You see those little icons in the image above? These are located on the top right of your computer screen and are called menulets. Well, they’re officially called Menu Extras although most people refer to them as menulets. These menulets allow you to control aspects of or provide information about your system.
For instance, the Volume menulet allows you to modify your computer’s volume and the Time Machine menulet allows you to stop and start Time Machine backups. If several people access the same machine, a helpful menulet is User. This displays the current logged-in user and clicking the menulet allows for fast user switching.
So how do you turn them on or off? This is typically done from a relevant pane under System Preferences. For instance, to show the Volume menulet, click the Sound icon from System Preferences and click the checkbox next to Show volume in menubar. In some applications you need to access the program’s Preferences in order to toggle the menulet on or off.
If you find yourself often inserting special characters into your documents, you might wish to display the Keyboard & Character Viewers menulets for quick access to special characters such as ⌘, ⌥, ⎋, or ➱ for example. To do so, click the Keyboard icon under System Preferences, click the Keyboard tab and then click the checkbox next to Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.
To remove a menulet from the menu bar, hold down the ⌘ key and then drag it off the menu bar. Or, uncheck its checkbox in the System Preferences pane.
To close the application associated with the menulet, right-click on the menulet and click the Close command, if available. You might also have to right-click and choose Preferences in order to close the menulet.
Menulets are handy little critters that can put a plethora of system commands right at your fingertips.
By the way, check out my post on Bartender for a program that helps you to organize and hide your menulets.
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