Blog Post

How to: Add Mac Menus on Multiple Monitors

home_officeOne of the biggest differences Windows users find when moving to a Mac is the single Menubar. Unlike Windows where each application contains its own unique menu, OS X provides one Menubar at the top of the screen. The Menubar changes context to reflect the active window. Now that James has a second monitor for his Mac, many folks with a similar setup are asking about multiple menubars. You can easily drag the menubar from one monitor to another in your Display Arrangement settings, but you can’t have two menubars. That makes for plenty of cursor movement when you need the menu.

I’ve had a external monitor attached to my Mac at the home office for months and found a free workaround some time ago. It doesn’t solve the problem by adding a second menubar, nor is it as elegant, but it addresses the issue just the same.

You’ll want to look at a free utility called DejaMenu. It’s a very small download and leverages the native Universal Access system preference. Once installed, you assign a key-combo to activate DejaMenu. I kept the default, which is Shift-Command-M, but you can assign one of your choice.

If I need the menubar on my external monitor, but it’s all the way over on my notebook display, I simply hit the key-combo. Right where the cursor is, up pops a cascading menu for the active application. Here’s an example of it on my external monitor which is where I keep my Mail application running:


I just happened to have my cursor in the Mail app, which is why the menu is floating in front of it. You can have the cursor anywhere on your monitor and see the same effect after hitting Shift-Command-M. Again, not exactly elegant nor ideal, but DejaMenu and a key-combo can save a ton of mouse movement when using a second monitor with a Mac. Especially when that monitor is 24-inches. I added a refurbished Samsung 24-incher back in November and love all of the real estate added by the 1920×1200 display when I’m at home.

12 Responses to “How to: Add Mac Menus on Multiple Monitors”

  1. I saw a application once that will move over your menu bar and a Doc for the Mac onto multiple monitors but now I can’t find it. If anyone knows what that is I would love to get one. Dejamenu will do for now and is definitely a step up. Thanks,

  2. Time to move up the mouse acceleration? I’ve been fooling around with the McMouse (arch mouse) and that baby can lay down some serious movement with a twitch.

    And while I realize Kevin likes using Command-Shift-m to activate Deja Menu those with Mighty Mice usually have Deja Menu bound to the scroll ball press or the squeeze buttons. Similar opportunities present themselves with the McMouse.

  3. I have to laugh at reading about James and yourself acting like you’re running the Boston Marathon because you’ve got 24″ monitors. If you want a real work out use one of Apple’s 30″ monitors: 2560 x 1600. Now that’s some room to stretch your mouse over!