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The Apple Menu is one of the most versatile features of the Mac OS. It is ALWAYS available even when you start up with extensions off. You can put programs, files, folders or aliases in it which are always available. It supports sub-menus (go here if you don't see any triangles the right side of your Apple Menu) and you can even put an alias of your hard drive in it to make it easier to find ANYTHING!.

It is simply a folder named "Apple Menu Items" in the System Folder which you can manipulate in many ways. But don't rename it or move it out of the System Folder.

This box below shows the path to the folder
which pops up when you cmd+click on the window title


One of the most important items in the Apple Menu is the "About" option. It will give you basic info about any program which is active. The info may or may not have more useful information than the version of the program you are using.

When the Finder is active you will see "About This Computer" or "About This Macintosh" in OS8.1 and earlier .


This is the window you will see when you choose it. Here you will see how your RAM is being used and how large a block you have left to open other programs. I have 64MB of RAM installed and Virtual Memory set to 92MB. There is a single block which is 20.8MB available to open other programs.

You will notice that if you add up the RAM being used by the open programs, they use about 60.4MB. So why don't I have over 30MB left? That's because I have opened and closed a program or two. There is another 10+MB not being used but it is between the blocks being used by the open programs. A program needs a contiguous block of memory to operate. Also keep in mind that it will be the last program you opened that will add to that contiguous block of free memory. Closing a large program that was opened early in your session will only make available it's space not add it to the largest block.


Ordering the Apple Menu

Let's do some cleaning up of my Apple Menu.

I have added some things to it so it won't be just like yours but it does still need some work.














As I mentioned earlier the Apple Menu is really a folder in your System Folder and it is there that we can rework the Menu.

First notice that the folder contains applications, aliases and folders.

You want to be careful what you do with the items which are not aliases. If you trash them they are gone....

Also notice that the Apple Menu is always listed alphabetically, no matter how you sort the "Apple Menu Items" folder. But there are some tricks to overcome that a bit.


You will notice at the bottom of my Apple Menu is a folder named "System Util". You know it is a folder because of the triangle to the right of the name. In this folder I have a number of aliases to System Utilities I use.


I need to add my new virus software, Virex, to this folder.

I can do this a couple of ways. I can find the program, highlight it; choose Make Alias from the File menu, or use cmd+M; drag it to the proper folder in the Apple Menu Items folder; then change the name to get rid of the alias tag.


I can find the program, highlight it; and in the Apple Menu move down to Automated Tasks and choose Add Alias to Apple Menu, an alias will appear in the Apple Menu Items folder; then drag it into the proper folder in the Apple Menu Items folder.

I use those System Utilities rather often and I would like to make them a bit more accessible so I will reorder the Apple Menu Items folder.

By placing a space at the beginning of the folder name it becomes alphabetized before the A.

The more spaces you put in front of a name the higher it will be alphabetized. You can use characters like the dash, period, asterisk or tilde. Play with them and see what they will do. Some will sort to the top while others to the bottom of the list.

You can even make dividers by creating a new folder in the "Apple Menu Items" folder and naming it "---------".

I will do some more customizing and I'll start from the top. (Please refer to the first screenshot on this page)

  • The Apple System Profiler is what I consider a System Utility so I'll put it in there.
  • The CD player is what I consider to be a Desk Accessory. I will make a new folder "Desk Accessories" and put it there.
  • Automated Tasks is a valuable folder and I'd like fairly quick access so I'll leave it there. Once I learn more about AppleScript I'll put more in there.
  • The Calculators are also Desk Accessories.
  • The Chooser and Control Panels are items which I want easily available so they will stay as they are.
  • The Favorites folder.... where you can with Contectual Menus easily add YOUR OWN often used files and folders.
  • Kaleidoscope Schemes... one of those shareware "beauties" I can't live without. I need a change of environments as well as seasons. It stays!!!
  • Key Caps...It goes in Desk Accessories.
  • Macintosh HD.... This is an alias to my hard drive. It is a quick way to my HD. It is limited by the fact that you only can get 5 layers deep but it still is easy access when you have a bunch of windows open and need to get to something. It stays.
  • Quick Fax and Quick Page are part of my FAX software and I use them regularly. I'm going to put them at the bottom of the menu to make them easier to find.
  • Recent Applications and Recent Documents are pretty handy to return to items you have worked with lately you can adjust how many they will remember in the "Apple Menu Options" Control Panel.
  • The Scrapbook is a Desk Accessory
  • Screen Snapz is the program I use to take my screenshots, so it stays
  • I have a couple of Sherlock add-ons and Sherlock itself, this stays
  • Simple Sound and Stickies are Desk Accessories.


Here is my new Apple Menu. It is smaller and ordered a little better for me. Experiment with your Apple Menu and make it the way you like.









You can even create a launcher which is always within reach. Just create a folder which contains aliases of program that you use.





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