They say you can’t teach new tricks to an old dog. I may be an old Mac dog, but I’m trying my best to buck the expected result of no new tricks.
As a very long time Mac user I know about keyboard shortcuts. I just don’t use them. Why? Memory. Being old has drawbacks. The memory gets full earlier in the day. Who can remember those dozens of keyboard shortcuts? Give me one shortcut and I’m happy.
Keyboard Shortcut? Or, Menu Button?
Don’t misunderstand. I know a few Mac keyboard shortcuts. and use them regularly. The kind of shortcuts that Copy, Paste, Quit, Cut, Print, and… uh, um. I think that about wraps it up.
Mac apps are loaded with useful keyboard shortcuts.
Remembering what they are and what they do has always been my power user Achilles Heel. What I like are cues, hints, shortcuts to the shortcuts. Enter a nifty utility I’m trying out now that uses a keyboard shortcut and a menu button.
MenuEverywhere gives you an app’s menu wherever you are and it does it two ways, but doesn’t explain why it’s useful. That means I’m learning to use a tool that does what I already know how to do, but does it in a different place.
Do You Need An App’s Menu Everywhere?
That’s really the question I had when I first tried MenuEverywhere. What it does is simple. Each Mac app window gets another button next to the red, yellow, and green button in the upper left corner.
Click the Menu button and you get a pop up menu for the app you’re using.
You can also use the keyboard by setting a hot key combination. I chose Shift+Command+M to invoke the menu. The menu pops up wherever the mouse pointer is at the moment.
In my efforts to be an old dog capable of learning a few new tricks I’m going to employ an old dog trick of my own and ask the question, “Why?” Why is MenuEverywhere necessary to provide a menu everywhere and just a few scant pixels away from where the original menu already resides?
Using MenuEverywhere in Safari, for example, click the Menu button (to the right of the red, yellow, and green buttons at the top of an app’s window) and you get—drumroll, please—the same menu, but vertical instead of horizontal. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking my productivity doesn’t need to be that productive.
One advantage might be the ability to use the keyboard hot key shortcut.
That means no mouse.
As you’re typing along in Mail or Word or whatever, a couple of keystrokes will bring up the app’s menu right in front. Now you can navigate the app’s menu structure using the keyboard’s pointer keys instead of moving your hand off the keyboard and onto the mouse, and then moving the mouse pointer up to the window, selecting the needed menu, scrolling around until you get where you want to go.
MenuEverywhere becomes something of a Mac power user’s tool without the user having to remember a powerful string of keyboard shortcuts which may vary app to app.
I would like to see MenuEverywhere also allow access to the Mac’s Menubar utilities (Sound, Airport, Time Machine, Date, Spotlight, and others). Thankfully, MenuEverywhere also has options to remove the app’s icon from the Menubar, which saves additional space.
As it is, you get access to the app you’re using at the time, and the Apple menu in the Menubar. That’s useful, even for old dogs learning new tricks. However, as an old dog Mac user I remember that Mac OS X had a keyboard shortcut that opened the Apple menu in the Menubar and allowed keyboard navigation of any app’s menus. Set the keyboard’s Function keys to normal and press Control-F2. Then use the arrow keys to navigate horizontally and vertically in the app’s menus. Control-F3 brings focus to the Dock so you can navigate apps and folders.
Not bad, huh? And I saved the price of MenuEverywhere, but also lost the keyboard’s Function keys which handle screen brightness, sound, and iTunes navigation. Click Here to see a whole list of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts.