Application menus

Application menus are no longer recommended, and will not be displayed in GNOME 3's top bar from GNOME 3.32. Primary and secondary menus should be used as alternatives.

Application menus provide access to global, top level actions and options for your application. These include standard items for accessing documentation and information about the application.

When to use

Application menus are a standard part of GNOME 3, and every application that runs under GNOME 3 should have one.

General guidelines

  • Follow the standard guidance for menus.

  • Only include menu items that relate to the application as a whole, such as application preferences. Items that are specific to a particular window or view, or which act on content within an application window, should not be included.

  • If an item from the application menu is frequently used, consider moving it to a more accessible location.

Standard menu items

Common application menu items include New Window, Preferences, Help, About and Quit. Help, About and Quit should be contained within their own group at the bottom of the menu.

New Window

Opens a new window. Only multiple instance applications should include this menu item. If the new window contains a specific type of content item, or simultaneously performs an action, rename it to be less generic. For example: New Connection or New Document.


Opens the application's preferences dialog. Only show this menu item if your application has a preferences dialog.


Opens your application's user documentation in the Help application. Only show this menu item if your application has user documentation.


Opens the application's about dialog. Every application menu should include this item.


Closes the application, including all application windows. Every application menu should include this item.

API reference