Starting with GnuEmacs 22.1, you can click the mouse on the major and minor mode names (called “lighters”) in the ModeLine to perform various actions.

‘mouse-1’ on the major-mode name brings up the MenuBar major-mode menu, if there is one. For example, in EmacsLisp mode, clicking ‘mouse-1’ on ‘Emacs-Lisp’ in the mode line brings up the ‘Emacs-Lisp’ menu-bar menu.

Minor modes also sometimes have lighters in the mode line, and they sometimes have menu-bar menus, but in vanilla Emacs there is no equivalent ‘mouse-1’ action for minor-mode lighters.

Library bindings+.el provides this feature. Put this in your InitFile to take advantage of this feature:

  (require 'bindings+)

This library tweaks the standard library bindings.el, hence the name.

I added this feature to vanilla GnuEmacs 23. So for Emacs 23 and later, bindings+.el just provides slightly better feedback than vanilla Emacs. – DrewAdams


Is there some mode to group the mode menus into one menu? When I use a narrow window and many minor modes some mode menus are cut of. – JonasBernoulli

What do mean by the mode menus are cut off? The mode menus in question are only displayed when you click the corresponding mode-line lighters. Are the lighters themselves cut off? Seems like if you can click a lighter to display its menu then Emacs should be able to display that menu properly, without cutting it off – e.g. by moving the whole menu left or right. Maybe you should file an Emacs bug? Perhaps post a screenshot here, to clarify what you see.

Certainly, if the window is too narrow then some lighters themselves will be cut off (e.g. not shown at all). It might be nice if, when that is the case, Emacs would gather all of them into a single link/button that gave access to all lighters and their menus. But then there would still be a problem when the window is too narrow to show even that link/button. The same thing could be applied to all mode-line fields, not just mode lighters: whenever some fields are to be cut off, gather them into a single link. IOW, in effect make the mode-line extensible via a link that pops up the parts that otherwise cannot be displayed. – DrewAdams

CategoryModes CategoryMenus CategoryModeLine CategoryModeLineConfiguration