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jQuery contextMenu plugin & polyfill

$.contextMenu is a management facility for - you guessed it - context menus. It was designed for an application where there are hundreds of elements that may show a context menu - so intialization speed and memory usage are kept fairly small. It also allows to register context menus without providing actual markup, as $.contextMenu generates DOMElements as needed.

features - demo - documentation

If you like this implementation, go ahead an rate jQuery contextMenu at jQuery Plugins.


  • jQuery 1.7 (using new .on().off() event API)
  • jQuery UI position (optional but recommended)


register contextMenu from javascript:

    // define which elements trigger this menu
    selector: ".with-cool-menu",
    // define the elements of the menu
    items: {
        foo: {name: "Foo", callback: function(key, opt){ alert("Foo!"); }},
        bar: {name: "Bar", callback: function(key, opt){ alert("Bar!") }}
    // there's more, have a look at the demos and docs...

have a look at the demos.

HTML5 Compatibility

Firefox 8 implemented contextmenu using the 'menuitem' tags for menu-structure. The specs however state that 'command' tags should be used for this purpose. $.contextMenu accepts both.

Firefox 8 does not yet fully implement the contextmenu specification. The elements a, button, input and option usable as commands are being ignored altogether. It also doesn't (optically) distinguish between checkbox/radio and regular commands.

Note: While the specs note <option>s to be renderd as regular commands, $.contextMenu will render an actual <select>. import contextMenu from HTML5 <menu>:


Interaction Principles

You're (obviously) able to use the context menu with your mouse. Once it is opened, you can also use the keyboard to (fully) navigate it.

  • ↑ (up) previous item in list, will skip disabled elements and wrap around
  • ↓ (down) next item in, will skip disabled elements and wrap around
  • → (right) dive into sub-menu
  • ← (left) rise from sub-menu
  • ↵ (return) invoke command
  • ➟ (tab) next item or input element, will skip disabled elements and wrap around
  • ⇪ ➟ (shift tab) previous item or input element, will skip disabled elements and wrap around
  • ⎋ (escape) close menu

Besides the obvious, browser also react to alphanumeric key strokes. Hitting r in a context menu will make Firefox (9) reload the page immediately. Chrome selects the option to see infos on the page, Safari selects the option to print the document. Awesome, right? Until trying the same on Windows I did not realize that the browsers were using the access-key for this. I would've preferred typing the first character of something, say "s" for "save" and then iterate through all the commands beginning with s. But that's me - what do I know about UX? Anyways, $.contextMenu now also supports accesskey handling.


use Google Closure Compiler:

// ==ClosureCompiler==
// @compilation_level SIMPLE_OPTIMIZATIONS
// @output_file_name contextMenu.js
// @code_url
// @code_url
// @code_url
// ==/ClosureCompiler==    



$.contextMenu is published under the MIT license.



  • Bug opt.$trigger was not available to disabled callbacks
  • jQuery bumped to 1.7.1


  • Bug where <menu> imports would not pass action (click event) properly


  • Upgraded to jQuery 1.7 (changed dependecy!)
  • Added internal events contextmenu:focus, contextmenu:blur and contextmenu:hide
  • Added custom <command> types
  • Bug where className wasn't properly set on <menu>


  • Added support for accesskeys
  • Bug where two sub-menus could be open simultaneously


  • Bug in HTML5 import


  • Bug in HTML5 detection


  • Added compatibility to <menuitem> for Firefox 8
  • Upgraded to jQuery 1.6.2


  • Bug #1 TypeError on HTML5 action passthru
  • Bug #2 disbaled callback not invoked properly
  • Feature #3 auto-hide option for hover trigger
  • Feature #4 option to use a single callback for all commands, rather than registering the same function for each item
  • Option to ignore right-click (original "contextmenu" event trigger) for non-right-click triggers


  • Initial $.contextMenu handler
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