AliasMenu
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Is AliasMenu compatible with Intel Macs?

Not yet. Intel compatibility will appear in the next release.

Is AliasMenu compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger"?

Essential features work fine. But Tiger has broken an alias-resolution code in AliasMenu and this affects two minor features:

— The Quick Start menus don't work. Menus must be built manually with the Finder, by creating folders and dropping aliases to populate them.

Creating a menu using an alias instead of a folder is ignored because the alias is not recognized in that particular situation. You can, of course, use aliases to create menu items, but you must use actual folders to create menu titles.

These problems will be fixed in a future release. In the mean time, you can safely use AliasMenu with Tiger, taking them into account. All the rest works fine.

What was new in version 3.1?

Automatic link with AliasKeys. Any file appearing both in AliasMenu and AliasKeys will be displayed in the menu with the keyboard shortcut defined in AliasKeys. Both products are designed to work separately, nonetheless AliasKeys brings much more complete choice and ease to define shortcuts. AliasKeys can be freely tried for a month and is offered at a special price to registered AliasMenu users. More info

Alias icons are now displayed from the original files. The little alias arrow is gone from the menus (Yay!). The trade-off is that a custom icon pasted on the alias will not be taken into account. Only the custom icon of the original will be honored by AliasMenu. There is a way to revert to the previous behaviour, ask us if you need it.

Masking of numeric prefix is now optional. A new check box in preferences lets you choose to not hide numerix prefixes in file names. This is useful if some of your items have essentially numeric names, such as folders named with dates. Otherwise, hiding the numeric prefix is preferred by those who use them to control the order of the items.

CPU use is way less. The actual CPU needs vary a lot according to your menus: what you put in them, how deep they are, how often the contents change.

Problems with Panther are fixed. You can again use modifiers to reveal an item instead of opening it, get info, create a separator, etc. You can take a folder out of the AliasMenu folder safely, without getting a "ghost" menu. Quick Start items work again.

[Version 3.1.1] A bug that could make the "Open AliasMenu" button on the reminder alert unusable in some situation has been fixed. A couple of minor other bugs fixed.

[Version 3.1.2] Several problems fixed. Notably, menus updates failed if a custom icon was pasted on an alias used to create a menu (to get an icon instead of a menu title). The problem only appeared with aliases, not with icons pasted on folders. Custom icons on aliases are now ignored, only the custom icon on the original is taken into account by AliasMenu.

Does AliasMenu support the F16 key, available on some recent keyboards?

Only through AliasKeys support. There is no direct support for F16 in AliasMenu, as there is no glyph available yet to display it properly in a menu. If AliasKeys affects it to an item that is also found in a menu, AliasMenu will display a replacement symbol to show it. The F16 key will be fully supported by AliasMenu in a future version.

What was new in version 3.0.2?

You can now open with AliasMenu a document whose icon is selected in the Finder. Click once the icon of the document to hilite it, then choose the application you want in AliasMenu while holding down both control and shift keys.

You can hilite more than one icon to open several documents together while selecting the target application.

That way, you can open a document with a different application than its creator, as long as the application knows how to handle this type of document. For example, you can open a PDF document either in Acrobat Reader or in Preview.

What was new in version 3.0.1?

— Japanese localization.

— A new preference to show/hide icons in submenus. Hiding icons in submenus makes them much faster, while keeping the first-level menus pretty.

— If a key shortcut was set to a character both available on main keyboard and on numeric keypad, only the key on main keyboard triggered the shortcut. Now, both keys can be used.

Can I use an alias instead of a folder to create a menu?

Yes, as long as the alias points to a folder.

Can I have a different name/icon for the menu and the actual folder?

Yes. Use an alias, and rename the alias, and/or paste a custom icon on the alias.

In the System Prefs menu, I see preferences that I can't use. They don't appear in the System Preferences window. Why?

Some preferences panes are hardware-dependent and only appear when certain conditions are met, such as the availability of a tablet for Ink, or a Bluetooth device for Bluetooth. AliasMenu merely uses aliases of preference panes, and doesn't care about what the alias points to.

You can open the menu's folder (ctrl-click the menu title) and drag the unwanted preference panes aliases to the Trash. Shorten the menu by keeping only the most often used ones. Remember that you are free to rename the aliases, set keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Some of my menus are very slow. Is there any way to make them faster?

Mac OS X menus are slow, compared to Mac OS 9's. In Mac OS X, menus are actually semi-transparent windows that take a long time to draw. This sluggishness is not particular to AliasMenu, whose menus perform exactly like any other one. They should be perfectly usable, even on older Macs.

AliasMenu is not a file browser. It has not been designed to replace programs that offer hierarchical file browsing capabilities (such as the Finder). On the contrary, AliasMenu's purpose is to select a number of files, folders, servers, bookmarks, clipping files, etc. to build instant access menus to frequently used items.

If you create reasonable menus, avoiding too complex hierarchical structures, taking into account the realistic speed of your computer, you won't have any problem.

Using keyboard shortcuts for most frequently used items is very efficient. Shortcuts are fast because no drawing at all is involved.

When I click the buttons in Quick Start, the menus appear, but they are empty.

• Quit AliasMenu.

• Remove the empty menus by command-dragging them to the desktop.

• Locate the ~/Library/AliasMenu (disabled) folder.

• Drag the AliasMenu (disabled) folder to the Trash.

• Empty the Trash.

• Open AliasMenu and try again.

If it still doesn't work, do this again, and before trying again, be sure to logout and login back. This problem should be fixed in a future system software release.

I have mistakenly dragged a menu to the desktop and that made it disappear. Can I recover it?

Sure. In fact you have only disabled it temporarily. Look in ~/Library/AliasMenu (disabled) folder. If you move your menu's folder back to the AliasMenu folder, the menu will reappear.

Is it possible to get the menus in Classic?

AliasMenu version 2 can be installed in Classic at the same time as version 3 in Mac OS X. To mirror the menus in both versions, you must respect all the following conditions:

• Create an alias to version 3's AliasMenu folder. Put it into System Folder (or Preferences folder) in place of version 2's "AliasMenu Items" folder. The alias name should be exactly "AliasMenu Items".

• Use version 2's naming rules for the menus, that is, use a numeric prefix to set them in the desired order. For example, rename "Applications" to "3.Applications". Version 3 will not show the prefix either.

• As far as possible, avoid using Mac OS X photorealistic icons, which appear very badly in AliasMenu 2. Alternatively, you can disable icons entirely from AliasMenu 2's control panel.

• Disable version 2's keyboard shortcuts by unselecting all modifiers in its control panel. Version 3's shortcuts also work in Classic, thus version 2's might induce unwanted multiple openings of selected items.

If these conditions are met, coexistence of the two versions is very possible and easy. Registered users of version 3 can get a free serial number for version 2, just ask support.

AliasMenu installs files in several different places. How can I uninstall it?

Simply select Uninstall AliasMenu from the AliasMenu menu, and everything will be properly removed, except your own menus' folders, which will be recovered and moved to the desktop.

Okay, but where are the files installed by AliasMenu?

Parts of AliasMenu are in the following places:

• The application can be anywhere (moving it to the Applications folder is a good idea, but is not mandatory).

• AliasMenu.framework is installed in ~/Library/Frameworks. This is the actual code shared by menus.

• AliasMenu Prefs is in ~/Library/Preferences. This folder also contains the helper application and several other items for AliasMenu's internal use.

Also, the "AliasMenu" folder within ~/Library is where you put aliases and subfolders to create the menus. The "AliasMenu (disabled)" folder (also within ~/Library) is where AliasMenu moves menus that are removed by cmd-dragging them to the desktop. Only your own items are stored in these folders.

What exactly are the new features in version 3?

Version 3 brings a host of enhancements:

Menus are real menu extras. They can be mixed and intersperced with Apple's system menus and other third parties menu extras. They can be cmd-dragged to any position and order in the menu bar right side.

• There is no need to number-prefix the menus in AliasMenu folder. This feature is still supported for backward compatibility with version 2. Thus, using an alias, you can share the menus between version 3 and version 2 in Classic (see the FAQ entry on this subject for more details).

Hierarchical menus are supported. Version 2 needed BeHierarchic to handle them.

Millions-colors icons are supported. Version 2 only supported 8-bits icons.

Functions keys F1-F15 are supported for key shortcuts. Version 2 did not support them.

Horizontal space between menus can be set in preferences.

• Text menu titles can be set to use a smaller font size.

Icons in menu items can be set to any size, up to 128 pixels for spectacular photorealistic menus, great for visually impaired users.

• AliasMenu can look for a new version of itself and download it.

• Pasting styled text is supported and works even with large clippings. Unstyled text clippings are also supported. Version 2 only typed short strings of plain text.

Multilingual text is fully supported.

• Automatic date typing, both long and short formats, with respect for international settings.

• Pasting pictures is supported. PICT clippings are automatically completed with a TIFF version of the image for improved compatibility with Cocoa applications.

Are there any lost features from version 2?

• Version 2 supported coloring text of the menu title according to the folder's label. Apple didn't support labels in Mac OS X until Panther, and still doesn't support icon colorizing. If you really want this back, let us know.

• Version 2 supported per-application exclusion. Considering the powerful memory protection in Mac OS X, we have concluded that such a mechanism was not needed in version 3.

• Version 2 placed menus on the menu bar's left side, along with application's menus. Version 3 uses menu extras, which live in a memory space totally separated from the application's, and which only use the right side of the menu bar. There is no support in version 3 for placing menus on the left.

• Version 2 supported Mac OS 9's multi-users mode. Version 3 is single-user only, although it may be installed separately for several users of the same Macintosh. The single-user license permits to share it among users in this particular case, as long as it is not simultaneously used on another computer.

• Version 2 supported old-style FKeys, they are dead in Mac OS X. However, we are working on a public API to extend AliasMenu's capabilities. If you're interested, let us know.

Is AliasMenu a Cocoa or Carbon application?

AliasMenu is 90% Cocoa and 10% Carbon. The Carbon bits mostly relate to handling aliases and key shortcuts.

Who's responsible for this mess in my menu bar?

AliasMenu was created in 1990 by Benoît Widemann. Version 3 is a complete redesign for Mac OS X, started in 2002-2003 by Christine Buttin and Benoît Widemann.

We'll take this opportunity to warmly thank many good people who have helped along:

Frank Vercruesse, author of ASM, for his precious hints with menu extras;

• The great team of developers who "tamed the Jaguar", you know who you are;

Frank Lefebvre, for his undefective helpfulness and abilities;

• The beta-testers who did a great job to make AliasMenu as bug-free as possible.

A very special thanks to Christine Buttin for her efforts to make me move to Cocoa, and helping so much along the way.

And the biggest one to my wife Cécile Roumiguière for standing months of monomaniac babble and willingly enduring frequent user-testing and still keeping her humor.

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