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Java AWT

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Would You Like to Choose from the Menu?

10.7 MenuBar

The MenuBar is the component you add to the Frame that is displayed on the top line of the Frame; the MenuBar contains menus. A Frame can display only one MenuBar at a time. However, you can change the MenuBar based on the state of the program so that different menus can appear at different points. The MenuBar class extends MenuComponent and implements the MenuContainer interface.

A MenuBar can be used only as a child component of a Frame. An applet cannot have a MenuBar attached to it, unless you implement the whole thing yourself. Normally, you cannot modify the MenuBar of the applet holder (the browser), unless it is Java based. In other words, you cannot affect the menus of Netscape Navigator, but you can customize appletviewer and HotJava, as shown in the following code with the result shown in Figure 10.4. The getTopLevelParent() method was introduced in Window with Window.

import java.awt.*;
public class ChangeMenu extends java.applet.Applet {
    public void init ()  {
        Frame f = ComponentUtilities.getTopLevelParent(this);
        if (f != null) {
            MenuBar mb = f.getMenuBar();
            Menu m = new Menu ("Cool");
            mb.add (m);


When you add a MenuBar to a Frame, it takes up space that is part of the drawing area. You need to get the top insets to find out how much space is occupied by the MenuBar and be careful not to draw under it. If you do, the MenuBar will cover what you draw.

MenuBar Methods


public MenuBar()

The MenuBar constructor creates an empty MenuBar. To add menus to the MenuBar, use the add()method.


public int getMenuCount () (New)
public int countMenus () (Deprecated)

The getMenuCount() method returns the number of top-level menus within the MenuBar.

countMenus() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

public Menu getMenu (int index)

The getMenu() method returns the Menu at position index. If index is invalid, getMenu() throws the run-time exception ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException.

public synchronized Menu add (Menu m)

The add() method puts choice m on the MenuBar. The label used to create m is displayed on the MenuBar. If m is already in another MenuBar, it is removed from it. The order of items added determines the order displayed on the MenuBar, with one exception: if a menu is designated as a help menu by setHelpMenu(), it is placed at the right end of the menu bar. Only a Menu can be added to a MenuBar; you can't add a MenuItem. In other words, a MenuItem has to lie under at least one menu.

public synchronized void remove (int index)

The remove() method removes the Menu at position index from the MenuBar. If index is invalid, remove() throws the ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException run-time exception. index is zero based.

public synchronized void remove (MenuComponent component)

This version of remove() removes the menu component from the MenuBar. If component is not in MenuBar, nothing happens. The system calls this method when you add a new Menu to make sure it does not exist on another MenuBar.


public MenuItem getShortcutMenuItem (MenuShortcut shortcut) (New)

The getShortcutMenuItem() method retrieves the MenuItem associated with the MenuShortcut shortcut. If MenuShortcut does not exist for this Menu, the method returns null. getShortcutMenuItem() walks through the all submenus recursively to try to find shortcut.

public synchronized Enumeration shortcuts() (New)

The shortcuts() method retrieves an Enumeration of all the MenuShortcut objects associated with this MenuBar.

public void deleteShortcut (MenuShortcut shortcut) (New)

The deleteShortcut() method removes MenuShortcut from the associated MenuItem in the MenuBar. If the shortcut is not associated with any menu item, nothing happens.

Help menus

It is the convention on many platforms to display help menus as the last menu on the MenuBar. The MenuBar class lets you designate one of the menus as this special menu. The physical position of a help menu depends on the platform, but those giving special treatment to help menus place them on the right. A Menu designated as a help menu doesn't have to bear the label "Help"; the label is up to you.

public Menu getHelpMenu ()

The getHelpMenu() method returns the Menu that has been designated as the help menu with setHelpMenu(). If the menu bar doesn't have a help menu, getHelpMenu() returns null.

public synchronized void setHelpMenu (Menu m)

The setHelpMenu() method sets the menu bar's help menu to m. This makes m the rightmost menu on the MenuBar, possibly right justified. If m is not already on the MenuBar, nothing happens.


public synchronized void addNotify ()

The addNotify() method creates the MenuBar peer with all the menus on it, and in turn their menu items.

public synchronized void removeNotify ()

The removeNotify() method destroys the peer of the MenuBar and removes it from the screen. The peers of the items on the MenuBar are also destroyed.

MenuBar Events

A MenuBar does not generate any events.

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