Put the output from any script or program in your Mac OS X Menu Bar
Objective-C HTML Shell Makefile
Latest commit aa4dee7 Aug 30, 2016 @iosdeveloper iosdeveloper version bump


BitBar BitBar Build Status Slack Status

BitBar (by Mat Ryer - @matryer) lets you put the output from any script/program in your Mac OS X Menu Bar.

Digging deeper:

And finally...


Example showing the latest Buy and Sell figures for BitCoins:

BitBar Example showing BitCoins plugin

Click to see the full output, and more options:

BitBar Example showing menu open

Example showing your internal and external IP addresses:

BitBar Example showing IP Addresses

Get started

Get the latest version of BitBar. Copy it to your Applications folder and run it - it will ask you to (create and) select a plugins folder, do so.

Browse our plugins to find useful scripts, or write your own.

It's free, so please donate

If you love this, any BitCoin donations are most welcome, to 1DGoNEYAnjE5DqK7y5zMPR4PLU5HLKpLNR or send something useful (Amazon Wishlist).

Installing plugins

Just download the plugin of your choice into your BitBar plugins directory and choose Refresh from one of the BitBar menus.

Configure the refresh time

The refresh time is in the filename of the plugin, following this format:

  • name - The name of the file
  • time - The refresh rate (see below)
  • ext - The file extension

For example:

  • date.1m.sh would refresh every minute.

Most plugins will come with a default, but you can change it to anything you like:

  • 10s - ten seconds
  • 1m - one minute
  • 2h - two hours
  • 1d - a day

Ensure you have execution rights

Ensure the plugin is executable by running chmod +x plugin.sh.

Using symlinks

Because Git will ignore everything in Plugins/Enabled, you can use it to maintain your own plugins directory while still benefitting from tracking (upstream) changes.


cd Plugins/Enabled

# Enable spotify plugin
ln -s ../Music/spotify.10s.sh

# Enable uptime plugin and change update interval to 30 seconds
ln -s ../System/uptime.1m.sh uptime.30s.sh

Then select the Enabled folder in your BitBar preferences.

Resetting Plugin Directory

In case you made the mistake of choosing a directory with thousands of files as the plugin directory and BitBar getting stuck forever, do this from terminal to reset it:

defaults delete com.matryer.BitBar


BitBar app

To work on the BitBar app, fork, then clone this repo.

In terminal, navigate to the project directory and run:

git submodule init && git submodule update


  • Special thanks to @muhqu and @tylerb for all their help (see commit history for details)
  • Thanks to Chris Ryer for the app logo - and to @mazondo for the original
  • Thanks for all our plugin contributors who have come up with some pretty genius things

Writing plugins

We're always looking for new plugins, so please send us pull requests if you write anything cool or useful.

Join the conversation with plugin authors and BitBar maintainers on Slack.

Got ideas?

If you've got ideas, or want to report a bug, nip over to our issues page and let us know.

If you want to contribute, please send us a pull request and we'll add it to our repos.

  • Ensure the plugin is executable
  • Be sure to include appropriate Metadata to enhance the plugin's entry on getbitbar.com

Plugin API

  • To write a plugin, just write some form of executable script that outputs to the standard output.
  • Multiple lines will be cycled through over and over.
  • If your output contains a line consisting only of ---, the lines below it will appear in the dropdown for that plugin, but won't appear in the menu bar itself.
  • Lines beginning with -- will appear in submenus.
  • Your lines might contain | to separate the title from other parameters, such as...
    • href=.. to make the item clickable
    • color=.. to change their text color. eg. color=red or color=#ff0000
    • font=.. to change their text font. eg. font=UbuntuMono-Bold
    • size=.. to change their text size. eg. size=12
    • bash=.. to make the item run a given script terminal with your script e.g. bash=/Users/user/BitBar_Plugins/scripts/nginx.restart.sh if there are spaces in the file path you will need quotes e.g. bash="/Users/user/BitBar Plugins/scripts/nginx.restart.sh"
    • param1= to specify arguments to the script. additional params like this param2=foo param3=bar full example bash="/Users/user/BitBar_Plugins/scripts/nginx.restart.sh" param1=--verbose assuming that nginx.restart.sh is executable or bash=/usr/bin/ruby param1=/Users/user/rubyscript.rb param2=arg1 param3=arg2 if script is not executable
    • terminal=.. start bash script without opening Terminal. true or false
    • refresh=.. to make the item refresh the plugin it belongs to. If the item runs a script, refresh is performed after the script finishes. eg. refresh=true
    • dropdown=.. May be set to true or false. If false, the line will only appear and cycle in the status bar but not in the dropdown
    • length=.. to truncate the line to the specified number of characters. A will be added to any truncated strings, as well as a tooltip displaying the full string. eg. length=10
    • trim=.. whether to trim leading/trailing whitespace from the title. true or false (defaults to true)
    • alternate=true to mark a line as an alternate to the previous one for when the Option key is pressed in the dropdown
    • templateImage=.. set an image for this item. The image data must be passed as base64 encoded string and should consist of only black and clear pixels. The alpha channel in the image can be used to adjust the opacity of black content, however. This is the recommended way to set an image for the statusbar. Use a 144 DPI resolution to support Retina displays. The imageformat can be any of the formats supported by Mac OS X
    • image=.. set an image for this item. The image data must be passed as base64 encoded string. Use a 144 DPI resolution to support Retina displays. The imageformat can be any of the formats supported by Mac OS X
    • emojize=false will disable parsing of github style :mushroom: into 🍄
    • ansi=false turns off parsing of ANSI codes.


To enhance your entry on getbitbar.com, add the following metadata to your source code (usually in comments somewhere):

# <bitbar.title>Title goes here</bitbar.title>
# <bitbar.version>v1.0</bitbar.version>
# <bitbar.author>Your Name</bitbar.author>
# <bitbar.author.github>your-github-username</bitbar.author.github>
# <bitbar.desc>Short description of what your plugin does.</bitbar.desc>
# <bitbar.image>http://www.hosted-somewhere/pluginimage</bitbar.image>
# <bitbar.dependencies>python,ruby,node</bitbar.dependencies>
# <bitbar.abouturl>http://url-to-about.com/</bitbar.abouturl>
  • The comment characters can be anything - use what is suitable for your language
  • bitbar.title - The title of the plugin
  • bitbar.version - The version of the plugin (start with v1.0)
  • bitbar.author - Your name
  • bitbar.author.github - Your github username (without @)
  • bitbar.desc - A short description of what your plugin does
  • bitbar.image - A hosted image showing a preview of your plugin (ideally open)
  • bitbar.dependencies - Comma separated list of dependencies
  • bitbar.abouturl - Absolute URL to about information

For a real example, see the Cycle text and detail plugin source code.

Useful tips

  • If you're writing scripts, ensure it has a shebang at the top.
  • You can add to PATH by including something like export PATH='/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:$PATH' in your plugin script.
  • You can use emoji in the output (find an example in the Music/vox Plugin).
  • If your bash script generates text in another language, set the LANG variable with: export LANG="es_ES.UTF-8" (for Spanish) to show the text in correct format.
  • If you want to call the plugin script for action, you can use bash=$0
  • If your plugin should support Retina displays, export your icon at 36x36 with a resolution of 144 DPI (see this issue for a more thorough explanation).


One line plugin


Multi-line plugin


# the current date and time

# the current username
echo $USER

# the current user id
id -u

Multi-line plugin with extra data

echo "One"
echo "Two"
echo "Three"
echo "---"
echo "Four"
echo "Five"
echo "Six"
  • Only One, Two and Three will appear in the top bar
  • Clicking the plugin menu item will show all lines

Multi-line plugin with links and colors

curl -m 1 http://example.com -I >/dev/null 2>&1
[ $? -gt 0 ] && echo "FAIL | color=red" || echo "OK | color=green"
echo "---"
echo "Show Graphs | color=#123def href=http://example.com/graph?foo=bar"
echo "Show KPI Report | color=purple href=http://example.com/report"

Multi-line plugin with fonts and colors

BitBar Example showing colored fonts

FONT=( 'size=14' 'font=UbuntuMono' )
if ((0)); then echo "DO | $FONT color=orange"
else           echo "DO | $FONT color=cadetblue"
echo "---"

Tested languages

Anything that can write to standard out is supported, but here is a list that have been explicitly tested.

  1. Ruby
  2. Status: Working
  3. Output: puts "your string here"
  4. Python2
  5. Status: Working
  6. Output: print "your string here"
  7. Python3
  8. Status: Working
  9. Output: print("your string here")
  10. JavaScript (node)
  11. Status: Working
  12. Caveats: Shebang has to be in the format #!/usr/bin/env /path/to/the/node/executable
  13. Output: console.log("your string here")
  14. Notes:
  15. process.stdout.write doesn't output desired text.
  16. There may be a better way to run JavaScript files.
  17. Tips:
  18. Use the Node.js bitbar module to simplify plugin creation.
  19. CoffeeScript (coffee)
  20. Status: Working
  21. Caveats:
  22. Shebang has to be in the format #!/usr/bin/env /path/to/the/coffee/executable
  23. coffee shebang also had to be modified.
  24. #!/usr/bin/env /path/to/the/node/executable
  25. Output: console.log "your string here"
  26. Notes:
  27. process.stdout.write doesn't output desired text.
  28. There may be a better way to run CoffeeScript files.
  29. Swift (Interpreted)
  30. Status: Working
  31. Output: print("your string here")
  32. Swift (Compiled)
  33. Status: Working
  34. Caveats: You still need a file extension (file.1s.cswift)
  35. Output: print("your string here")
  36. Notes:
  37. To compile a swift file, use: xcrun -sdk macosx swiftc -o file.1s.cswift file.1s.swift
  38. Go (Interpreted)
  39. Status: Working
  40. Caveats:
  41. Your script's shebang must be: //usr/env/bin go run $0 $@; exit
  42. go must be in your PATH
  43. Output: Println("your string here")
  44. Go (Compiled)
  45. Status: Working
  46. Caveats: You still need a file extension (file.1s.cgo)
  47. Output: Println("your string here")
  48. Notes
  49. To compile a Go file, use: go build file.1s.go
  50. Lisp
  51. Status: Working
  52. Caveats: lisp/clisp must be in your PATH
  53. Output: (format t "your string here")
  54. Perl5
  55. Status: Working
  56. Output: print "your string here"
  57. Notes
  58. Add -l to shebang to automatic add newline to print function: #!/usr/bin/perl -l
  59. PHP
  60. Status: Working
  61. Output: echo 'your string here'
  62. Notes
  63. Add shebang #!/usr/bin/php
  64. Utilities:
  65. BitBar PHP Formatter - https://github.com/SteveEdson/bitbar-php