I’ve closed the poll that asked AutoCAD 2009 users about their MENUBAR setting. It’s very clear that pull-down menus are still very much in use in the Ribboned world of post-2008 AutoCAD. In AutoCAD 2009, an attempt was made to provide access to pull-down menus without sacrificing that strip of screen real estate. That attempt was called the Menu Browser, it was one of the thing you could find under the Big Red A, and it really didn’t work very well. In AutoCAD 2010, the Menu Browser has gone away. The A hasn’t gone away, just the ability to access pull-down menus through it.
There are some who have expressed a deep dislike of the Big Red A, although it never offended me greatly. I just wished the features hidden under it worked better than they did in 2009. Personally, I generally prefer what’s under the A in 2010 than what’s there in 2009, but you may not. I know that when the 2009 user interface was being attacked, its most prominent defenders were those keyboard-heavy users who turned both the Ribbon and the menu bar off, giving themselves more screen space. On the infrequent occasions when a pull-down menu was required, those people were content to provide an extra click.
When I found out about the Menu Browser’s death a few months ago, I expected there would be a severe adverse reaction from such people. Maybe there will be one when people hold get the shipping product and notice it’s gone. But after my poll showed only 7% of respondents used it instead of the menu bar, I’m now expecting that adverse reaction to be smaller than I originally thought.
If you want to use AutoCAD 2010, want to work without a menu bar but still have access to menu items occasionally, what can you do? You can add a button to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), or any other toolbar, that toggles the menu bar on and off. Use the CUI command to add such a button.* The following macro will do the job:
There are a couple of downsides to this method. First, although this macro has been written in such a way that it should be transparent, it doesn’t currently work that way. When you push the button, AutoCAD will still cancel any command you’re in. Second, the screen resize forces a redraw, which could slow you down in very complex drawings. However, under most circumstances that redraw will still be quicker than waiting for a reaction from AutoCAD the first time you pick the Big Red A. By the way, that reaction time is better in 2010 than the very tardy 2009. As a result, even AutoCAD 2009 users might prefer to use the QAT-button method and forget the Menu Browser ever existed.
* If there is enough interest, I will do a video tutorial explaining how to add such a button to the QAT.