How to: Improving the menu layout of your N97 for faster application access

| July 29, 2009 | 12 Replies

Wrote this post a few weeks back but somehow never got round to ‘publishing’ it. After deep resetting the N97 and finding out “restore from memory card” did not restore my menu layout (as it did on 3rd edition), I got stuck in using the old S60 default menu layout, which was/is a pain!

S60 Default Menu Layout

I’ve never been much of a big fan of the default S60 menu layout.

  • Moving between devices often means different menu layout, making looking for an app into a hunt.
  • As your applications grow, they get stuck into one folder. Scrolling in S60 menu is painful. Tap tap tap with 3rd Edition and an annoying kintetic-less scrolling in S60 5th Edition.
  • End result – Finding your app takes too long!


Folder layout

For seasoned S60 users, reorganizing the default menu layout maybe one of the first few things you’d do to the handset.


From the days when Series 60 was a 3×3 grid, reorganizing the menu into 9 categorized folders meant:

  • a quick 2 click access to 81 applications. (up to 144 in 3rd/5th edition s60)
  • no more feeling lost and guessing”where is this application located?” – e.g. if you wanted the calendar application, a second of reasoning would direct you to the “office folder”. If you wanted maps, then the best folder would be “Navigation”.
  • In a little while, you just get used to the icon placements. With the keypad corresponding to the icon position, you could quickly open, say “Calendar” by pressing “88” (code depending on location of icon)
  • eliminating the need for scrolling to find other applications. With up to 144 applications easily accessible within 2 clicks in menu view, you could space all your applications out so that you’d never have to use the scroll bar, reducing the amount of clicking, and for 5th edition, preventing the need to use the unintuitive non-touch friendly scrolling.

I’ve had this similar S60 layout since the 7610. For S60 newbies (relatives/friends I’ve recommended to get S60), setting this layout made it much easier for them to get accustomed to the new platform as applications were not randomly and confusingly buried away from use.

Here’s an “interactive” YouTube video of a modified N97 menu. (Basically identical layout to the rest of my S60 phones)


Note: There is no delay in the actual N97 as there is in video loading. Nevertheless, I’d still be able to find my applications faster this way than the scrolling/hunting route.

HomeScreen for quicker app access.

Applications that need to be accessed even quicker, can have their own shortcuts on the standby or with the N97 on the homescreen. I’ve got a combination of the two. 3×3 grid folder, with another direct row of applications.


My homescreen on the N97 contains one click access to 16 applications

  • two shortcut widgets, (4 icons each widget)
  • 3 live information widgets (gravity, facebook, email)
  • Connectivity icon at top right (present only if bluetooth/WLAN is on)
  • Contacts bar
  • Clock
  • Profile
  • Calendar

How to: Reorganizing your N97 menu:


  1. In menu view Click “Options>Organize”. You’ll notice all the icons are highlighted.
  2. Click “Options>New Folder”. I’ve got 9 folders: Multimedia, Office, Tools, Applications, Navigation, Extras, Connect, Internet and Games. Choose how many you want, but try and keep it to 12 or less.
  3. Move your folders
  • To move an icon into a folder, click “Options>Move to folder”. Alternatively, you can hold and drag an icon over the folder and drop it into that folder.To move an icon around the grid, drag it over the icon. If the icon is a folder, you can accidentally insert it in that folder. To prevent this, drag the icon over the folder’s name and not the folder itself.

This will take you about 5-10 minutes but will save you hours in the long run.


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Category: 5th Edition, How to:, Nokia, Nseries, S60, Symbian, Video

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]