Sep 03

NOTE: THIS SOFTWARE IS REALLY IN ALPHA STATE. E.g. it crashes Gecko based Apps atm.

I recently switched from Windows to Mac and I’m happy with this decision most of the time. But sometimes Mac OS X just makes me sick. I totally dislike the multimonitor support in Mac OS – even in Snow Leopard it just sucks. If you have two – or more monitors connected to your Mac or Macbook you still have only one Dock and one Menubar. So if you are working with a program at a screen without menubar and want to use the menu you have to move your mouse all the way back to the menubar (just to move it back to the other screen a few moments later).

So a few days ago I decided to solve this problem for me and began programming a little tool. Now it is far far away from beeing perfect, it has many bugs and many todos but basically it works. ATM I call my tool SecondBar (because yet it only supports a second menubar, future versions will let you have as many bars as you want).

I’m a total noob in programming Mac OS X so it was hard to get it working… there are many limitations which I didn’t come around yet. For example the behaviour of the buttons is not like the ones in the original Menubar. SecondBar also is pretty slow, I’ll try to solve this in future versions. Some programs like Firefox are not supported yet, I hope to solve this with a future version too.

If you still want to try SecondBar get the current Version in one of the newer posts of this blog ( )

You have to enable access for assistive devices in order to get it work, this can be done in the system preferences of your Mac.

If a button goes red when you click on it, this means that the menu isn’t loaded completely or that the program is not supported yet.

Here is my list of TODO’s:

  • make it faster
  • make it support all programs
  • display key combinations like in the real menubar
  • make the button behaviour more like the real menubar
  • support more than one additional menubar

I don’t know if someone will use this tool, so if you like the idea (not the realization, because this is far away from final) post a comment and I’ll put more effort in getting it work smoothly.

written by Andreas Hegenberg

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44 Responses to “SecondBar – gives you a second menubar for OSX”

  1. 1. Louis Says:

    I just ordered a second display literally last night, and was wondering how I’d cope with just having one menubar for the two displays. I definitely think that this is a good idea.

  2. 2. Sid Says:

    This would be amazing – though I have been using osX for a while, I have only recently started using a second screen and could definitely use some of the functionality you have described. I’m still using Tiger, so I don’t know if ‘secondbar’ will work for me, but will definitely give it a whirl as you continue to keep it updated. I’ll be switching to Snow Leopard soon, so I guess I’ll use it then.

  3. 3. fidel Says:


    the idea sounds great – as Apple seems to be totally ignoring dual-(or more) monitor users regarding the menubar.

    I’ll try it as soon as i switched to 10.6. The current version doesn’t even start in 10.5 so i have to wait some more days 😉

    Best regards & i wish you good luck with this project.


  4. 4. admin Says:

    Oh good to know it doesn’t work on 10.5, maybe I use some 10.6 specific functions…

  5. 5. Scott Says:

    i’ve been waiting for something like this, but i’m still on 10.5.

    For a workable solution, you don’t even need to duplicate the menu bar, just move the menu bar back and forth based on the screen containing the mouse. But best of luck.

  6. 6. RipCat Says:

    On 10.5 but this is something I really need. I use four monitors, inc a Cintiq wacom. So being able to duplicate the menu bar is a massive time saver for me. Keep it coming, good luck!!!

  7. 7. George Says:

    This sounds like an excellent app, need to wait on updating to 10.6 but looking forward to trying this out.

  8. 8. SoulTrader Says:

    great idea, but on my Mac Pro it crashes all the time and I can’t hide the dock icon, if I do it disappears with crash notice at all.

    If you can get it stable it is gold.

  9. 9. blank Says:

    Great Program. Finally a solution that works – i used applescript in order to move my window positions but for some reasons the lag was beyond reasonable. Just one question/comment – is it possible to get another quickkey (control-option-command down) to display a window on the second screen on the lower (laptop) monitor in fullscreen? I use the big one as main screen, and my laptop is positioned directly below it. In case i want to move the window to the smaller (laptop) screen i always need to resize it – which sucks. Any chance you can implement that feature?

  10. 10. nyso Says:

    Love these tool, please also add a possibility to switch to the old size of a window.

  11. 11. Xavier Says:

    This is what I have been looking for. I will try it as soon as I get my second screen. 😀

  12. 12. chris Says:

    Great idea – i’ve been looking for such a solution all since OS 9 days!

    Would be nice if you’d put some more work into it.

  13. 13. ClimbrJohn Says:

    Love this app; thanks so much! Looking forward to future releases.

  14. 14. kb Says:

    I am delighted by secondbar thus far but have a small request, which I hope you can incorporate into your update. Secondbar works fine for me using OSX 10.7.2 on my single Dell monitor connected to my MBA but only for a single “space” (usually the space assigned “desktop 1”). If I swipe between spaces, the Secondbar ribbon is hidden, but returns if I swipe back to the original space. It would be great to have Secondbar running on the “active” Space on the monitor.

  15. 15. Ish Says:

    This is a great utility app.. For all the good things that Mac possesses this was a silly thing to leave out. You have done a great job in getting this app working. Hope you finish your todo list as soon as possible and come out with a “multibar” which can support spaces and give access as to as many menubars required. Thank you for doing this!

  16. 16. ndin Says:

    Hi. This app is fundamental for my two monitors workflow. No crashes in some months of heavy use.
    I would only need a small (but maybe difficult to realize) thing: a menu where to put somw apps or folders, in order to avoid switching from a monitor to another one.
    Thank you for your work!

  17. 17. Macomar Says:

    Great tool and good work !!! Keep it up and develop the tool further.

  18. 18. Wilco Says:

    great application. However, I noticed that for some reason secondbar pops up after I toggle to and from full screen in VLC. Any idea why?

  19. 19. Wilco Says:

    I just tried that version 0.00965 doesn’t appear when toggling full screen and back.

  20. 20. Dork Says:

    It’s a great tool – i love it, but I wish that when I use it with spaces the second bar would appear in every space and not just one of them.

  21. 21. Dork Says:

    Never mind! I figured it out – from the dock icon, select the option for “assign to all desktops” and it can be seen in all spaces! Fantastic.

  22. 22. Wryter Says:

    About a year ago I looked everywhere for a tool like this, and couldn’t find one. I think it is awesome that you are working on this.

  23. 23. Camaratwinrc Says:

    Love this app… Just found it. I am already can’t imagine second monitor without it.

  24. 24. Camaratwinrc Says:

    haha my last comment wasn’t english…

  25. 25. Pedro Costa Says:

    Thank you for this app!
    Unfortunately it doesn’t work with the app I need the most… Emacs…

  26. 26. pierrico Says:

    i just installed SB, opened it. works fine except i don’t see it in the dock, neither menubar. how can i quit?

  27. 27. jossy Says:


    I have been so impressed with better touch tool that I bought better snap tool to thank for your effort .. I bought a second monitor few weeks ago and I am in the process of installing the second bar. Unfortunately when I click the zip file nothing happens and when I checked activity monitor couldn’t find any evidence of it running in the background either. Hope you could help.



  28. 28. Robert Says:


    Just what I was looking for. I’m running Photoshop CS6 on 2nd (carefully calibrated) NEC 26″ Monitor next to my 27″ iMac… My neck was hurting from the back & forth. Seems to work great in Lion.

    FYI-minor bug, when I maximize the Photoshop window, zooming the photo cause the window to bounce up into the gap you have left then back down because the window is slightly longer than the screen. Easily solved by manually making the window slightly smaller than the entire screen.

    Thanks for writing a handy utility


  29. 29. Michele Says:

    Hi. How can I thank you for your work? (Ok…donating…I’ll do it with my first stipend…I pormise).
    A suggestion for SecondBar. As I need a second Dock or a menu in with apps in the MenuBar (XMmenu is what I use in my primary monitor), it would be very useful to have a customizable menu in the second MenuBar, to add links to apps, documents and snippets.
    Thank you again.


  30. 30. Alex Says:

    Great app that has make working with multiple monitors much easier! I have a multi monitor set up and have more than one copy of SecondBar running by renaming it to ThirdBar and such. I was wondering if there was a way to make it default to a display other than the secondary one. I have to keep moving the third menubar to the third display anytime I use a application in fullscreen.


  31. 31. GuuZ Says:

    Great, keep up the good work!

  32. 32. Paul Says:

    Thanks, I’m mainly a windows guy, and the unmovable menu bar is a true pain due to the fact that app menu bars are forced to share it. This was a big problem when we installed a multitouch smart board and had to use it with a mac – the top of the board was unreachable by most board users. This meant that app menu bars were unusable except by keyboard/mouse. Moving the board was not an option. SecondBar solved that issue for us! Thanks again.

  33. 33. KatsOide Says:

    I have been using Secondbar for 2 years and love it. One thing is it appears on the main screen even without the second screen, when the full screen mode is turned off. I have to hide it every time.

  34. 34. Matt Says:

    Can you add an option to hide SecondBar’s clock? I’d rather not have two clocks on my screen and I like it in the main menu bar the way osx has it now.


  35. 35. Julian Says:

    Great little app
    But it only shows at the top of one desktop. When you have multiple desktops it disappears! Any chance of fixing this?

  36. 36. Dave Says:

    I have two 27″ monitors, and it was killing me that I did not have a second menu bar (it is also killing me that I don’t have a second dock) This tool is a great idea and I am sure I will come to rely on it just like your BetterSnap tool.

  37. 37. Gil Says:

    I agree with Julian. With Multiple Desktop support, this would be awesome. I notice that when three finger swiping between desktops, SecondBar appears during the swipe then disappears when the new desktop settles. Hopefully that will be a clue to fixing this.

  38. 38. Matthew Says:

    I’ve noticed that SecondBar has a problem with the Filemaker Pro when databases use customized menus. The main screen works correctly but the second screen does not show the correct menu and the menu does not function.

  39. 39. barry Says:

    Good job. glad to use it.
    How does one access the Preferences??

  40. 40. Fritz Says:

    may I suggest adding the ability to NOT have the second bar show up until the 2nd screen does?
    As barry asked, prefs?

  41. 41. George Abbott Says:

    I LOVE this app. A bug I have to report because it drives me nuts! When secondbar is running when I right click on an attachment in Outlook 2011 (to decide where to save it) the outlook window maximizes. I don’t know why or how easy a fix this is but if possible a fix would make me a very happy man.

    Thanks, George

  42. 42. Multiple Spaces Working Says:

    I have SecondBar working on multiple spaces.
    Open the SecondBar preferences menu (it’s on the menubar), enable it to show on the dock. Right-click (or control-click or two finger tap) the SecondBar icon in the dock, and go to Options. In Options set it to be Assigned to All Desktops.
    I later went back to SecondBar preferences and unchecked the option to have it show in the dock.

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  44. 44. Tim Says:

    First, you did a great job.
    As to ‘todo’s’

    I would make the menu resizable. In most instances, the app menus are very short, and if you have big screen, a long ribbon across it is rather useless. all you need are the menu pics, and if you could resize these as windows, you would be where you wanted to be.

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