I've just started using SecondBar to provide a menubar for applications that I display in an external monitor. It's a big help, except for one thing: dialog boxes (like Apple Menu -> System Preferences, or Firefox's add-ins) open in the main display.

Is there any way to make dialog boxes open in whichever display the menubar was clicked from? So that if I use the main Mac menu bar for apps in my main display, the dialog opens in the main display, and if I use the SecondBar menu in my external display the dialog opens in the external display?


I'm not familiar with how SecondBar works, but it looks like it's just a hack that duplicates the menubar on an external monitor. There's no operating system support for a second menubar so no support for determining which menubar was clicked and which monitor to open the dialog in.

Perhaps the developer of SecondBar could somehow intercept the command and redirect the dialog, but I really doubt this low-level jiggery-pokery is possible.

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  • See, that's the kind of thing that makes me really scratch my head when people extoll the virtues of the Mac UI. In my mind, an application's menu bar belongs with the application. If the application is displayed on a second monitor, the menubar should display on the second monitor as well. It should not be integrated into the OS to such a degree that all configuration, preferences, etc. that you work with for an application would be happening on a different monitor than you are actually viewing the application on. – EmmyS Mar 25 '11 at 20:39
  • SecondBar IS a hack - it's not perfect, because the menubar is duplicating what's on the main monitor. So if I have Thunderbird open in my first monitor, and Chrome open in my second monitor, the way I'd expect it to work (and the way it works in every other OS I've worked with) is that the menubar for Thunderbird is available in the first monitor, and the menubar for Chrome is available in the second monitor. – EmmyS Mar 25 '11 at 20:44
  • What SecondBar does is duplicates the menubar for the active application. So if I have Thunderbird open in 1 and Chrome open in 2, and Chrome is my "active" application, I see the menubar for Chrome in both monitors. It's better than nothing, because at least I don't have to change monitors to access the menubar for Chrome, but I do have to switch to deal with any dialogs. That's just ludicrous design as far as I'm concerned. (Didn't mean to turn this into a rant against Macs; I'm just finding it very frustrating after Linux, which lets me configure all these things however I want.) – EmmyS Mar 25 '11 at 20:44
  • "In my mind, an application's menu bar belongs with the application." This is true. However, in Mac OS X, the desktop spans all monitors. You cannot say "if the application is displayed on a second monitor" because an application can have multiple windows. Try opening two windows in Safari, put one in one monitor and one in the other. How does the OS know which "window" the application is in? It doesn't care, it only cares which monitor you made default by placing the menu bar. – ghoppe Mar 25 '11 at 20:46
  • "the way I'd expect it to work (and the way it works in every other OS I've worked with)" -- every other OS you've worked with probably has multiple menu bars attached to each application window. Mac OS has always been designed with the concept of a single menu bar for all applications attached to the main monitor. – ghoppe Mar 25 '11 at 20:46

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