When using Ubuntu, I appreciated the Head-Up Display functionality: Press a key combination and enter a search text for the menu item of the currently active application you wish to select.

Here's a screenshot:

enter image description here

Is there any way to add this functionality to MacOS? I'm okay with third-party applications as long as I do not have to subscribe to a paid plan; one-time payments are acceptable. Though, for others reading this question, hints about apps with subscription plans are also good.

I'm happy for any hints!

2 Answers 2


you can kind of do this natively.

Ctrl ⌃ F2 [or add Fn depending on which way you have your F-keys set]
H will select the Help menu [unless there's another menu starting with H, in which case start to type 'help' & it will find it.] *
will open it to the search entry
then you can start typing the menu name
again will step down the selection
Enter ⌅ will trigger the menu item selected.

enter image description here

It's fuzzy insomuch as it will find 'Show All' if you just type "'all'. You can also find bookmarks or history items this way, in e.g. Safari, but generally the search works in any app.
This, btw, is one of the things Apple really got right - a Help menu that's actually helpful.

* You can open Help directly from a key command if you enable it in System Prefs > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts.
This is in the same place in Ventura, it's just much harder to find…like everything :\
Default is Shift ⇧ Cmd ⌘ /

If you change your mind at any point, Esc will back you out one step at a time, to return to where you were.

  • Thanks for this answer! I knew about Ctrl + F2. Yet, your suggestion is helpful, especially regarding the help menu. This workaround is, unfortunately, inferior compared to Unity's HUD. I am looking for such an option across all top-level menu items. Aug 22, 2023 at 9:37
  • This finds all menu items, no matter where they are. You don't need to start in any given menu, though you can if you want to - start typing & it will select the first match. The Help menu is better because it's fuzzy. Typing directly into a menu isn't.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 22, 2023 at 9:39
  • 1
    Oh wow, I misinterpreted your answer! Your solution is to always select help, and from there, you find any menu item. And the blue arrow is added by the OS and not you when redacting the screenshot. The key is that the search in the help menu helps locate any menu item. Aug 22, 2023 at 9:45
  • 1
    Indeed it does & yes, the blue arrow is the system pointing helpfully at your current choice. If you use it a lot, it's a lot faster to enable the hot key [you can choose whatever trigger you like in the prefs panel] to save the first three key presses otherwise.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 22, 2023 at 9:47

I do something like this with BetterTouchTool to associate a trackpad gesture (in my case touch middle left side) with an action which opens a context menu with the current application's menu bar.

Displays like this wherever the pointer is currently located: enter image description here

BetterTouchTool has a serious learning curve, but the results can be worth the effort.

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