Interested in any method or insight into the best way to determine what menu items are contained in a context menu compared to the main menu. Should both menus contain all the same entries depending on the object being used?

Or should the right context menu be more concise compared to what is available in the main menu?

Any exercise to determine menu grouping?

  • This question is asked in general but is in fact very context dependend. Can you describe the context you try to get an answer for? And can you explain the concepts of right-, context- and main-menu? They also depend on context. If you have images to share that explain things that's even beter.
    – jazZRo
    Jan 31, 2022 at 10:47
  • Mainly thinking in the terms of MS Word InDesign or Canva. You normally have all the commands in the main menu, and depending on what tool is in use or what object is being selected then you have different right-click menus (context-menus) for a task or object. Should context menus mirror the main menu or break down further to be more specific. Are there any methods to try organizing menu commands into different categories? Mar 6, 2022 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


The best way to determine menu items is to conduct research (a card-sorting exercise) with your target audience. That would give you insight into the user's mental model.

Generally, menu items that are directly enable the user to complete a task & avail value out of your system should be included in the main menu. Items that compliment these menu items & indirectly assist the user are housed in the right context menu.


Should both menus contain all the same entries depending on the object being used?

No. For example, just open the context menu anywhere on this page. It most likely is not going to be a duplicate of any other menu.

Any exercise to determine menu grouping?

It seems the best way to determine the grouping is to take a look at the examples and repeat the same pattern so the expected context menu items are not left out. As for the other menu items that might be specific to your application, you may want to include only the ones that make sense to use in the context.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Mar 6, 2022 at 20:49

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