MenuMate: Put Your App’s Menus Anywhere

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.

Those are a lot of options, right there in my workspace.

Those are a lot of options, right there in my workspace.

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).

Set a shortcut that's easy to remember and won't conflict with anything else.

Set a shortcut that’s easy to remember and won’t conflict with anything else.

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 menu changes based on which application you're using.

The menu changes based on which application you’re using.

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.

If you want MenuMate to run invisibly, you can even hide its menu bar icon.

If you want MenuMate to run invisibly, you can even hide its menu bar icon.

Final Thoughts

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.


Summary

Useful app for putting your application menus anywhere.

10
  • Costee

    It would be really useful on external display.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      That’s a really great point. I’m mostly stuck on my MacBook, so I forget how much of a pain that can be. Thanks!

  • Kosztalma
  • Jay

    10 copies you say? Hey there ;)

  • John Thornton

    I’d definitely get some milage out of it on Scrivener

  • http://rhacker.github.com nXqd

    Great tool :D

  • Marc Simons

    Photoshop & Illustrator

    https://twitter.com/marcblog/status/316930588827344896

    Thanks for the (secret) giveaway!

  • Aaron Riddle

    This would be very useful for all of the Adobe CS programs!

  • Jeff Dickerson

    Would love this – MAC Newbie and this would help allot!

  • Karl C

    Coda2 and iTerm2

    hands are mostly on the keyboard while coding, nice to have the ability to get to the menu. It is sometimes a hassle to navigate there from a second screen or when on my 24″ monitor.

  • Martin Cox

    Photoshop and InDesign!

  • Renée

    Like Costee said, that would be especially useful on an external display.
    Think I’d get the best mileage out of this with Photoshop and Lightroom.

  • Tim Bland

    I would love to use it on Photoshop, Lightroom, and gmail.

  • Karl Erik Jessen

    I have dual screens on my stationary computers – MenuMate would be real helpfull here

  • Agustín

    I´d use it with Scrivener.

  • David

    I can’t think of any programs that I’d specifically use it with, but I’ll echo the second screen comment. I’ve tried SecondBar before and it’s decent, but this looks like it’d be much, much more convenient.

    Also, I love the icons, and “Alice Dev Team” has to be one of the coolest software design team names I’ve heard.

  • http://craigreville.com Craig Reville

    I’ll be using this with alfred 2 for sure!!

  • renze
  • http://craigreville.com Craig Reville

    I’ll be using this with alfred 2 for sure!!

    https://twitter.com/CraigReville/status/316958329651998720

  • Jonathan ATTALI
  • Griff Yo

    I wouldn’t spend 3$ on it, but i’d love to try it out.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I agree the price could be a barrier for some people, but for those who’ve struggled with menu items, it has a great return on investment.

  • http://rene-henrich.de René Henrich

    Adobe CS6!

    • http://rene-henrich.de René Henrich

      Oh nice, I won a copy! :) Thanks guys!

  • Micah

    CS, but I agree that it would be great for secondary displays. Hell, every app.

  • Steve Lund

    Sweet!! might be useful for Photoshop and Blender…

  • Reznik

    Bohemiancoding’s Sketch and Pixelmator. Would be great to use these beautiful apps in fullscreen mode with MenuMate.

    https://twitter.com/reznik_e/status/317013180100534273

  • Aaron

    I would love to have this for the Adobe Suite! Using two displays makes it tricky. Thanks, Mac.AppStorm!

  • J

    BetterTouchTool does this for free.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to take a look at that one. :)

    • BC

      It does? How do you enable it? You mean bettertouchtool gives you the menubar menu with a right click?

  • Marvin Bailey

    I would use it for multiple apps, one of them being photoshop, another being rapidweaver, and vmware

  • Matthew Abrams

    Would love a copy of MenuMate, looks cool!

    • Matthew Abrams

      oh, and I’ll be using it with PS and Evernote primarily

  • Justin

    Pro Tools and Logic!

  • http://www.marcofavero.com marco

    with 3 displays it will be great with all my app https://twitter.com/makfavero/status/317229757932642304

  • Ben

    I would definitely use the Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat to help me create my tests and worksheets.

  • Caelum

    BetterTouchTool already does this.

    The Action you have to assign is called “Show menubar in context menu”.

  • Keith Dobbins

    MenuMate is a rip-off of MenuPop. MenuPop has been popping app menus since I first got it back in 2010.

    http://binarybakery.com/product.php?app=menupop

    It’s also available as a trial and is available on both the App Store and directly from the developer’s site.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I’ve seen a couple of other apps that do this, as well. I guess they’re all rip offs of each other!

  • London

    A lot of 3D programs have similar functionality, with customizable radial menus. (Maya, for example, has so many menu items that you have to switch menu bars to see different ones!) Once you get used to it, the idea of going away from where your cursor is becomes annoying.

    This would be fantastic with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud collection and be a boon with Keynote and PowerPoint.

  • chaicup

    I guess there is one more app like this called MenuPop:

    http://www.binarybakery.com/product.php?app=menupop

    • chaicup

      Oh sorry Keith…didnt saw yer post…my post feels stupid now ;-)

  • Syphadius
  • gustao

    Photoshop CS6 and Coda!

  • Filou

    I hope it will be ok with Parallels…

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I don’t have Parallels installed (though I have in the past). If you try it out, can you report back?

  • elessar

    ooo I`d use it for adobe softwares indeed

  • João Daniel Pereira

    It would be awesome to use with photoshop, especially if using a second display.

  • João Daniel Pereira
  • Andy P

    This would actually be really useful

  • http://taylor.approaching.in/ Taylor Cohron

    DejaMenu does this exact thing, without a menubar item, for free.

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