Taming the Garmin Etrex 20/30:

Restore the 'Page' key.

The Etrex 20 and 30 have replaced the old 'page/quit' button with a 'back' button. But it doesn't have to be that way ...
NB this 'how to' page is for the Etrex 20 and 30 models -
to follow a similar procedure with the Etrex C models (such as Legend and Vista) see this page - Declutter the Page Sequence


  All screenshots are Etrex 30
When you start up your new Etrex, it goes to the Main Menu page which looks like this (see left).
Unlike the previous Etrex C models, clicking the top right button doesn't change to another page, it just sits there on this Menu page. It's now designated as a back key which gets you back to this point from any other displayed page.

With a total of 27 menu items, and only 6 to a page like this, it's very necessary to be able to re-arrange these items to suit your own preferences, with your 6 favourites on this top page, and the rest organised in order of usefulness as you scroll down.
The manual explains how to do this and after a bit of thought I came up with a revised 'top page' layout (see right)
NB this is just my preference, different people will have different priorities of course.

  Your colourway may vary !

To do this:
In the main Menu page, press the left or 'Menu' key.

Front-click, then
follow the prompts to select a tile and reposition it in the menu.

Exit with the top-right or 'Back' key then
repeat until you've got the arrangement you want.

By the time I'd had my new Etrex a day or two, I was tearing my hair out with this new interface - an idea that works, fairly well, with the touchscreen models, just doesn't translate to this button-driven type of GPS.
On the touchscreen Dakota for example, it takes just three sideswipes to see all 24 menu options. On the new Etrex, three downward dabs of the front joystick only gets you to the next two options, ie numbers 7 and 8 in the list if you count the top page as nos 1-6. To see nos 9-27 requires yet more joystick action. It just feels very lame, to me.

What follows are two ways to improve things - the first is just a trick with the layout, and below that I describe how to get page navigation back to the 'old' Etrex way of doing things.

The scrollable list of 27 options has a wraparound feature.
If you scroll down to the bottom and hit the buffers with your final unloved option highlighted (see left), another downwards dab will bring you back to the top of the list.
And, interestingly, vice versa - from the top page an upwards dab will take you to the last entry in the list (see left again).

So although the first instinct is to put the 6 most important options at the top of the list, and then the next 6, and so on down the list - it is possible to do a bit better.
You can put 2 important items at the bottom of the list - and they will be readily accessible from the top page, with a single upwards dab.

I decided to first remove one unwanted item from the list of options (this can be done from the same dialog as the 'move' operation) - mainly to give an even number, so that I could arrange two useful options side by side at the bottom of the list. This GPS doesn't have an inbuilt camera, so I don't think I'll be needing the Photo Viewer option!

Then I moved Setup and Satellite to the bottom, and then 2 more useful options to appear just above those.

Now I have easy access to my 6 favourites (left), plus with one upwards nudge, 4 more (right) - much much better!
Here's the second trick - to restore the back key back to it's old page function, you need to go into Setup and then into Page Sequence.


First you have to Add a Page (see left).
You want one of your favourite pages, that you use a lot of the time - for me, it's the Map (see right) but some people might want the Compass, or Elevation Plot, for example.

In any case, now we're going to add another one.
First move the page you added to the top of the list (front-click to get the Move submenu as below left), now add another favourite page - the other page I use a lot while riding is the Trip Computer so I've added this. I've also moved it to the top of the list because (undocumented feature) the top item in this list is the GPS default startup page and I like to start with the Trip Computer (below right - again you may have different ideas).

If you now switch off and restart your GPS you'll find it switches on to the favourite page you put at the top of the list. Clicking the back key now switches to your other favourite page, and clicking it again brings you to your Main Menu. Further clicks just cycle round these 3 pages again.
The original back function hasn't been lost - if you go deep into the menus it behaves exactly like it always did - except that it comes back to whatever page you were in when you set off into the menus. The new page functionality is pure bonus.

Note that the pages you've added to the top-right button have been removed from the Main Menu. It's either/or, you can't have both unfortunately.
You could of course add more pages to have the page key cycling through 5 or 6 options, if you want. This is exactly how the older Etrexes were set up, out of the box.


However personally I go the other way - I want just two favourite options on my page key, so clicking that key just toggles between them.
Currently the Main Menu is part of the sequence, and for me, that gets in the way.

Well - here's another undocumented feature - shared with the older models - pressing the menu key twice (that's the bottom left button) will always bring up the Main Menu!
So - my final step is to remove the Main Menu from the page sequence (see left). I can always get it via the menu key. Now my page/back key simply cycles between Map and Trip Computer screens - perfect! They've gone from my Main Menu, so the top page of that now has these 6 really useful options (see right).


Francis Cooke

Some basic stuff:
Living with a Garmin: Etrex Basic Setup
Living with a Garmin: Battery Runtime and Etrex Jitter
Living with a Garmin: The Waypoints Limitation
Living with a Garmin: The Follow Road Trap
Living with a Garmin: The Circular Routes Problem
Living with a Garmin: Declutter the Page Sequence
Living with a Garmin: Living with Metroguide Maps
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming (for direct-style routes)
Living with a Garmin: Colour your Tracks and Routes
Living with a Garmin: Create a Route on the GPS
Top 5 GPS Tips (pdf) reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2007
Some GPS FAQs web version of Arrivee article published Nov 2008
NEW - Garmin Etrex 20/30 essays:
Etrex 30 review reprint of Arrivee article published Jan 2012
Etrex 20 & 30, Basic Setup
Taming the Etrex 20/30: Restore the 'Page' key.
Living with a Garmin: Show on Map (Tracks)
Dakota 20 review reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2010
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming and the Dakota 20 / Etrex 30
More Garmin essays - not-so-basic:
Garmin Etrex C Menu Map (pdf, July 2008)
Living with a Garmin: Full Reset
Living with a Garmin: Track, Route or Autoroute
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Waypoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Trackpoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Less is More
Living with a Garmin: Add Contours to your GPS Maps
Living with a Garmin: Struggling with GPX  &...  More GPX
Living with a Garmin: Screens you don't see every day
Living with a Garmin: Downgrade your Mapsource
Living with a Garmin: Put an OSM Map on your Garmin
Living with a Garmin: GPS Soak Test files to test your GPS waypoint capacity
OpenStreetMap and Mapsource Add OSM to your Mapsource collection
A Google Maps Workflow Create, Edit, Save, Share and Export a route