive commands (Delete, Move to Trash, etc…) at the bottom of the menu.

Follow the other guidelines for menus.



Setting up a Context Menu with <ui-menu-item> elements

To add a context menu to a target element, add a <ui-context-menu> element as a child of the target.

You can also add it in Javascript with target.appenChild(new UIContextMenuElement()).

Define the commands of the menu with <ui-menu-item> elements inside a <ui-context-menu> tag.

<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> <ui-context-menu> <ui-menu-item>Red</ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item>Green</ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item>Blue</ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item divider></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item>White</ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item>Gray</ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item>Black</ui-menu-item> </ui-context-menu> Right-Click here </div>

Setting up a Context Menu with JSON

Specify the commands of a context menu as a JSON data structure, inside in a <script> tag when using markup, or as an argument to the UIContextMenuElement constructor when using Javascript.

<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> <ui-context-menu> <script type="application/json"> [ { "label": "Bold" }, { "label": "Italic" }, { "label": "Underline" }, { "type": "divider" }, { "label": "Red" }, { "label": "Green" }, { "label": "Blue" }, { "label": "Yellow" }, { "label": "Purple" } ] </script> </ui-context-menu> Right-Click here </div>

Responding to a Context Menu

When the user selects a menu item, a select event is dispatched, unless an onSelect() hook is specified in the menu item. This hook can be specified when setting the menu items programatically, that is as an argument to new UIContextMenuElement().

To identify the menu item that was selected, the event detail property or the argument to the onSelect hook include:

labelthe menu item label
idthe menu item id property or attribute
datathe menu item data property
<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> Right-Click here </div>
const menu = new UIContextMenuElement([ { label: 'Bold' }, { label: 'Italic' }, { label: 'Underline', id: 'apply-underline', onSelect: (item) => console.log('onSelect hook:',, }, { type: 'divider' }, { label: 'Red', data: { color: '#ff0000' } }, { label: 'Green', data: { color: '#00ff00' } }, { label: 'Blue', data: { color: '#0000ff' } }, { label: 'Yellow', data: { color: '#ffff00' } }, { label: 'Purple', data: { color: '#800080' } }, ]); menu.addEventListener('select', (ev) => { console.log('select event:', ?? ev.detail.label); }); document.querySelector('.zebra-zone').appendChild(menu);


Keep in mind that to be most effective, a context menu should contain as few commands as possible.

<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> <ui-context-menu> <script type="application/json"> [ { "label": "Zoom Level", "submenu": [ { "label": "25%" }, { "label": "50%" }, { "label": "100%" }, { "label": "200%" }, { "label": "400%" }, { "label": "600%" } ] }, { "type": "divider"}, { "label": "Bold" }, { "label": "Italic" }, { "label": "Underline" } ] </script> </ui-context-menu> Right-Click here </div>

Disabled and Checked Menu Items

<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> <ui-context-menu> <script type="application/json"> [ { "label": "Bold" }, { "label": "Italic", "checked": true }, { "label": "Underline" }, { "label": "Outline", "disabled": true }, { "type": "divider" }, { "label": "Small" }, { "label": "Medium", "checked": true }, { "label": "Large" } ] </script> </ui-context-menu> Right-Click here </div>

Dynamic Menu Items

Menu items can provide access to alternate commands when the option/alt, shift or command keys are pressed.

In the example below, pressing the option/alt key or the shift key changes the label of the menu item.

Use this feature to provide alternate commands that are related to the default command, not completely different commands.

<div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone">Right-Click here</div>
document.querySelector('.zebra-zone').appendChild( new UIContextMenuElement([ { label: (item, kbd) => kbd.alt ? 'Delete Immediately' : 'Move to Trash', }, { label: (item, kbd) => kbd.shift ? 'Add to Sidebar' : 'Add to Dock', }, ]) ); document.querySelector('ui-context-menu').addEventListener('select', (ev) => { console.log( ?? ev.detail.label); console.log(ev.detail.keyboardModifiers); });

Customizing the Context Menu

Define a custom stylesheet to customize the layout of a menu and the appearance of menu items.

<style> ui-context-menu::part(menu-container) { display: flex; flex-wrap: wrap; justify-content: space-evenly; max-width: 228px; } ui-context-menu::part(menu-item) { width: 53px; height: 53px; margin: 0; padding: 4px; box-sizing: border-box; border: 3px solid transparent; } ui-context-menu::part(active) { border: 3px solid white; border-radius: 8px; background: transparent; } </style> <div tabindex="0" class="zebra-zone"> <ui-context-menu> <style> ui-menu-item { width: 100%; height: 100%; border-radius: 8px; } </style> <ui-menu-item style="background:#397ae3"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#edb50c"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#ed570c"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#bd0865"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#ed40d0"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#ed7f5a"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item divider></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#18cc48"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#6bed5a"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#327aad"></ui-menu-item> <ui-menu-item style="background:#86dbb8"></ui-menu-item> </ui-context-menu> Right-Click here </div>

See Also