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I have just bought a MacBook Pro 15 and I am finding the Menu Bar very difficult to work with.

For example; if the calculator is in the bottom right of the screen an I am focussing my eyes on it I can't even see the Menu bar. If I want to use something from the menu I have to push the mouse 3 or 4 times with the track pad to get up to the menu (e.g. for a convert function) then 3 or 4 times to get back down.

Is it possible to make the menus appear in the applications?

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    If it takes you 3 or 4 moves to get to the top of the screen, you might want to increase your tracking speed (in System Preferences -> Trackpad preference pane -> Point & Click tab). Aug 10, 2014 at 1:48
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    → Gordon: please make an answer of your comment since you've seen the real hidden problem and suggested the right fix :).
    – dan
    Aug 10, 2014 at 13:46
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    @GordonDavisson Then that means you don't have fine control of the cursor and even with the most speed it takes 2 moves
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 18, 2014 at 21:25
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    @Mark: tracking speed is not linear -- if you move your finger across the pad slowly, it'll take a couple of moves to get all the way across, of you move faster it'll go further in a single pass. I can get from bottom to top in a single (fast) move on my MBP 15", with the trackpad on anything except the slowest two settings (and even on the second-slowest setting, I can do it if I move my finger fast enough). Aug 19, 2014 at 14:28
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    @danielAzuelos, the real problem is that the menu is at the top of the monitor. I have ~ 4000x3200 px screen. Having the menu at the top is really a bad idea. Nov 14, 2017 at 16:09

3 Answers 3

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No is the simple answer.

The Mac UI is based on the premise of the application menu always being at the top. The reasoning was that you just have to move the mouse to the top of the screen to ensure you were at the menu, no hunting to find the menu bar on a window that could be anywhere on the screen.

This has been the case since the beginning of Mac OS in the early 1980s

This can get some getting used to if you are coming from Windows.

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    Is there a complicated answer that ends in yes? :) e.g. an application that does some sort of compositing and duplicates the contents of the menu bar above the current Window? Why would you be hunting for a window anyway? The menu bar changes based on the active window so presumably you are already working in it.
    – opticyclic
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:02
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    Unlesss an application is written specifically to put menus on the windows(and some java based apps are built this way) then the answer is probably no. Aug 9, 2014 at 16:03
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    @opticyclic there is no complicated answer that gets you to yes here I'm afraid. This is OS X. I can't speak for everyone, but after time, having menus attached to windows start to seem...wrong.
    – Ian C.
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:41
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    Unfortunately the original screen was 9" now 3-4 times the size so yes you now have to move 3-4 times as far
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 18, 2014 at 21:27
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    The reasoning should be that everyone should decide whether they want the menu at the top or not. I have the menu around one meter across the screen. Terrible UX. Nov 14, 2017 at 16:11
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Yes! You can do this, sort of, but if you are willing to adapt to the Mac way of doing things, I think you'll eventually prefer it.

First, how to (sort of) achieve what you want. Download & install BetterTouchTool, a utility for all kinds of customization and automation. It's very powerful (but the UI is a little bit wonky).

Open BetterTouchTool, and go to the section called "Automations & Named & Other Triggers". Be sure that on the left side of the screen "All Apps" is selected (unless you want this behavior in only a specific app).

Navigating to the right part of BetterTouchTool

In the pane with the title "Groups & Top-Level Triggers", click the "+" icon at the bottom, and then click "Select Trigger" in the pane on the far right, and search for "Doubleclick Window Titlebar" and select it.

creating a trigger in BetterTouchTool

Then click the "+" icon in the pane entitled "Actions Assigned to Selected Trigger", and click the button on the right and choose "Show Menu in Context Menu".

enter image description here

Now you can open Calculator and have a menu (in a context menu format) available by double-clicking the window title bar: Calculator with Menu (in a context menu) available by double-clicking the Window Title Bar

This is as close to what you described as I think is possible.

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    This is wonderful I have a 4k, native resolution display and my mouse is set to the slowest possible because my hands shake. The Mac menu bar is often many mouse moves away, it's a huge PITA. This makes application windows work much better for me. It's also a good way to be sure the menu you want is the one in the current context, which the Mac menu system fails horribly at. You want to disable double click to zoom in system settings / preferences to work with this as well.
    – fyngyrz
    Feb 25, 2023 at 17:57
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    @fyngyrz: awesome! I'm glad to hear that it helped!
    – iconoclast
    Feb 25, 2023 at 20:15
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Short answer: No, it is not possible to modify the Mac UI in that way, any more than it is possible to modify the Windows UI the other way.

Long answer: You could code your own programs to put menus on the window. Mac users will complain bitterly about it. Every time I open Inkscape (which does put it's own menus on the window) I end up using another application's 'Save' on the main window.

You have obviously recently switched from Windows or Linux. Neither method is "better", it's a design choice. Like most other switchers (in both directions) you try to remake the new UI in the image of the old.

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    Design choices have functional implications: having a two-door car means it's much harder to get in or out of the back seat. In the case of MacOS, while a screen-top menu made some sort of sense when screens were tiny and the top of the screen trivially accessible, it makes no real sense with huge screens. The best solution argueably, was Acorn's RiscOS (and sometimes X) where ALL menus were context-sensitive, context-local, and appeared only on demand. Mar 15, 2023 at 18:35
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    I owned one of the first 3000 Macs made. I have used Macs since then as well as often DOS, Windows, BSD Unix and Linux. Until I could afford a large 4K screen I saw no usability difference between the MacOS and Linux default menu placement. I now second the comment of @TimBaverstock. For those of us lucky enough to afford larger screens that accommodate many windows, it is now too far to comfortably move the mouse, when the menu bar is only at the top. I think an option (not the default) should be to attach the menus to the title bar as done on Linux. MacOS is a *nix flavor after all. Apr 18 at 3:38

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