Page MenuHomePhabricator

Menus And Submenus
Updated 2,063 Days AgoPublic


The Menu is a ubiquitous part of modern Graphical Operating systems and is commonly accessed by clicking a button or icon on a panel or taskbar. The infamous Windows Start button, for example.

Enlightenment provides this common user interface through the use of a Start Gadget which can be placed anywhere on the desktop - usually it is placed on a Shelf.

However, it is possible to remove the Start button. This may seem an odd thing to do to people unfamiliar with E. But fear not, this does not remove the Main Menu, merely its button. E's menus can be displayed by clicking on any unoccupied spot on the desktop.

In addition to accessing E's Main Menu from either the Start button or from the left-click on the desktop, there is a default key-binding to open the Main Menu from the keyboard. It's the Menu key! On most keyboards this key is to the right of the spacebar, between the Alt and Ctrl keys. Naturally this keyboard shortcut can be changed by the user or deleted altogether.

A minor digression on an aspect of E17's menu that may confuse some new users: As you scroll down the Main Menu list, the sub-menu entries always open to the right of the menu. Ordinarily this is not a problem, but what if you open the Main Menu close to right edge of the screen? In that case, the sub-menu may open and be partially or totally offscreen. In this scenario, you merely have to move the cursor against the right side of the screen, and the whole menu structure moves to left to reveal the hidden sub-menu items. Another example of the elegance and beauty of Enlightenment!

Menu Structure

This section is a brief description of the structure of E's Main Menu, although the best way to gain familiarity with the menu is to open it up and explore it. The Main Menu in a default installation of lists, from top to bottom:

Contains most of the GUI applications installed on your system, arranged in sub menus based on categories. Most command-line applications are not displayed in the Applications Menu by default. They can, however, be added.

Navigate is actually the menu-integrated form of the Enlightenment File Manager (EFM), which allows you to open many directories directly from the menu. It has the unique feature of being able to display sub-menus of the directories within directories, as well.

The EFM requires that the EFM (Starter) Module be loaded for it to function. This module is enabled by default, with the Places module as an alternative that also has a menu-integrated form. It can be unloaded, in which case it will disappear from the menu, as well as cease to function.

Run everything
Launches the Everything application. The Swiss Army Knife of Enlightenment!

Take Screenshot
One-click screenshot. This function is provided by the Shot Module, which is loaded by default. As with the EFM (Starter) and Places Modules, Shot can be unloaded, in which case the Take Screenshot option will disappear from the Main Menu.
Note: A screenshot of the desktop may also be taken by pressing the Print Screen key, and a screenshot of only a specific window may be taken by right-clicking most window-borders and selecting Take shot.

Allows an easy switch to any virtual desktop as well as fast access to Virtual Desktops Settings and Shelves Settings. You also have the option to show or hide all open windows on the current Desktop.

Gives an option to clean up windows, an option to find lost windows, and allows fast access to any open window.


  • About: Opens the About Enlightenment window.
  • About Theme: Opens an About Theme window which displays information about the current E theme.
  • Restart: Choosing this restarts E, sometimes necessary if settings do not seem to take effect or in the rather unlikely event that E17 seems to not be working correctly. This doesn't close any open files or apps or log you out, it just refreshes your interface!
  • Exit: Shuts down E.

Opens E17's Settings Panel and other settings options, as well as a menu-integrated form of the Settings Panel. A tweakers paradise!

Here are the familiar Shutdown, Reboot, Suspend, Lock, et. al. functions.

It should be further noted that loading certain Modules or changing some of E17's Settings may add or remove some menu items, as discussed for Navigate and Places above. Furthermore, adding applications to the Favorites Menu will add Favorite Applications to the top of the Main Menu list.

Modifying Menus

Favorite Applications

You can add apps you use the most or otherwise want to access quickly to the Favorites Menu. This list of favorite applications can be found in either the Main Menu or by right clicking any unoccupied area on the desktop. On a default installation, the Favorites option will not show up in the Main Menu nor will right-click open the Favorites Menu. This is because no applications are added to the favorites list by default.

There are two methods of adding an application to the Favorites Menu. For the first method, launch the application you wish to add, say LXTerminal. Right-click the application window's border (title bar) at the top. This will open a menu. Mouse over the application's name, then select the Add to Favorites Menu option (with the icon representing a bookmark). LXTerminal will now appear in your Favorites Menu.

The second method is pretty easy, too, just has a few more steps. From the Main Menu, choose Settings > All > Apps > Favorite Applications. This launches E's Favorite Applications window. Under the Applications tab, scroll down the list until you find the application you wish to add, click it to highlight it and then click the Add button. An indicator will appear beside the application's name. Click Apply and the application will be added to your Favorites list and appear in the Favorites menus. The advantage to using this method is that you also have quick access to the Order tab in the Favorite Applications window, this allows you to restructure the order in which favorite applications appear in the menu.

To remove an application from the Favorites Menu, launch the Favorite Applications window as described above. Go to the Order tab. Find the application you wish to remove, click it to highlight it and then click the Remove button. Now click Apply and the application will be removed from your Favorites Menu.

Some of the information contained in this document was used, with permission, from the Bodhi Guide to Enlightenment.

Last Author
Last Edited
Dec 26 2013, 8:35 PM