I found EasyMenu and and I tried the example:

(easy-menu-define my-menu global-map "My own menu"
  '("My Stuff"
    ["One entry" my-function t]
    ("Sub Menu"
     ["My subentry" my-obscure-function t])))

But when I try to show the menu with M-x my-menu then it says:

my-menu must be bound to an event with parameters

So it apparently should be added to a keymap, so the user can activate it. But how can I show this menu from elisp? (like (my-menu) or something)

So how can I programmatically show a simple menu like the above? I prefer built in solutions, so without external packages like Hydra and similiar.

  • What kind of menu? Which properties should it have? Do you want a mouse hover menu like you get with right click in most Desktop Environments?
    – clemera
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 11:20
  • Simple menus of keys and corresponding actions, like the one F10 brings up. So I'd define key/action pairs for the user and show this menu to a user from a lisp program to quickly choose an action with a single key.
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 11:34
  • Okay so mouse support is not needed?
    – clemera
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 12:13
  • No, but it's a plus if it has one. Basically what I'm asking is how can I use a menu like what F10 pops up from my own programs to offer quick selections for the user? Since the F10 triggered menu is built in I guess the actual menu pop up which it shows (keys + actions) can be triggered from a program too.
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 12:58
  • In the menu you get by F10 you can't use keys to trigger the actions. There are many ways you could create menus in Emacs, that's why I'm asking for a more specific description. If you simply want the user choose from several options via a single keystroke you could for example use read-char-choice but I don't know if that is what you are searching for.
    – clemera
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


A quick text menu can be shown with tmm-prompt:

(tmm-prompt my-menu)

A graphical menu can also be shown:

(x-popup-menu (list '(200 200) (selected-window)) my-menu)

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