How to Create Shortcut Folders in the Mac OS X Dock.
Every Mac user knows the Dock, located at the bottom of the screen, giving you quick access to your favorite and currently open applications and folders. With Mac Dock shortcuts, you can launch Finder and Launchpad, drop files into the Trash folder, and access your Downloads folder directly.
To keep your Dock icons neat, you can start categorizing apps in the Dock into shortcut folders. This allows you to better organize your dock, reduce clutter, and focus on your most important applications. Here’s how to quickly create Mac Dock shortcuts, as well as some tips for using the Dock more efficiently.
Customize Mac Dock Shortcuts
Before you start adding Mac Dock shortcuts, you should customize them to suit your needs. You can resize the Dock, including the size of the icons, and move the Dock from the bottom to the left or right side of the screen. You can also configure the Dock to hide automatically when you’re not using it.
- To access Dock preferences, right-click the Dock area and select Dock Preferences. Alternatively, click the Apple menu in the upper-right corner, then click System Preferences Dock, or launch System Preferences from the launcher.
- Change the sliders to increase the size of the Dock app icons, or use the toggles to change the position of the Dock. Select the Automatically hide and show the dock checkbox if you want the dock to disappear when not in use.
Close the Dock preferences window after making your changes. The changes you made will be applied automatically.
Add New Mac Dock Shortcuts
When you first set up your Mac, several default apps are already present as Dock shortcuts. These include Launchpad, Finder, and various Apple apps like FaceTime and Photos. Any software currently running will appear next to these icons in the Dock.
- To permanently add running applications to the Dock, right-click the application’s icon in the Dock, hover over Options, and click Save to Dock.
- You can also remove unwanted applications from the Dock using the same menu. For system applications, right-click the application icon, then select Options Uninstall from Dock. For non-system applications, simply uncheck the Save to Dock icon to remove it.
Once the app icons are positioned, you can move them with your mouse or touchpad according to your needs by dragging the icon and moving it to a new position.
Add New Mac Dock Shortcut Folders
Shortcut folders help you categorize your Mac Dock shortcuts. For example, work applications could be placed in one folder, and games in another.
While Dock shortcut folders do not hide running applications, they can give you easy access to launch any software you run frequently, without cluttering the Dock and without having to launch an application from Finder or Launchpad.
- First, open the Finder by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock. Navigate to a folder on your desktop, then right-click and click New Folder to create a new folder. Give it a name like Dock Folders. Within this folder, create another folder (or multiple new folders) corresponding to the groups of applications you want to create in your dock and give them a suitable name, just like you.
- After creating the folders, open a second Finder window by right-clicking the Finder icon, clicking New Finder Window, then open the Applications folder from the left menu. Right-click (or Control + Click) any application you want to create a shortcut for, then click Create Alias.
- A new list for the application you selected appears in the Applications folder with the word alias attached to the name. When both Finder windows are visible on the screen, drag the alias application from the Applications folder to the shortcuts folder you created on your desktop.
- Repeat this step until you have created shortcuts for all the Dock apps you selected and placed them in the appropriate folders. When the Dock shortcut folders are ready, drag the shortcut folders with the mouse to the Dock folder area next to the trash can icon.
- With the shortcuts folder in place, you can access your applications by clicking the shortcuts folder icon and clicking one of the application shortcuts inside.
Since the Dock folder is itself a shortcut to a folder, you can open it in Finder to add or remove applications by repeating the steps above. Right-click any app in the Dock shortcuts folder in Finder and click Move to Trash to remove it.
Use keyboard shortcuts
If you want a better use of the dock, consider using keyboard shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts help you interact with the dock using only your keyboard, saving you additional time using your mouse or trackpad.
- Option + Command + D: Hides the Dock or makes it reappear if it is already hidden.
- Command + M: Minimizes an open window in the Dock.
- Control + Shift + Command + T: Adds an item to the Finder as a Dock shortcut.
- Control + F3 (or Control + Function + F3): The Dock is supposed to be controlling the keyboard, allowing you to navigate it using keyboard keys.
- Using the above keyboard shortcut to control the Dock keyboard, press the up arrow to access the Dock menu, or Return to open an application or shortcut folder. With an application icon selected, press Command + Return to open the location of that application or shortcut in a new Finder window.
- To hide all open windows except the selected application icon, use the arrow keys to select the application icon, then press Command + Option + Return. This will minimize other apps and only your selected app will remain.
How to Use the Dock More Effectively
Adding Mac Dock shortcuts and organizing them into folders is just one way to use the Dock more effectively on macOS. As we mentioned, you can use macOS keyboard shortcuts to quickly launch apps from the Dock, or set the Dock to display recent apps in a separate folder.
If you’re on Windows, you can install native third-party Windows app docks instead.