The Global menu in Ubuntu was designed to provide more space for program windows. However, if you use a large monitor or multiple monitors, the Global menu can be an annoyance as the menus get further away from their respective program windows.

If you don’t like the Global menu feature in Ubuntu 13.10, you can easily turn it off.

NOTE: When we say to type something in this article and there are quotes around the text, DO NOT type the quotes, unless we specify otherwise.

To disable the Global menu, press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a Terminal window. Type the following line at the prompt and press Enter.

sudo apt-get remove indicator-appmenu

Type your password when prompted and press Enter.

The progress of the removal displays and then a message displays saying how much disk space will be freed. When asked if you want to continue, type a “y” and press Enter.


The package is removed and you are returned to the prompt. To close the Terminal window, type “exit” and press Enter.

NOTE: You can also close a Terminal window by clicking the X button in the upper-right corner of the window.

Notice that the menus for a program are moved back to the program’s window right below the title bar.

The Global menu in Firefox must be disabled separately from within the program. To do this, open Firefox and type “about:config” in the address bar and press Enter.

A warning displays informing you that changing the advanced settings in Firefox might void your warranty. We will be only changing one specific setting, so you’re safe. Click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button.

Type “unity” in the Search box. Settings that match what you type start displaying in the list below the Search box. Only one result displays when you type “unity”: ui.use_unity_menubar. The setting has a boolean value, which means it can either be true or false. In this case, you want to change the setting to false, so double-click anywhere on the setting line.


The setting’s text becomes bold, the Value changes to false, and the menu now displays at the top of the window below the title bar.

To use the Global menu in Firefox again, simply change the ui.use_unity_menubar setting back to true.

If you decide you want to use the Global menu for all other programs, enter the following command in a Terminal window, just like you did with the command to disable the Global menu.

sudo apt-get install indicator-appmenu

The menu bars for all applications now display on the bar at the top of the screen again.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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