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Adding Icons to the Dock in Mac OS X (Jaguar)

You can customize your Dock with favorite applications, a document you update daily, or maybe a folder containing your favorite recipes — whatever you need quick access to. The following sections tell you what kind of stuff to put on the Dock and how to add an icon to the Dock.

Knowing what to put on the Dock

Put things on the Dock that you need quick access to and that you use often, or add items that aren't quickly available from menus or the toolbar. If you like using the Dock better than the Go menu or the Finder window toolbar, for example, add your Documents folder to the Dock.

Here are some examples of what to add to the Dock:

  • A word processing application: Most people use word processing software more than any other application.
  • A project folder: You can add a folder to the Dock and then you can access it much quicker than if you have to open your Documents folder first.
    When you press (click but don't let go) on a folder icon, a handy hierarchical menu of its contents appears. Give it a try — it's great.
  • A special utility or application: You may prefer to have handy a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application (used to download files from the Internet), a graphics application such as Photoshop, or a calendar program.
  • Your favorite URL: Save a link to a site that you visit every day — one that you use in your job, or a favorite news site, or your personalized page from an Internet service provider (ISP). Sure, you can make one of these pages your browser's start page, but the Dock lets you add one or more additional URLs.
    Here's how to quickly add a URL to the Dock. Open Internet Explorer (IE) and go to the page with a URL that you want to save on the Dock. Click and drag the small icon that you find at the left of the URL in the Address bar to the right side of the Dock and then release the mouse button. Your URL is now in place. When you click the URL icon that you move to your Dock, IE opens to that page.
    You can add several URL icons to the Dock, but bear in mind that the Dock and its icons shrink to accommodate added icons, thus making them harder to see. Perhaps the best idea — if you want easy access to several URLs — is to create a folder full of URLs and put that folder on the Dock. Then you can just press and hold your mouse on the folder (or Control-click the folder) to pop up a menu with all your URLs.

Even though you can make the Dock smaller, you're still limited to one row of icons. The smaller that you make the Dock, the larger the crowd of icons that you can amass. You have to determine for yourself what's best for you: having lots of icons available on the Dock (even though they may be difficult to see because they're so tiny) or having less clutter but fewer icons on your Dock.

Putting an icon on the Dock

Adding an application, file, or folder to the Dock is as simple as dragging it there. Follow these steps to add an icon to the Dock:

1. Open a Finder window containing an application, file, or folder that you use frequently.

2. Click the item that you want to add to the Dock and drag it out of the Finder window and onto the Dock.

An icon for this item now appears on the Dock.

You can add several items at the same time to the Dock by selecting them all and dragging the group to the Dock. However, you can delete only one icon at a time from the Dock.

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