One of the defining features of OS X, is that the menu bar is at the top of the screen. It’s not part of the application, or well document that you are working on.  This is all well and good when you are working on a single monitor. But, when you extend your display to a multi monitor setup, a problem appears.  The problem is that the menu bar is at the top of the main display.


OK whats the big deal?

Well when using Windows (any version) the menu is at the top of the document that you are working on. It does not matter if the document is on the primary display, or the secondary display. The menu items are right there on the screen that you are working on.

OS X puts a menu at the top of the primary display.  You can move it, but you can only put it on the top of the which ever display you choose to be the primary display.  If you are working with multiple screens and have documents open on both, you have to mouse back to the primary display to access the menu.  With Windows, or Linux for that matter the menu is at the top of the application and so there’s no problem, you have it right there on the monitor that you are working with.

Personally, I see this are a bit of a design flaw in OS X.  If I’m working with a document on my Cintiq, I have no choice but to put down the pen, grab my mouse, drag the pointer to the primary display, access the menu option.  Then let go of the mouse and go back to the tablet.

Switching the primary and secondary display could work, but that’s a pain since I’m working on a MacBook Pro.  I would much prefer not to have to continually alter my settings to work around something like this.

I have submitted feedback to Apple about this, but something tells me that they’ll not be in any hurry to fix a glaring problem like this which has been in the OS since they added support for multiple displays.

So, how about another solution?

Cue SecondBar.   This utility, whilst it says it’s a download for Snow Leopard seems to work fine on Lion. What is does is puts up a copy of the menu bar on the secondary display.  It does not contain the widgets from the top right, but it does contain the application menu items and the Apple Menu.

This solves the problem of trying to use my Cintiq without having to drop the pen every two mins to access the menu.

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