On a Mac, the “menu bar” is the horizontal strip at the top of screen. From left to right, the menu bar starts with an Apple icon, then the name of the currently active application, then a series of drop down menus specific to that application (for example, in Mail the drop down menus are File, Edit, View, Message, etc).

Continuing to the right, there is a series of small icons related to specific applications. These are often called “menu extras.” They allow you to launch and control applications directly from the menu bar.

The upgrade to Leopard 10.5.2 adds a helpful menu extra for controlling Time Machine. I like this menu extra – however, my MacBook Pro’s menu bar is now crowded. There are icons for Time Machine, monitor preferences, Spaces, iSync, Bluetooth, Airport signal strength, audio volume, input menu, battery indicator, an Adobe Bridge icon, an Apple Script icon, the clock, and finally Spotlight.

Most of these extras can be disabled in System Preferences. For example, to get rid of the Time Machine extra, simply go to System Preferences > Time Machine and uncheck the box that reads “Show Time Machine status in Menu Bar.”

However, there is a keyboard shortcut that allows you to both rearrange and remove menu extras. Simply hold down the Command key and drag the menu extra icons to reorder them.

To remove a menu extra, again hold down the Command key and drag the menu extra out of the menu bar. Then, let go of the Command key and the menu extra will disappear in a little animated explosion.

(The Command key is located next to the space bar, and is usually printed with an Apple or clover icon. Some people call it the “Apple” key.)

Most Apple menu extras can be restored to the menu bar in System Preferences.

Note that the clock and Spotlight cannot be removed with this tip, as they are not really menu “extras.”

Want to add an eject key to your menu bar? Check out this useful tutorial (with video):

http://www.methodshop.com/gadgets/tutorials/osx-menuextras/

You can view many other additional menu extras and applications here:

http://menu.jeweledplatypus.org/

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