Keep Your Menubar Items in Order with MenuBar ReArranger

I’m a big fan of menu bar apps, if you’ve read a few of my articles you probably have noticed how much I’m used to having easy access to certain features directly though the menu bar, without having to quit what I’m doing.

Being a fan of these types of apps, I have also come to collect a ton of them that take up a lot of space and end up getting in the way of my workflow; they aren’t always in the same place and they always get moved around randomly when I boot up my computer.

That’s where today’s app comes in. It’s an app that gives you the ability to organize the items in your menu bar. It’s called MenuBar ReArranger, want to take a look?

The Problem

The Problem

The Problem

If you use more than a couple of menu bar apps (other than the default options such as the clock, battery indicator, wi-fi and Bluetooth icons, etc.), then you have probably noticed how every time that you load up the operating system, the order of the icons from your third-party applications gets switched up.

Now, if you only work with a few of these, this might not be a problem and you probably haven’t even noticed this behavior. But if you are like me and you have many of these menubar apps incorporated to your workflow, then you might think that this is a bit annoying as you can’t really depend on any of these apps ever being where you expect them to. That’s where MenuBar ReArranger comes in.

MenuBar ReArranger

MenuBar ReArranger

MenuBar ReArranger

MenuBar ReArranger is visible as a tiny separator between your third-party menubar apps, and the default ones. If you click on this separator you can gain access to the settings and the actual rearranger. The rearranger is basically just a window with a couple lists, one with all of your apps and another with the apps that are in your menu bar.

In the menubar list, you can rearrange it so that the items that you want at the far right are on top, and the ones on the left are on the bottom. It isn’t a very intuitive interface, but it’s also not too bad at getting the job done. You also have to be careful not to add apps that don’t run through the menubar to your list, as they will just open like they usually do once the “rearranging” process begins.

How It Works

How It Works

How It Works

The reason your third-party menubar apps always get randomized in their order is because Mac OS selects the order they will appear in by the speed with which they load. So, basically, the first app’s icons to load up will be the ones who will appear on your menu bar first.

MenuBar ReArranger isn’t a real solution to this problem, as it doesn’t actually just switch up the places of the apps like you tell it to; in order for it to work it needs to close all of your menubar apps and reload each of them in the order that you specified, basically by giving them loading turns and therefore guaranteeing that they’ll end up where you want them to.

Setbacks

This solution has some setbacks though, as it is basically forcing behavior on the OS by tricking it. The most obvious one is that for it to work you need it to close and reopen each app, which can be problematic if you are already working with any of your menubar apps.

The second one is that it isn’t a flawless process. If for any reason, one of the apps takes too much to load while the apps are being rearranged, then it will skip that app and let the next one start loading, but its order in the list might no longer be preserved if the next item loads first. The default time that it gives to each app to load is 20 seconds, but you can change this in the settings.

Worth It?

MenuBar ReArranger is quite a unique app, I had never seen anything similar to it before. However, at $4.99, you might want to consider how much use you’ll actually get out of it and if it really is that pivotal piece that your workflow needed. After using it for a few days, I can say that I’ve found it quite useful as I don’t really need to go looking for the slot where each app is when I want to use it, instead I already know where to look when I’m searching for specific things.

This might not be a big deal to some of you, but I’m sure there are a few people who will find it useful just like I did, especially the ones who have tons of open menubar apps at all times and often use most of them. Mac OS has its own way of rearranging the default menubar icons (that’s by holding Command while you drag them), so if you were looking for something to take care of those few items, you might already be set.

What do you think, do you regularly use menubar apps? Would you pay for an app like this?


Summary

MenuBar ReArranger is a neat little app that can help you choose the order in which you want your third-party menubar apps to appear in.

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  • http://thegraphicmac.com Jim

    There are free apps that do this, or you could do the exact same thing simply by creating a workflow in Automator and saving it as an app. In fact, the Automator route will give you more options.

    • Jess

      for us non-actionscript folk, anyone know where to find a pre-built one to play with?

  • Radd

    Gotta agree with Jim. AppleScript is free & already installed. I’ve been doing this with a startup script for years, though I hadn’t thought to use Automator as the actual lines of AppleScript are quite basic:

    launch application “___”
    delay 10

    Replace ___ with your app name and 10 with however long you want to wait until the next app launches. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I’d prefer to have the OS do a better job of handling this problem, but this app doesn’t seem to do anything you can’t already do with Automator or the AppleScript Editor quite easily.

    For a free app maybe… but at $5? Um… no.

  • JD

    DelayedLauncher (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/29931/delayedlauncher) is great, and free! Exhaust (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/34949/exhaust) is free too, have not tested it yet, tho.

    • http://thegraphicmac.com Jim

      DelayedLauncher ( http://www.taoeffect.com/blog/2010/03/delayedlauncher-2-0/ ) is what I’ve been using. It’s about the ugliest looking app I’ve ever used, but works perfectly and that’s all I require.

      Still, the flexibility of using Automator is so much more goodly!

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  • Chris

    I’m also a big fan of menubar apps they are so quick and easy to use and saves having to open an entire application. My current favorites are JotDot (quick note taking app) and Transmit (FTP client). The problem is I think they become addictive!!

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