Monday Morsel - Make the most of your Dock

Make the most of your Dock

Whether you like it on the side or at the bottom of your screen, tucked away or always there, customized or the way Apple intended, the Dock is a powerful – and often-overlooked – part of Mac OS. Today, let’s spend some time on the Dock and talk about five considerations to help you put it to work for you.


1. Don’t overload your Dock

It’s tempting to add everything to your Dock. I’d recommend that you don’t do that – unless you truly use every application installed on your Mac. Instead, use your Dock as a tool to help you quickly access the things you use most. Instead of putting everything on your Dock, put only the things you use most often. Think of it the way you would a kitchen counter… when you’re at work making dinner, you put only the things you need on the counter, not every utensil you own. If it makes you nervous to streamline your Dock that way, remember that it’s easy to add to or remove from the Dock. It’s just a matter of dragging.


2. Arrange your Dock

The order of your Dock icons is truly a matter of personal preference. If you’d like everything related to word processing or video editing grouped together, you can do that. If you’d like your icons alphabetized, you can do that. If you’d like your Dock arranged by the order you use applications during the day, you can even do that. Although, I may be interested in talking to you about how you keep your life so orderly! To arrange your Dock, simply click and drag an icon, and let it go on the Dock where you want to icon to be placed. You can arrange and re-arrange to your heart’s contentment.


3. Learn how to do more than open an item on your Dock

Did you know that if you right-click on an icon or left-click and hold, you’ll see a range of contextual options? You can use the contextual menu to display which windows are in use and select one easily. In certain apps, the contextual menu enables you to open recent files, or even perform certain simple actions within the app. You can also use it to quit an open application, or to add one to the Dock so that it stays there even when closed.

Another Dock “do-more” tip is to use Stacks, which enable you to add folders to the Dock. Stacks can contain files, more folders, or even apps. Simply drag a folder to the right-hand end of the Dock to add a Stack. When you click a Stack, its contents appear in a pop-up window for quick access, without opening a new Finder window. I usually put my client’s Applications folder and Documents folder there for quick access to their applications and personal documents.


4. Drag to the Dock

There are certain actions to you can complete simply by dragging a file to the Dock. For example, if you’d like to open a file with a specific application, draft the file from the Desktop or Finder window to the icon on your Dock. This trick will also create a new Mail message with the dragged file as an attachment and add music tracks to your iTunes library.

Another neat drag trick is to highlight text in any application, drag it to the Dock, and watch how clever Mac OS can be. For example, drag a Web address to Safari and it will open the site. Drag text to Mail and it will create a message containing the text. Drag text to TextEdit and it will create a new document containing the text. Or, if you want a quick note, drag text to the Stickies icon and watch your computer write a note for you.


5. Use the Dock to open Panes

While I do not recommend you spend a lot of time worrying about your System Preferences, there’s a neat Dock trick that comes in handy. If you hold down Control and click on the System Preferences icon in the Dock, you’ll see a long list of the panes that reside there. That’s the express route to accessing a preference pane when needed.

If you’d like to discuss ways your Dock can do more for you – or anything else that comes up – give me a call. Have a wonderful week!


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