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Using MenuStrip

Q: How can I create my own custom menu items?

A: The easiest way to create new items in MenuStrip is by drag-and-drop. Simply open MenuStrip's preferences panel and drag applications, files, or folders into the item list. By dragging in different combinations of files, folders, or applications, you can create different types of menu items:

1. Drag in an application or file to create a shortcut
2. Drag in multiple files to create a drop-down menu that contains those files
3. Drag in multiple applications to create a 'workgroup' shortcut that opens those apps with one click
4. Drag in a folder to create a drop-down menu that displays the contents of that folder

You can also create new items manually, by clicking on the '+' button in the lower left corner of the preferences panel. A sheet will appear asking you which type of item you would like to create. You can also create new separator items, to keep your menu items organized, this way. After adding or creating your new menu item, you can then further customize its settings.

Q: How do I temporarily disable a menu item?

To save space, or make room for new items, you can temporarily disable a custom menu item or built-in tool. To do this:

1. Open MenuStrip's Preferences panel
2. Select the item you wish to disable in the item list
3. Click on the 'On / Off' popup menu, to the right of the item's name
4. Choose 'Off' to disable the item

You can later re-enable a disabled item at any time, using the same steps as above - but by choosing 'On' instead of 'Off', of course!

Q: How do I permanently remove a custom menu item?

A: Deleting a custom menu item you've created is easy:

1. Open MenuStrip's Preferences panel
2. Select the item you wish to remove in the item list
3. Click on the '-' button in the lower left corner, or press the 'delete' key
4. Confirm that you want to permanently remove the item

Deleting an item cannot be undone, so make sure your really don't want it anymore! Also, you cannot delete certain built-in tools (such as the Clock or the Quick Launcher), but you can disable them using the 'On / Off' setting if you would like to make space for other items.

Q: How can I rearrange my menu items?

Rearranging your MenuStrip items is as easy as drag-and-drop. Simply open MenuStrip's preferences panel and select the item you'd like to move in the item list. Now just click and drag it within the list to move it to a new location. It's that easy!

Q: I keep my Mac in great shape. Will MenuStrip affect my system's performance or stability?

A: MenuStrip is a small efficient Cocoa application designed specifically for Mac OS X. It uses very little of your system's memory and CPU and does NOT patch or interfere with your system in any way. It is designed as background tool that's there for you when you need it, and not in your way when you don't. MenuStrip does not need to be installed with an installer specifically because it does not need to modify your OS or system files in order to run. The only difference between MenuStrip and any other standard OS X application is that it runs in the background and does not show up in the Dock. Other than that, it does not use any fancy hooks or undocumented APIs to do what it does. Just simple, efficient Cocoa code.

Right after launching, MenuStrip performs its short setup tasks and initialization. After that, MenuStrip normally uses between 0 - 0.5% of the CPU when idle. In other words, it only uses between zero and one-half of one percent of the CPU! That's barely a blip on the radar.

The Quick Launcher tool in MenuStrip allows you to quickly open files and launch applications by simply typing a few characters of the item's name. To do this, it finds and remembers your most important files and applications. Remembering all of these items can take up a small, but significant, amount of memory - especially if you have a very crowded hard drive. To reduce the amount of memory used, and files searched, you can specify exactly which folders contain your most important files in MenuStrip's preferences. This will improve the quality of your Quick Launcher search results, as well as reducing overall memory usage.

Q: How do install / uninstall MenuStrip?

MenuStrip does not rely on a bulky installer since it does NOT install files all over your hard drive or patch your system in any way. It is a simple application that you can install by simply drag-and-dropping it to anywhere you like on your hard drive (the 'Applications' folder is recommended, but any place is fine). An 'Updater' application is included with each new release so that you can easily remove an older version and replace it with the new one.

Uninstalling, or removing, MenuStrip is as simple as dragging the application to your Mac's trash can. However, since MenuStrip is usually set to launch automatically at startup, you may need to quit it first before you can delete it. There is a 'Quit MenuStrip' button in MenuStrip's preferences panel that will allow you to quit the program. Simply open the preferences panel and click on this quit button first.

Display Options

Q: How can I have MenuStrip display in the menu bar or as a control strip?

A: MenuStrip can display in the right-hand side of the menu bar, alongside the other OS menu extras, or as a control strip placed anywhere snapped to either side of the screen. To switch between these two display options:

1. Open MenuStrip's Preferences panel
2. Click on the 'General Settings' tab
3. Select either 'Display in Menu Bar' or 'Display as Control Strip'

When displaying MenuStrip as a control strip, you also have the option to make it auto-collapse (ie, 'auto-hide') so that it slides off the screen when it's not being used. As soon as you move the cursor to the general area where MenuStrip is collapsed it will slide back into view.

Q: How can I move MenuStrip to a different part of my screen?

A: Just drag it! When MenuStrip displays as a control strip, it will show a drag button at one end of the strip. Simply click and hold on this drag bar and then move your mouse up or down to move MenuStrip. MenuStrip will remain 'pinned' to one side of the screen as it moves up and down. If you'd like to move MenuStrip to the other side of the screen, simply drag your mouse horizontally to that other side, the same way you would to move MenuStrip up and down. Once the cursor is on that part of the screen, MenuStrip will then slide onto the other side.

Q: I have two awesome new Cinema Displays, can I use MenuStrip on my second screen?

Sure! Simply drag MenuStrip to the second screen using the drag bar the same way you normally would to move it. Click on MenuStrip's drag bar and hold the mouse button down, and then move your mouse cursor to the second screen. Once the cursor is on the second screen, MenuStrip will automatically slide off of the current screen and out onto that other screen. You can then move it up and down this same way to place it anywhere you like on the second screen.

Q: Why are some of my items missing when I tell MenuStrip to display in the menu bar?

When displaying in the menu bar, MenuStrip cannot overlap the other menus currently being shown in the menu bar. This means that if you have limited free menu bar space and you switch to an application that has many menus of its own, some of MenuStrip's items will be hidden from view. However, the MenuStrip items that can fit in the available menu space will remain visible.

If you have a smaller screen (such as an iBook with a 12" screen), you will probably get the most benefit out of using MenuStrip as a control strip. By using it this way you can actually extend the amount of available menu space that you have. You can then disable some of the system menu extras (such as the clock and volume control) and use MenuStrip's items instead to conserve even more menu bar space.