Hidden Menu Bar Apps

If you’ve used OS X for any length of time, at some point you’ll probably find yourself in the situation where you can’t get to the icon for an app on the menu bar, particularly if you are using a machine with a small screen (MacBook Air or Pro 13) or you use a projector in a meeting.  For me, the menu bar app that I need to get to in a meeting is Caffeine.  One way to get around this is to switch to an app that has a smaller app menu, such as Finder.  Sometimes even that isn’t enough, so there is another app call NoMenuBar that runs in the background that has no

There is another solution:  AccessMenuBarApps.

AccessMenuBarApps is a menu bar app (ironically) that temporarily hides the app menu so that the maximum amount of space can be devoted to menu bar apps.  The app provides the following ways to switch menu bar modes:

  1. Keyboard shortcut – The default keyboard shortcut is shift-space, but you can set this to anything you want.  I found the default keyboard shortcut to be really annoying, as I find myself pressing shift and space at the same time a lot.  I chose to disable this altogether.
  2. Mouse gesture – This is pretty cool.  With these gestures, a transparent image will briefly cover the menu bar and then the menu bar will switch states.  There are two gestures supported:
    1. Bump the mouse cursor against the top of the screen twice.
    2. Bump the mouse cursor against the top of the screen and then move it right or left.
  3. Menu bar icon – I guess in previous versions the menu bar icon used to be placed with the third-party menu bar apps.  Now the menu bar icon is placed on the far right so that it is always visible.  You can choose to hide the menu bar icon altogether if you want.  Clicking this icon will switch the state of the menu bar.
  4. Dock icon – By default the app shows an icon on the dock.  It allows you to change the icon into a clock or a pair of eyes that follow your cursor as well.  I already have too many icons on my dock, so I chose to hide it.

What is your experience with this app?  Are there other apps you have tried?