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The Unofficial XaAES Page
Index Introduction Input devices Menus Scroll lists GEM windows System interface Appendix

Chapter 1 - The Unofficial XaAES Documentation 3. Menus

Most GEM applications make use of menus to let the user select between the program options that are at hand. A menu can either be opened from a button (popup menu), or dropped down from a menu bar (System menu bar or window menu bar). Regardless of which they are the exact same menus and as such will be controlled in the same way. All menus in XaAES can be navigated by using either the keyboard or the mouse. When you are using the mouse it is a matter of positioning the mouse pointer on top of the menu entry you wish to highlight and then press the left mouse button to select it. You can navigate within a menu using the up/down arrow buttons, and then finish off by selecting the highlighted menu entry by pressing RETURN or SPACE. You can also cancel the menu without selecting anything at all by pressing ESC.
XaAES also supports hierarchical menus, which means that a menu entry can have a submenu attached. When a menu entry owns a submenu this will be illustrated with a right arrow to the right of the menu entry text, as shown in the pictures below.
3.1 The system menu bar
One of the oldest features in Atari GEM is the concept with the system menu bar. In short, every GEM application can install a menu bar through which you can get access to important features of the program. The normal situation is that the application with the topmost window will also be the owner of the menu bar. As a result of this you will notice that if you put a new application on top, the menu bar will change to reflect that a new process has now been focused.
The GEM menu bar is positioned at the very top of the screen and can be accessed by simply moving the mouse onto one of the menu titles. This action will trigger the menu corresponding to this menu title to drop down. To select one of the entries in this menu you now need to move the mouse arrow on top of it and perform a single left mouse click. If you find yourself in a situation when a mouse is not at hand you can still access the menu by using the keyboard. Pressing the key combo CTRL+ALT+SPACE will open the menu belonging to the first menu title. Once the menu bar is active you can use the left/right arrows to switch to the drop down menu to the left/right.
3.2 Window menu bars
Just like the system installs a menu bar at the top of the screen, any window can also contain a menu bar at the top of its work area. This menu will work exactly like the system menu bar with the exception of the keyboard shortcut used to open it. Whereas the system menu bar is opened with CTRL+ALT+SPACE you should use CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+SPACE to open a windowed menu bar. In case there is no menu bar in the currently focused window, the system menu bar will be opened instead.


The Unofficial XaAES Page © Joakim Högberg 2003-2015