student in media lab

Mac OS X Dock

Down at the bottom of the Mac's screen is a quick access tool bar called "the Dock."  Many people already know that you can customize the Dock's location, size and hiding behavior by clicking on the Blue Apple and selecting Dock from the menu. But, there are two other quick ways to customize the Dock's location and behavior:

  1. Hold down the Control key while you click on the line dividing the Trash and documents section from the Applications section of the Dock. The Dock Preferences menu will pop up.
  2. If all you want to do is make the Dock bigger or smaller, it's even easier. Just click on the same divider line and drag in or out (if the Dock is positioned on the right or left of the screen), or up or down (if it is positioned on the bottom).

Here are some tips for customizing the content of the Dock.

  •  If your Dock seems crowded with icons for applications you never use, simply click and drag them off the Dock. (Or, click and hold the mouse button down until a menu appears.) Only the alias disappears. The application can still be found in the Application folder. Quit or Force Quit an application by holding the mouse button down on an icon. A menu will pop up. (Did you know that the applications with little black triangles pointing at them (or little bubbles in OS X 10.5) are actually still open? If you have too many applications open at once, performance can be slowed.)
  • Want an icon on the Dock for an application you use all the time? Find the Application in the Application folder and drag it to the Dock.  An alias will be created and added to the Dock.
  • If there is a Document file that you use regularly, and you don't feel like finding it on your Desktop or Documents folder, you can find the document just once, and drag it to the area of the Dock near the Trash. This will keep an alias for the document right there at your fingertips, ready to open. You can do this with folders too, like your Documents folder.

This has been just a quick tour of some of the most helpful features you can customize on the Mac OSX Dock. If you want to explore any of these and need clarification of any of these instructions, call the Help Desk (x5418), Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for assistance.

Stay In Touch
With Information Technology Staff
Snail Mail
Information Technology
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002