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10 ways to use iTunes contextual menus

Kirk McElhearn, | April 27, 2011
Many iTunes users not only don't realize how powerful the program's contextual menu is, but also may not even know it's there. Here are some cool things you can do with iTunes' contextual menu.

Here’s a scenario shared with me recently by a friend:

iTunes user: “You know, I’d really like to do [something or other] with iTunes.”

Friend: “Sure. Just Control-click on a track, and use the contextual menu.”

iTunes user: “What contextual menu?”

After my friend, an iTunes expert, told me this story, it made me realize that many iTunes users not only don’t realize how powerful the program’s contextual menu is, but also may not even know it’s there. Since Mac users are less accustomed to contextual menus than Windows users, many don’t even know these menus exist. Here are 10 things you can do quickly and easily from the contextual menu.

(Before starting, here’s how you bring up the contextual menu. Move your pointer over a track, or select a group of tracks in the iTunes window and move the pointer over them. Then Control- or right-click. If you have a multi-touch mouse or trackpad, there are other ways; for example, you can tap with two fingers on a trackpad to bring up this menu. See the Mouse or Trackpad preferences on your Mac for more.)


1. Create Genius playlists

If you select a track, you can start the Genius from the contextual menu; just choose Start Genius, and iTunes will create a new Genius playlist of songs in your iTunes library based on the selected track.


2. Add to iTunes DJ

As you flip through your library, you may want to add some songs to iTunes DJ for a party, or just for your day’s listening. You can do this by dragging them onto the iTunes DJ entry in the iTunes sidebar, but you can also do so from the contextual menu. The Add To iTunes DJ item adds the selected track(s) at the end of the iTunes DJ list; Play Next In iTunes DJ puts the selected track(s) at the top of the list and starts playing the first one right away.


3. Get Info

If you choose the Get Info item, iTunes will display the Info window for the selected track(s). (Although truth be told, I find it actually quicker to just press Command-I to bring up the Info window.) From there, you can use keyboard shortcuts—see “10 essential iTunes keyboard shortcuts”—to move around the various tabs.


4. Rate songs

If you choose the Rating menu item, you’ll see a sub-menu listing None, then from one to five stars. Set a rating by choosing the right number of stars from this sub-menu. Note that if you use half-star ratings, thanks to a script such as Doug Adams’ Assign Half-Star Ratings, you won’t see those as options in the Rating menu.


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