Written by: hexley on Thursday March 06th 2008, 12:01 AM
Most Macintosh users have a clock and some other small icons in the upper right corner of their screen. These items are generally referred to as “menulets”. If you are running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you probably see a clock, a small speaker, a magnifying glass, and perhaps a few other items.
The items you have as a default will largely depend on your computer. Laptop users will almost all have an Airport icon, and sometimes a Bluetooth icon.
What many people have not learned is that those menulets can be repositioned, deleted, and customized.
Moving a menulet
To move a menulet, just press and hold the command key and drag the menulet from left to right. The other menulets will scurry out of the way. Once you have it where you want, release the mouse and the command key.
I find myself frequently adjusting the volume, so I move the volume control off to the right. With it at the right, I find it easier to target quickly.
Of course, what good would moving a menulet around be if you couldn’t also completely banish it from your menu bar. Removing is the same process as moving, with the exception of you drag downward and release the mouse. On release, a poof of smoke animation will appear, to let you know you have removed the item.
Adding menulets back
Now that you know how to arrange and remove icons from your menu bar, it is time to add a few back. Most, such as Airport and Bluetooth are controlled in your System Preferences. If for example, you removed the Bluetooth menulet, and you want it back, a quick trip to your Bluetooth preferences will bring it back.
Each menulet is different, but you should find an option that states “Show (item) in menu bar”, where “item” is the name of the item you are trying to bring back.
Menulet customization in action
Some menulets seem to evade all attempts at bringing them back. For example, the “Eject Disc” item has no known preference for adding it back in.
If you navigate to your main hard drive, and open the following folders:
System -> Library -> CoreServices -> Menu Extras
Double clicking on any of them will add that item back to your menu bar. Many will be non applicable to your system, but they are all there for your future needs.
Thank you very much for a great site, I’ve bought a secondhand 12 Inch Powerbook and I love it to pieces, seriously would never sell it for any amount of money! Went all out with wifi and a wireless Mighty Mouse since I hated cables sticking out the sides. Anyway, under 10.5, I dont need to hold option, just cmd and click on menulets which might be easier to explain to people.
PS I hate that the cmd option alt fn shift keys are all so confusing, how there are so many different key combinations that use so many of them, and on my 12 inch PB at least they dont have the odd symbols on the actual keys, I have to remember which one is that squiggle etcComment by JayWontdart 03.06.08 @ 1:27 AM
@JayWonderart, thanks so much for the clarification. We have edited the post to only mention the command key. Apparently I was mistaken, or I was holding back an old keyboard command set from the past. Thanks again for keeping me on my toes.Comment by Caroline Merchiers 03.06.08 @ 1:43 AM
JayWontdart, thanks for a great hint! It really does help a lot!Comment by MacRussian 03.06.08 @ 11:05 AM
I’ve been looking for a used 12″ PowerBook and I’m willing to spend $20,000.00 for it.
Oh. JayWontDart said. ” I’ve bought a secondhand 12 Inch Powerbook and I love it to pieces, seriously would never sell it for any amount of money!”
Oh well. I’ll have to check eBay…Comment by DCJ001 03.06.08 @ 12:54 PM
Thank you all for your thank you’s!
Seriously, the 12 inch is just so perfect! Although being honest, I havnt held a MBA yet, but I like the little THINNESS my 12 PB has, the MBA is almost so thin its silly, as in whats next, a paper thing piece of Aluminium?
I got mine for $1020 NZD and am very happy with what I paid, so go out and just get 20 here, theres 10 on http://www.trademe.co.nz when I look now!Comment by JayWontdart 03.06.08 @ 6:34 PM
I have an old clamshell iMac laptop that is running OS 9.0. Yes, it still uses floppies for back up. It has a CD ability, but not for copying onto. Is there any way I could find software to update this to Tiger? Where would I go and what would I have to look for and DO before I’d update. I have a dial-up connection.
PS–Great site and so many good lessons, advice, and information.
@mickey, There is no way I would recommend updating that machine to Tiger, it simply is not fast enough. You really want to get to Leopard if you can.
Your best bet, if you must stay with a laptop, is the MacBook, at just over 1000.00 it is a bargain. If that does not work out for you, there is the MacMini, which is a bit over 500.00.
There are links on the site, off to the right where you can purchase these items. By purchasing through our site you can help out a little in keeping the site up and running.Comment by Scott Haneda 03.07.08 @ 1:20 PM
I have a menulet software program by “Synergy” that places the rewind, play, and fast forward iTune buttons in the tool bar. but these buttons only show up when I am in “desktop mode. if I am in another program with safari or another user area these buttons disappear. is this unique to this third party software or did I install it incorrectly?Comment by RE: Menulets 03.07.08 @ 9:04 PM
@RE, I have also used Synergy, you probably just need an update. I found it to be valuable as it allowed me custom keybaord commands to change tracks, rate, and set volume. I was able to get it to show up in all applications, in every toolbar there was.
Perhaps if I had a small screen, it may take least precedence and get shoved of.
Make sure you are up to date at this link.Comment by Scott Haneda 03.10.08 @ 9:10 AM
Wow, I never even noticed I had a volume control in the menu bar. After confirming what it was, I tried moving it to the right like you do, and it disappeared off the screen (I guess I moved it TOO far. Luckily, you addressed how to put it back, and I’m feeling like the smartest cookie in the jar.Comment by Matt Nikos 03.13.08 @ 10:58 AM
Here; Menulets in G4 and MacBookPro for Date & Time have differing display. System Preferences->Date&Time->Clock both have checks for “Show date and time in menu bar” and “Show the day of the week”. Both computers were upgraded to 10.5.2 from 10.4.11. MBP displays day (Tue in this example) and time, but NO month nor date.Comment by Ray Conroy 05.06.08 @ 3:57 PM
@Ray, in the date and time, if you click on “Show International” there is a “Formats” section, where you can change how the calendar portion of the date and time are shown.Comment by Scott Haneda 05.07.08 @ 5:14 AM
is there a way to remove third party software menulets? command does nothing for these, and there is no option in the actual software’s preferences or settings to remove it from the menu bar.Comment by lightsandswirls 11.17.08 @ 9:59 AM
@lightsandswirls, what software, some of it can be a little tricky, but all of it can in fact be removed.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.17.08 @ 1:51 PM
bundled software that came with a canon pixma mx700 printer. the menulet is actually for “Canon IJ Network Scan Utility.” i’ve uninstalled, or deleted rather, the printer software, but the network scan utility is hanging around. printer software, i’ve come to find out, is the most ridiculously hard software to get rid of.Comment by lightsandswirls 11.17.08 @ 1:56 PM
If the s-ware does not give you a way to take it out, and there is no way to “command-drag” it out, I would first look in system preferences. Make sure there is no preference pane for it. If there is, you can remove that with a conrol-click on the item you want to remove.
Finally, look in your Accounts preferences, and there are items listed as Login Items, If you control click on those, you can tell it to “reveal in finder” and locate where it is hiding out at, and perhaps find even more software to delete.
Finally, assuming it is in there, remove it from your login items list as well.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.17.08 @ 2:00 PM
thank you so much! it was in my login items, so i deleted it and its little friendsComment by lightsandswirls 11.17.08 @ 2:13 PM
Can I put a link to an application in the menu bar?Comment by Galen 07.30.09 @ 3:43 PM
Scott, when you were talking about moving the sound-adjustment gizmo, I wondered why you didn’t mention the two keyboard keys with the speaker symbols – much quicker to get to.
Do you have anywhere on this site a list of all of the Mac keyboard shortcuts? That would be great.Comment by Florie 08.03.09 @ 9:20 AM
I tried the International tab to get the date to show up but was not successful. Suggestions?Comment by Jason 08.07.09 @ 1:55 PM
@Jason, have you looked at the Date and Time Preference Pane? Or are you looking to do more customizattion to the format that is shown in the menu?Comment by Scott Haneda 08.07.09 @ 2:10 PM
Just trying to get the date to show up a long with the time. I’ve got the day of the week, just not the date.
BTW – This is an incredible site. I JUST switched over to Mac yesterday. I couldn’t figure out how to move some picts off of a CD. Today, after going through a bunch of feeds (starting @ #1) I’m feeling like I’ll never open up my other pc notebook again. Thanks!Comment by Jason 08.07.09 @ 3:36 PM
@Jason, to be honest, the method in which you set up the time and date in OS X is a bit of a pain, and will not get you entirely where you want to be if you want a specific customization.
I have also found, at times, badly written apps can use the format internally within their app, which can cause those apps to have strange behavior.
I have found iStat Menu’s to be invaluable. Not only does it give a super simple way to modify the date and time menu item, it gives you a drop down calendar, network data, CPU usage, and much much more. Of course, you can turn off all but just the date and time features.
Take a look, I find this to be a very valuable tool http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatmenus/Comment by Scott Haneda 08.08.09 @ 1:40 PM
great work, really helpful. Thank you.Comment by Tom 08.09.09 @ 12:02 AM
Scott, till now, all questions are about the right side of menu bar.
I’m having some problems as to the left side. When I right clicked on a folder or on a file a drop down menu gave me an option (among many others) to “Shred” . (I’m a PGP user).
After upgrade to “Snow” this option has elapsed.
I’m still using the PGP’shred but throught a more complicated way. That lost option was also enabled on Menu Bar > Edit…but no more now. Is there anything that I can do?
@Jose, right clicking invokes the contextual menu item, which are “plug-ins” for lack of a better word, stored in ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items for your home, or /Library/Contextual Menu Items for System wide all users.
I would bet your PGP CMM is only 32 bit, and can not run under Snow in 64, so it is not loading.
According to http://na.store.pgp.com/desktop_home_mac.html there is support up to 10.5, not 10.6.
There page states:
The current version of PGP Desktop Home for Mac OS (9.10) is not supported on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Support for Mac OS X 10.6 will be available in the next major release of PGP Desktop Home (10.0). If you would like to be notified when the Beta version of PGP Desktop Professional becomes available, please register at http://www.pgp.com/developers/beta/request.html. If you have questions about PGP products and Mac OS X 10.6, please visit our support site https://pgp.custhelp.com/app/.
If you are just looking to securely erase files, you can use Secure Empty Trash.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.06.09 @ 3:21 PM
I’ll not bet with you.
You won, as usually.
PGP 32 bit – not 64. That’s it.
Thanks a lot for the lesson.
cant get slider bar at bottom to move from side to sideComment by doris perovich 12.07.09 @ 5:17 PM
Not pretty to do this, but if you can’t drag, etc. the 3rd party icon out and have no other way to get rid of it, you can rip out the process that it represents:
If you know the name (maybe you used Activity Monitor), or even if you don’t, run: Applications->Utilities->Terminal
in Terminal, type:
ps -ax | less
or if you want this in a file:
ps -ax > procs.txt
This should give you a complete list of all processes, _including_the_path_ to the process.
Find the one that represents the process and delete it (at your discretion and own risk).
GComment by Another Galen (believe it or not) 02.11.10 @ 9:04 AM
Perhaps easier for our users, would be to:
Then Show Processes in there, select the relevant one, and force quit it. This may be simpler than the terminal.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.11.10 @ 1:42 PM
Many of the screenshots of the menu bar show a person which I’m assuming is a menulet to change users. How can this item be added to the menu bar? I’ve tried double clicking the User.menu icon in the Menu Extras folder, but the person doesn’t show.Comment by Rick 05.22.10 @ 2:56 PM
Yes, that person icon is the icon for “Fast User Switching”. In order to have it show up in your menu bar, a few conditions need to be met. First is that you have more than one user account, second is that fast user switching is enabled.
Open your System Preferences, click on “Accounts”, and in this window, you will see your list of users on the left. Below that list is a house icon with the words “Login Options”. Click on “Login Options”, click the lock icon and authenticate, and check off the “Show fast user switching menu as: Icon” checkbox.
The reason we have that icon in most of our screen shots is that I use one account for my main day to day use, and have a clean account that I use to take screen shots in for OS X Help posts.
My main account is far too customized and would not match what most users are expecting to see on their systems. In order to help show users examples that are as close to their system as possible, we keep a second account that can be wiped clean and started new at any time we feel we have messed it up too much and made the settings too far from default.
Hope that helps, let us know if that is not the setting you were looking for.Comment by Scott Haneda 05.22.10 @ 3:38 PM
thank you so much for the info about the hidden menulets. ive been searching all over for them.Comment by mike 01.10.11 @ 9:48 AM
I would like to permanently remove the PC Card icon from my MBP Menu Bar. It is a memory card and the boot drive is on it and I do not want to “Power Off” the card accidentally. (I can drag it off but it comes back on restart.)Comment by PJL 02.14.11 @ 6:37 AM
@PJL If there is a System Preference for your PC card, there may be an option in there to disable it. If not, this may be one of those third party menu icons that can not be disabled.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.14.11 @ 4:49 PM
@Scott Haneda When inserting a PC Card in a MBP the PC Card icon usually appears on the Menu Bar and it offers the option of powering off the card no matter what the function of the card. These cards are usually Plug ‘n Play without a System Preference.Comment by PJL 02.14.11 @ 5:30 PM
Thanks! Really great web sight! Great help!Comment by Dex 05.26.11 @ 4:56 PM
How can I add an item to the menu bar? ie. ” SPECIAL CHARACTERS”Comment by marilyn 05.29.11 @ 6:06 AM
I don’t want to remove third-party menulets. Rather, I would like to adjust them in order in most used. Is there a way to do this, too?
In the past, I just used to close the corresponding applications and then opened them in the order I wanted. Is there a method similar to the one you described?Comment by notchfiend 06.29.11 @ 3:39 AM
@ notchfiend have you tried holding the command key, clicking on the menulet, and moving it left or right? If that does not work, you will need to contact the developer of the menulet/application, as it was not made in a way that allows it to be moved.
This may not be something the developer can solve, depending on the way their application was made, what version OS you are using, and a few other factors that have to do with legacy applications.
For example, even a modern app such as DropBox will not allow me to move it’s menulet position. However iStatMenu3 allows me to move any of the many many menulets that is creates.Comment by Scott Haneda 06.30.11 @ 11:56 PM
@ Marilyn : Go to Preferences > Keyboard Preferences > Select “Show Keyboard and Character Viewers in menu bar”.Comment by Francois 07.21.11 @ 7:12 AM
Brilliant. Thank you so much. Exactly the info I needed – both to move menulets around and to remove redundant icon.Comment by David 09.28.11 @ 1:03 AM