Review: OpenMenu X

Provides one-stop menu to access scripts, apps, shortcuts, and bookmar (June 28th, 2010)

OpenMenuX Rev 2.05 provides a one-stop menu to access scripts, launch applications, use shortcuts, and browse in a number of ways. The well-organized features of OpenMenu X are easy to use and customize.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Artman21 Inc.

Price: $10.00 US

The Good

  • Inexpensive.
    Multiple ways to access.
    Easy to use.

The Bad

  • Some minor bugs.
    The Finder already provides keyboard shortcuts for many of its features.

OpenMenu X is a utility application that to centralizes a number of commonly used features of the Finder and the file system. It gives you quick access to AppleScripts, currently running applications, a file browser, and a list of URL shortcuts.

You manage the features from an easy to use system preference that allows you to organize the menu, add application shortcuts, URLS, and custom scripts. OpenMenu X comes with a few URLs, and the Script Library contains over 80 scripts. You can customize OpenMenu X to include any file or folders you use frequently.

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System Preferences

You can access the features of OpenMenu X in three different ways. You can Control-click most windows, you can double-click the command key, or use the included menu bar icon. You can activate the type of access point you want in the Basic Preferences tab in the system preferences.

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Basic Preferences Tab

If you want to use the menu bar icon, the choices appear in a familiar hierarchical menu list style in your menu bar.

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Menu Bar Options

The well-organized features of OpenMenu X are easy to access, but unfortunately, in many cases it is easier to use existing keyboard shortcuts or OS features than to bother with this app. For example, at the top of the menu is the list of currently running applications. You can see at a glance the ones that are running, and you can click on one to bring it to the front and give it focus. This might actually be a useful feature if the Dock didn't already give you a visual indication of what apps are currently running or if application switching using command-tab was not implemented back in Mac OS X Panther (Mac OS X 10.3).

Another feature of OpenMenu X is the URL list. This is the same basic functionality that a browser bookmark provides, except that it's not going to synchronize them across your mobile devices like you can with a browser bookmark. Considering that I always have my browser open when I'm using my Mac, it's hard for me to imagine myself needing to access a URL from a Finder shortcut menu instead of just switching over to Firefox and picking my bookmark from there. Yet, you can have OpenMenu X open a Safari shortcut in Firefox instead. In addition, you just drag and drop a URL's icon to add it to your list.

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Add Twitter to URL Folder

Just when I thought I wasn't going to get much use out of this product, I came upon a situation for which it is perfectly suited. I had downloaded a utility application from the Internet and used it once or twice. Later I wanted to use the utility again but I could not remember the name. Thanks to OpenMenu X, I have quick access to a list of recently used applications and could recognize the icon in the list and launch the program.

Another View

While Orien wrote most of this review, he and I disagree as to the utility of this small application. When I tested it, I found the option to search YouTube without first opening the web page convenient, plus the ability to drag web sites into the URL list is nice. My bookmarks list is so large, that I find it convenient to have a short list handy. I have sorely missed an open and recent application menu that resides in my menu bar, instead of the Dock and OpenMenu X gives me back that OS 9 feature. It may seem superfluous, but with a 24" or 27" Mac, it's easier to access open and recent items from the top menu bar than scrolling all the way down or across to the Dock. I also rely more on the mouse than keyboard commands, so I appreciate the ability to launch scripts and other features of OpenMenu X with my mouse.

I did encounter a bug in Snow Leopard. After closing a program, it sometimes appears in the first space in OpenMenu X menu bar, instead of under Recent Items. When you click on the program when it resides in that position, you can see the folders inside the bundle, which is not a good thing. An inexperienced user could inadvertently rearrange pieces of an application. Artman21 regularly fixes bugs in his applications though, so I am sure a point upgrade fix will be forthcoming soon. The bug appeared randomly and did not affect other features of OpenMenu X.

I also could not find a way to limit or delete items in the Recent Items - Servers menu. My menu quickly became ridiculously long because I often mount other Macs through file sharing and switch out external drives. I would like a way to either hide just the servers or limit the list shown. Presently, your only option is a checkbox to Show "Running Applications" item or hide them in the Advanced tab of the preferences.

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Advanced Preferences Tab

Final Thoughts

OpenMenu X version 2.05 is a small download, coming in at just under 20 megabytes. It retails for a mere $10 USD, and an upgrade license costs $8. Orien thinks certain people will get more use out of this application than others, based on personal work flow style, but the price makes this utility appealing. While Orien gave the program 3.5 stars, I thought it warranted 4-stars, until I encountered the inconsistent display bug, but it did not hamper the programs ability to work correctly. I think it provides useful shortcuts at a great price.

by Orien Colmer and ilene Hoffman


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