Cinnamon is the flagship desktop environment (DE) of the Linux Mint distro. It is a modern, feature rich DE which is highly customizable. However, its stock menu for launching apps is not perfect. Many users find it has limitations or bugs. Here is an alternative apps menu for Cinnamon, which will improve your user experience.
The default menu of Cinnamon is not actually bad. It has a favorites bar, can show shutdown actions and file manager bookmarks. However, many users name the following issues present in the stock menu:
- It is not customizable: you cannot change the menu layout, you cannot change how the shutdown actions look, you cannot swap categories and the app list. It is not possible to disable the "All applications" item.
- When you have many apps in favorites, it increases the size of the menu, which is not OK on low resolution displays.
The stock menu shows favorites as icons only. There is no way to turn it into a category to make icons have titles.
- Sometimes the stock menu becomes slow. For no reason, it opens the category with a notable delay. The issue appears randomly. Other users report that the menu itself opens slowly for them.
If you are not happy with the appearance or the behavior of the default menu, you can switch to an alternative menu applet. There are a number alternative menus available in the applet repository, but I suggest you try the one named Custom Cinnamon Menu, created by Odyseus.
It is very flexible! The applet allows you to customize every single option of the apps menu. Probably this is how the default apps menu should be implemented. After playing for a while with its options, I got the following menu in my Cinnamon:
Take a look at the Settings window of the applet:
- The searchbox can be moved to the bottom or completely hidden. It can also have a fixed width or an automatic width to fit the menu width.
- The applications info box can be aligned to the left or be hidden.
- The size of the Favorites/Categories/Applications icons can be customized.
- The amount of recent files can be customized.
- The Quit buttons can be hidden all at once or individually.
- The Recent Files category can be hidden. This is for people who want the Recent Files category hidden without disabling recent files globally.
- Added a custom launchers box that can run any command/script/file and can be placed at the top/bottom of the menu or to the left/right of the searchbox.
- Custom launchers icons can have a custom size and can be symbolic or full color.
- Custom launchers can execute any command (as entered in a terminal) or a path to a file. If the file is an executable script, an attempt to execute it will be made. Otherwise, the file will be opened with the systems handler for that file type.
- The Quit buttons can now be moved next the the custom launchers box and can have custom icons (ONLY when they are placed next to the custom launchers box).
- The All Applications category can be removed from the menu.
- The Favorites can now be displayed as one more category. The All Applications category has to be hidden.
- The placement of the categories box and the applications box can be swapped.
- Scrollbars in the applications box can be hidden.
- The padding of certain menu elements can be customized to override the current theme stylesheets.
- Recently installed applications highlighting can be disabled.
- Recently used applications can be remembered and will be displayed on a category called Recent Apps. The applications will be sorted by execution time and the name and icon of the category can be customized.
- The default Add to panel, Add to desktop and Uninstall context menu items can be hidden.
- The menu editor can be directly opened from this applet context menu without the need to open it from the settings windows of this applet.
- The context menu for applications has 5 new items:
- Run as root: Executes application as root.
- Edit .desktop file: Open the application's .desktop file with a text editor.
- Open .desktop file folder: Open the folder where the application's .desktop file is stored.
- Run from terminal: Open a terminal and run application from there.
- Run from terminal as root: Same as above but the application is executed as root.
Additionally, he has improved the search feature. It is more accurate compared to the stock menu's search and works faster.
This applet is just impressive. I used it for a couple of days and found no issues. I have not faced slowdowns or crashes.
According to the author, it is tested on Cinnamon 3.0.7. My environment is also Cinnamon 3.0.7, so it works perfectly here.
To install the Custom Cinnamon Menu applet, you need to do the following.
Install the Custom Cinnamon Menu applet
- Open the System Settings app. You can open it using the apps menu, from the panel's context menu:
- Click the Applets item:
- In Applets, go to the tab "Available online" and find the applet "Custom Cinnamon Menu" as shown below:
- Install it and add it to the panel.
- In the panel context menu, enable the panel edit mode to move the applet to the beginning of the panel.
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