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Using the Workbench menus

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Although many tasks can be done by simple and intuitive interaction with icons and windows, another important way to operate the Workbench is through its menus. These are available through the use of the right mouse button. When you press it, the menus will appear at the top of the Workbench screen, or at the mouse pointer position (depending on your GUI settings). For basic information about how to operate the menus, see the section on using the mouse.

The Workbench menu strip consists of the following four menus.

Workbench Menu

Window Menu

Icon Menu

Tool Menu

Debug Menu - (Available In Developer/Debug mode only)

Special menu features

The Workbench menus contain several of the special Amiga menu features to make them easier to use. These are explained in the following paragraphs.

Ticks and dots

Have a look at the Backdrop? menu item. You will notice there are two spaces in front of the text. In several menu items this area has either a square box or a circle in it; the box can contain a checkmark ("tick"), while the circle can have a coloured dot inside it. The tick box signifies an on/off or toggle type of selection; if the tick is there, the option is currently selected and can be deselected by activating that menu item again. The dottable circles are used for mutually exclusive items (often placed in submenus, see below), where the dot will identify the currently selected option, like in a radio button gadget.


The next menu item, Execute command... shows another feature: The trailing ellipsis (an ellipsis is a fancy word for three full stops). The ellipsis tells you that selecting this menu item will bring up a requester or a window with further information and choices instead of directly performing the action. In this way you also know that it is safe to invoke the menu item, as you will get another chance to cancel the action.


In the Window menu, some menu items look like Clean up by->Column. Where we use the symbol -> in this document, the real menu shows an arrowhead or triangle pointing towards the right, and the part after the -> is initially not shown. This is called a submenu, i.e. another menu attached to an item in the first menu. You can read about how to operate submenus in the section on using the mouse.

Menu shortcuts

Finally, many menu items have a shortcut key which will let you perform the corresponding action without actually opening the menu and selecting the item with your mouse. Menu shortcut keys are always combinations of holding down the right Amiga key and pressing another key. The Workbench menus also use a number of these shortcuts; these are not listed here, but in a separate list in the article on keystrokes.