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Better Late Than Never: Ubuntu Add Locally Integrated Menus to 14.04

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 19.51.23It’s been a long time coming, but Ubuntu 14.04 finally offers users the choice of where they want application menus to appear.

The Ubuntu desktop has used a global menu bar based at the top of the screen since Ubuntu 11.04. Its introduction was not without controversy, and subsequent decisions to hide menu entries automatically until moused over proved equally contentious.

The implementation is slightly different to that which was originally proposed several years back. Instead of hiding behind a button app menus are embedded directly in the window decoration. Not only does this continue to save on vertical space (the justification behind putting the menu in the top bar to start with) but they’re also much easier to discover – something novice users will appreciate!

When the menus are wider than the available space the trailing options are tucked inside a small caret drop-down positioned at the end.

lim not enough space

How Menus Appear In Smaller Width Windows

The insertion of menus into the title bar looks like it could cause unwanted issues, right? Thankfully it doesn’t.

Clicking on an application window bar to move it works exactly the same as before. Menus are only triggered when the mouse hovers over the menu area for a split second longer than it would for moving a window.

Ubuntu Lim in Action

Ubuntu’s new Locally Integrated Menus in Action

‘Won’t Be Default’

The feature won’t be made default but will be easily available to enable through a check box in the ‘Appearance’ pane of the Unity Control Centre. 

Locally Integrated Menus will prove to be particularly helpful on big screens or those with fancy-pants high pixel density displays. In those cases where the ‘travel’ from application to the menu bar at the top of the screen is far greater than on smaller screens, and thus less helpful as a result.

Expect to find the feature land in development builds of Ubuntu 14.04 sometime in the coming days.

Second Image Credit: WoG