Our giveaway is now closed; congrats to our winners!
There sure are a lot of keyboard shortcuts to remember, especially in some of the bigger third-party apps. I’ve pretty much given up memorizing them all, and usually just look to the menus to find what I want. The problem is that always going to the menu, especially if I’m in an app that uses a lot of menu commands like an image editor, is that I’m being constantly pulled out of the workspace and away from what I’m actually doing.
MenuMate is a nifty little app that will sit in your menu bar or disappear altogether until its needed, but once triggered, it gives you all your application’s menu items to choose from, right where you’re working. We’ll try out MenuMate and see if it’s the timesaver it claims to be and really solves the shortcut problem … and then give you the chance to win a free copy of MenuMate!
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
MenuMate works great if you never want to take your hands off of your keyboard, and I know there are more than a few users out there who feel this way. If it can be done with a keyboard shortcut, that’s absolutely the way to go, right? I’m with you, but we all sometimes need to get into the options that are only available in the menu bar. At that point, you’ll have to drag your hand away from your precious keyboard and use your mouse to get at all those necessary commands.
Instead of relying on the menu bar, though, MenuMate puts your application’s menu bar items anywhere you want. With the application active, hit the Option+Z keyboard shortcut, and you’ll get the application’s menu bar options as a flyout wherever your mouse cursor is. You can then use your keyboard, including the arrow keys, to move around the menu. If you need to get rid of MenuMate, hit Esc, and you’re back to what you were doing before.
Maybe it’s not such an ordeal for you to use your mouse, though. It may actually take more effort to learn a new shortcut than to switch over to your mouse. In that case, you can set a mouse button as the trigger for your MenuMate flyout. Just remember you can’t use the left or right buttons, as that would just be silly and cause all sorts of problems.
If you don’t like the defaults for your keyboard shortcut or mouse button, you can edit either by clicking on the MenuMate icon in the menubar. Each will have to be edited separately, but that’s easy enough to do. It’s probably a good idea to check that your new shortcut isn’t already assigned elsewhere, though; try it out in the apps where MenuMate’s likely to get the most play before making the change (I learned this one the hard way).
Making the Most Out of It
MenuMate is likely going to find the most use in apps where you’ve got a lot of keyboard shortcuts but can’t seem to remember them all. There are just a ton in Photoshop, and while they can do a lot of good things and save a lot of time, I’m never going to remember them all. Everything I need to remember is up there in the menu, though, and I just have to take a trip up there to get to what I need.
But I don’t have to make the choice to either remember everything or pull myself out of what I’m doing and drag my mouse cursor to the top of my display. Instead, a quick keystroke or mouse click, and everything I need but always forget is right there where I’m working.
The MenuMate flyout isn’t customizable like the shortcuts, but that’s okay, because it integrates well with OS X. I’m always worried that utility apps that have to assimilate into everything else I’m doing are going to stick out, but MenuMate fits in perfectly with pretty much all of my apps. It would be nice to bring it more inline with some of the third-party apps that make something like MenuMate so necessary to begin with, but the stark white menu against my various app workspaces doesn’t detract from what a great app MenuMate is.
MenuMate is a great tool to have if you’re trying to get a lot done. Those of us who use our Macs for work often depend on applications that perform a lot of complicated functions in one place. Some of these bigger, feature-rich apps are almost entirely dependent on keyboard shortcuts or lots of options in the menu bar. MenuMate keeps you from having to leave what you’re doing to find it all.
A quick shortcut, and you have it all at hand. MenuMate is quick and unobtrusive, only popping into view when you need it. You can even turn the menu bar icon off, leaving MenuMate to wait quietly in the background until needed. It’s the sort of app that scratches an itch you didn’t know was there, and it does so elegantly and intuitively.
Last but not least…
Oh wait: we did mention a giveaway, didn’t we?
Yup. We’ve got 10 copies of MenuMate to giveaway this week. Just comment below, letting us know what apps you’re most looking forward to using with MenuMate, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. Share the post on Twitter, App.net, or Facebook, and share the link to your post in another comment here for an extra entry.
Hurry and get your entries in; we’re closing our giveaway on April 3rd.
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
Useful app for putting your application menus anywhere.10