I've discovered the menus are more-or-less as customizable as one would like, although it is mildly annoying to do this. Simply write your own Menu expression and use FrontEndExecute@ResetMenusPacket[{expr}]. If someone more expert has a better way, though, I would really like to know it.

For those glancing through, here is a minimal example of a dynamically editable menu-symbol:

$feStoredMenu = Automatic;
$FrontEndMenu := Replace[$feStoredMenu, Automatic -> $FEMenuRoot];
$FrontEndMenu /: 
  HoldPattern[Set[$FrontEndMenu, m : _Menu]] :=(
    $feStoredMenu = m;
$FrontEndMenu /: 
   Set[$FrontEndMenu, Automatic]] :=
     $feStoredMenu = Automatic; 
$FrontEndMenu /: 
   Unset[$FrontEndMenu]] :=
  	($FrontEndMenu = Automatic;);

Then do something like:

$FrontEndMenu =
    Menu["DoopDoop", {
      MenuItem["Copy", "Copy", MenuKey["C", Modifiers -> {"Command"}]],
      MenuItem["Cut", "Cut", MenuKey["X", Modifiers -> {"Command"}]],
      MenuItem["Paste", "Paste", 
       MenuKey["V", Modifiers -> {"Command"}]],
      MenuItem["Save", "Save", MenuKey["S", Modifiers -> {"Command"}]],
      MenuItem["Save as WL",
         {StringReplace[NotebookFileName[], ".nb" -> ".wl"], "Package"}
       MenuKey["S", Modifiers -> {"Command", "Shift"}],
       MenuEvaluator -> "Local",
       Method -> "Queued"
      MenuItem["Revert Menus",
       KernelExecute[$FrontEndMenu =.],
       MenuKey["R", Modifiers -> {"Command"}],
       MenuEvaluator -> "Local"]
    Menu["", {
       MenuEvaluator -> "Local"

And you have menus you can play with.

Original Question:

So I've been playing with FrontEnd`AddMenuCommands recently and I wanted to figure out what all I could do with it.

There are a number of answers on this site to specific menu editing commands, but there is no general reference.

I've been able to figure out a bit from the source files, including making a useful reference graph of all the menus and submenus:

Menu graph

using the following code:

$MenuSetupTR = 
  FileNameJoin@{$InstallationDirectory, "SystemFiles", "FrontEnd", 
    "TextResources", "Macintosh", "MenuSetup.tr"};
$MenuStringsTR = 
  FileNameJoin@{$InstallationDirectory, "SystemFiles", "FrontEnd", 
    "TextResources", "MenuStrings.tr"};
$menuStructure = Import@$MenuSetupTR;
$menuStrings = Import@$MenuStringsTR;
$menuNames = 
  Cases[$menuStructure, (MenuItem[__, 
       name_String?(StringContainsQ["Dialog"])] | Menu[name_, ___]) :>
     name, ∞];
menuRules[Menu[name_, e_]] := Menu[name] -> menuRules@e;
   ignore : (_String | _MenuItem | Delimiter | _AlternateItems)] := 
SetAttributes[menuRules, Listable];
menuPart[menu_, name_] :=

  FirstCase[menu, Menu[name, _], None, ∞];
menuPart[menu_, name1_, names__] :=

  Fold[menuPart, menu, {name1, names}];
menuEdges[menu_] :=
       Except[_Menu | _MenuItem | 
         Rule[_Menu, _] | _List | _String | _AlternateItems],
       ∞] //. {
       Rule[m_, expr : Except[_Rule]] :> Thread[m -> expr],
       Rule[m_Menu, Rule[subm_Menu, e_]] :> {m -> subm, subm -> e}
     ∞] // Flatten,
   Rule -> DirectedEdge];
menuGraph[menu_] :=
  With[{edges = menuEdges@menu},
    VertexShape -> {
      Menu[n_] :> Graphics[Tooltip[{Hue[.1, .8, 1], Disk[]}, n]],
      m_MenuItem :> Graphics[Tooltip[{Hue[.6, .8, 1], Disk[]}, m]],
      e_AlternateItems :> 
       Graphics[Tooltip[{Hue[.4, .8, 1], Disk[]}, e]]

But I was hoping someone might know which of these menus are actually editable and what I can add to them. There are also the dialogs, which I tried to scrape and found a few of and if someone could advise me on the use of these that would be a huge help too.

If this is too open ended, I'll refine the question, but in the meantime hopefully someone familiar with menu editing can help me out.

------ Update ------

Playing around with this I was able to find a way to more or less edit all the menus, but we have to do it manually. It takes a bit of work to do so.

My idea was to use FrontEndExecute@ResetMenuPackets[{menu}] and build the menu manually.

I created a special $FrontEndMenu symbol which basically routes Set to that (plus some utility code and whatnot).

Then create Add, Insert, Drop, Take, etc. commands to manipulate a Menu expression.

The toplevel menu expression needs to look like Menu["Mathematica", {submenus}] as best I can tell (anything else I tried crashed the system).

Then just save the basic menu expression from the MenuSetup.tr file (import it in the System` context) and work with that.

Doing this I've been able to completely my menus however I like:

Menu rewrite

Two issues: I don't know if this will work outside of Mac and it prevents the use of the AddMenuComands token.

Hopefully there's also a simpler way to do this... if anyone has better ways though that'd be great, otherwise this'll do for customization I guess.

  • $\begingroup$ Andy Ross wrote: "Controlling the placement with this method seems hard since there is no documentation on the topic. It seems that AddMenuCommands takes a front end token as the first input and then attempts to find the first instance in MenuSetup.tr and replace immediately after that. I've spent about all the time I think its worth trying to figure out more and have come to the conclusion that if you want highly customized menus you will probably need to edit MenuSetup.tr directly." $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 16:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So that's not completely true I think. You can manually set up a menu with FrontEndExecute@ResetMenusPacket[{menuExpr}]. I imported my MenuSetup.tr file, replaced the first argument of each MenuItem expresion with "test" and ran that through the ResetMenusPacket call and now all my menu items are "test". Presumably you could maintain your own menu cache and do the resetting manually? It would be mildly annoying, but not too bad I think. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 19:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You'll be happy to know that you can add new menu segments with this. I added a "Test" bit before "File" like this. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 19:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One issue: this method seems to lock the menu to AddMenuCommands. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 19:27


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.