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So, this is my question: how do I hide some (or all) of the menus from my menu bar in OS X. A lot of the applications I use have very large menus that I never or very rarely actually use (I know the keyboard shortcuts for the functions I need). On the other hand the right side of the menu bar is useful, since it gives me access to things like wifi and bluetooth status, vpn connections, caffeine, etc. Unfortunately the menus take a lot of space and overlap with the menulets and hide them, especially on a small laptop screen. Sometimes I won't even be able to see the time, if the application is particularly bad about the number of menus.

So, I would like to either hide all menus completely (and then use something like MenuPop in case I actually need one of those functions) or have the menulets on the right take precedence in being displayed rather than the menus on the left. Any ideas?

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Most programs define their menu bar items in an Interface Builder/Xcode resource file with the .nib or .xib file extension. You cannot completely remove the menu items without losing the menu item functionality (e.g. pressing Cmd-Q would no longer quit), but you can rename the menu bar items. –  Daniel Beck Jan 22 '12 at 22:10
    
Ok, this is helpful, a place to start if nothing else. However, I tried and opened the MainMenu.nib bundle from Firefox.app in Interface Builder, but it only has one button, so the rest of the menu has to be somewhere else. –  vlsd Jan 23 '12 at 20:02
    
Yeah. Firefox is cross platform and not a well-integrated OS X application. You'll probably also fail to assign custom keyboard shortcuts via System Preferences » Keyboard » Applications. Other examples include Eclipse (cross-platform), and pretty much everything by Microsoft (they roll their own solution). But Firefox is open source, that means you can just chance it yourself! ;) –  Daniel Beck Jan 23 '12 at 20:08
    
In other words, menus are very application-dependent. Well, that's a bit of a bother. Maybe I'll just play around and try and change things for the ones that annoy me the most. –  vlsd Jan 24 '12 at 23:09

2 Answers 2

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+50

It's not exactly what you requested, but might be acceptable solutions to the actual problem of overlapping menu items and status items: You could use Bartender to move the menu bar items to a separate bar that doesn't overlap with applications' menu items.

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I have tried this and I like it. I don't know if it is worth the steep price though. –  vlsd Mar 15 '13 at 3:31
  • You can try a free app called AccessMenuBarApps. It tries to solve the problem you describe (from http://www.ortisoft.de/en/accessmenubarapps):

    enter link description here Depending on what’s the size of your screen, the space between app menu and menubar apps is sufficient to see all menubar apps or not. With a giant display of an 27“ iMac (...) the menubar [is visible]. (...)

    But f you have a 13“ Macbook (Pro | Air) with a resolution of 1280x800, most time some of your menubar apps are hidden by the app menu.

    This is how AccessMenuBarApps works:

    The basic principle of AccessMenuBarApps is very simple: start an application that has a reduced app menu, so that there is a maximum space between app menu and menu extras. And therefore all menubar apps are visible and accessible.

    You can use keyboard shortcuts (by default Space) or mouse gestures to show or hide the app menu.

    Download AccessMenuBarApps from http://www.ortisoft.de/resources/AccessMenuBarApps2.4.dmg.

  • You can also try a free app called Menuola:

    A simple application to liberate your menu extras from the dark dank depths of your menu bar.

    Download Menuola from http://www.geocom.co.nz/applications.

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Both of those apps are great, but they require some sort of action be performed to show the menu extras. Some of the menulets have notifications or information that I would like to see without having to switch away from the current app that I am using. –  vlsd Mar 18 '13 at 17:33

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