EasyMenu

EasyMenu (lisp/emacs-lisp/easymenu.el) is a package which allows you to write menu definitions which work under both, Emacs and XEmacs.

Generally, there are more ways to define menus, since menus in Emacs are implemented as keymaps. This is why you add a menu definition to the mode-map of a mode, for example. Whenever the mode is active, its mode-map is also active, and your menu therefore visible.

Simple Example of Defining a Menu

Here is a basic example showing how to use EasyMenu. ‘my-menu’ is the symbol used to identify your menu, and ‘my-mode-map’ identifies the keymap for the mode where you want the menu to be visible.

    (easy-menu-define my-menu my-mode-map "My own menu"
		      '("My Stuff"
			["One entry" my-function t]
			("Sub Menu"
			 ["My subentry" my-obscure-function t])))

XEmacs Requirement

If you are using GNU Emacs, you are done with this piece of code. XEmacs, however, requires you to add the menu explicitly, so do it anyway, and it works in both flavours:

    (easy-menu-add my-menu my-mode-map)

A Menu-Bar Menu

You can also add menus and menu items to the global menu bar. Here is an example that adds an entry to the Tools menu. Watch out, the name of the menu where you want to add the item (the PATH parameter) is case sensitive.

    (require 'easymenu)
    (easy-menu-add-item nil '("tools") ["IRC" erc-select t])

One way to determine PATH is to use C-h k and click on a menu item close to where you want your entry to appear. The ‘*Help*’ buffer then says something like:

    <menu-bar> <tools> <games> <tetris> runs the command tetris
       which is an interactive autoloaded Lisp function in `tetris'.

Conditionalize a Separator Line

Finally, something that is not documented and not so obvious: how to conditionalize showing a separator line.

You normally define a separator line using just "--" — that is, just a string, not a vector. But in that case there’s no way to add a :visible keyword to conditionalize when the separator should be shown. To do that, you can use a vector, binding the command ‘ignore’ to the menu-item name ‘--’:

    ["--" 'ignore :visible (featurep 'bookmark+-lit)]

In this case, the separator is visible only when library bookmark+-lit.el has been loaded. This is useful when you have a group of menu items that are all conditionalized the same way and when they are shown you want them to be set off with a separator. (But you don’t want the separator to show when the items are not shown.)


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