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Suppose you have a document file you want to send via email, what should you do? Here are the not-so-orderly sequences: 1. You open Mail, 2. Create a new message, 3. Click “Add Attachment”, 4. Browse to the location of the file, 5. Select the file, 6. Click “Attach”, 7. Then you can write the body of your email, 8. Add the recipient(s) and finally 9. Click “Send”.

What a sequence, huh? If you have many files to be sent by many emails, you’d spend quite some time in the process.

Actually, you can eliminate several steps from that sequence to save time. Many Mac users that I know overlook the power of “Service Menu” to simplify the long process of working between applications.

What’s on the menu?

When I mention the Service Menu, many of my friends ask the same question: “What?”


So here’s the explanation I quote from Mac OS X’s Help:

Some applications provide “services” that let you use features of that application while working in another application. For example, the Mail service in the Finder opens the Mail application so that you can email a file directly from the Finder without opening the Mail application separately.

So, to email a file you should: 1. Select the file from finder, 2. Choose Finder → Services → Mail → Send File menu,

3. Write the body, 4. Add Recipients, 5. Send.

Please notice that we have cut out 4 steps and saved few minutes.

Another great thing about Service Menu is the fact that it’s available from any application to do almost anything. Just click on the application’s name on the menu bar next to the Apple logo, and you’ll find “Services” there.

And we can cut out more steps – and thus save more time – by using shortcut keys.

Slimming Down The Service

Powerful as it is, Service Menu has its share of problem. As time goes by and as your Mac increases the population of applications, Service Menu also grows along with them. The menu gets so overpopulated with services that it becomes annoyingly crowded. In real life, most users will never use most of the services.

It would be very nice if we could get rid of the useless services and reserved the place for a few ones that useful. To do that, we need the help of Service Scrubber.

After you open the app, you’ll see a window filled with services. Removing useless services is just a matter of unchecking the option box in front of the application’s name, and click Save.

In less than a minute (or just a little bit more), your service menu will be slimmed down from this (notice the arrow on the bottom):

Into this:

Please note that there are some items in the Service Scrubber’s windows that are grayed out and cannot be deactivated.

Power Up The Procedure

One more extremely useful thing you can do with Service Scrubber is manipulating the shortcut keys.
You can change, disable, or add shortcut keys combination to any service.

All you have to do is double click on the key column next to a specific service, and an editing window will pop out. Modify the “Keyboard Shortcut” value, and then click “Apply Changes”.

But as with enable/disable services process above, I found that you couldn’t modify nor append shortcut keys to the grayed out items.

Do you use Service Menu? Or do you have better alternatives? Share your thoughts and opinions below.

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  1. Shirley Hershey
    August 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    When I want to email a file to someone, rather than use the Services menu, I find it quicker and easier to drag the file to the Mail icon in the dock. Then all I have to do is enter the screen address and subject and click SEND. If I wish, I can also add a personal message.

  2. adrian boioglu
    April 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    i've been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

    does anyone know any app that can help me edit the contextual menu of Finder and maybe some other Applications?

  3. Pedro Cassian
    April 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    the application quicksilver can do the whole emailing thing, and better i believe
    you select the document, hit a hotkey, choose the contact, and then either send it directly, or open the compose screen with the file already attached

    however, there arent plugins for EVERYTHING, and in that case the services thing works

    its good to clean it up the services list anyway though.

  4. Autoacid
    April 19, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I dont like Mac.