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Optimizing Services Menu on Mac: Guide – Guide
It is an often overlooked form feature of your Mac. It’s there, waiting for you to use and customize it, but maybe you’ve forgotten it’s there. Or maybe you just don’t know what he’s capable of. Whatever the case, the macOS services menu available when you right-click on your Mac has many potentials, if you know how how to customize this. You can actually optimize macOS with a few tweaks to the services.
How did things get into the service menu?
My service menu is a graveyard of old programs that I tried and abandoned. A standard Mac installation doesn’t have much there. The Services menu has some simple commands like Open and Reveal in the Finder. After installing some programs, that menu is bloated. Even if you delete the main program, these service menu items will remain.back to menu ↑
How do you access services?
Most people find services by right-clicking on an item. Right on final from the list is the Services menu. In each program, under the program name there is a Services menu. Because they are contextual, the two menus differ slightly depending on what you are doing. Depending on what I’m doing, I’ll use the right mouse button more often than the service options in the menu.back to menu ↑
How do you configure the service menu?
You are not stuck to the menu the way it is. It’s your Mac, so set it up for your workflow. The Services options are hidden in the System Preferences at Keyboard-> Shortcuts-> Services. Apple organizes the Services menu by destination. Some destinations are a file type like image and text. Other menus are based on location, such as Internet or Messaging.
In each section, turn off the things you know you are not going to use. For example, I don’t use Safari’s reading list, so I disabled that option. I use Pocket and the Save to Pocket option has been disabled. I’m a big Pocket fan, so in this menu, I created a keyboard shortcut.
To create a keyboard shortcut, click in the none field next to the menu option. Some services have predefined keyboard shortcuts. To change them, click on this field and create a new keyboard combination. In this example, I use control + option + command + p to add text to Pocket. If I’m reading an article and it mentions a URL, I select that URL and type in this keyboard combination. The article is added to Pocket without me having to change applications or even open a browser.back to menu ↑
Service menu troubleshooting
Most programs use System Preferences to add and remove service items. Older or just stubborn programs do not use this menu. Instead, they place services in / Library / Contextual menu items. Removing unwanted entries should remove them from the service menu. Do not delete them until you are sure they are not needed anywhere else.back to menu ↑
Add your own services to the menu
We cover how to create new services with Automator and custom shortcuts. These custom shortcuts are part of the services menu. Some useful services that we cover are deleting .DMG files automatically after ejecting them, resizing files in batch and converting images to .png. My favorite is a service to create a fake bounced email. Apple removed this option from Lion, but you can add it again with these instructions.
If you mess up up from the Mac services menu, choose Restore Defaults from the keyboard’s system preferences. This will return your Mac to its settings before you make any changes. It will not remove third party entries, however. These entries are standard services for these programs.back to menu ↑
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