Speeding up Your Menu Bar

Finding menu bar items by searching.

I don’t use a lot of shortcuts. I know a core set I for my most used applications but that’s about it. My problems with shortcuts are:

The last point is key. I associate actions with names, not with symbols. Names can be remembered and searched. And the best thing is actions with names can be triggered with a search.

Searching the Menu Bar

Getting to the point: I don’t see too many people searching the menu bar on macOS. It’s a fantastic feature. Instead of either remembering shortcuts for items or digging through the various menus by hand, just search for it! It’s incredibly convenient and very fast.

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Ideally, you’d set up a shortcut for this, for me it’s ⌥⌘?. This one shortcut is your gateway to all others. You can set up the shortcut in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts > All Applications > Show Help Menu.

Using Alfred

A great alternative is Alfred with the Menu Search workflow. It displays the menu items right within Alfred. This one is completely without shortcuts. Since I’m not a fan of unclear abbrevations either, I renamed the command from the default m to menu.

▶️ ↩️


This is the preferred way of computing for me. Thinking in terms of actions and names. Just type what you want to do and do it. The barriers to entry are low, the intentions are clear and the results predictable. Granted, shortcuts are a lot faster when mastered. But the investment is high and results volatile when you switch between a lot of applications.