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Opening Application Menus in the Mac OS X Lion Dock

Single-clicking an application icon in the Mac OS X Lion Dock launches that application. If that Mac OS X Lion application is already open, a single-click switches you to that application and brings forward all open windows in that application.

But application icons in the Dock — such as iCal, Safari, iTunes, and others — also hide menus containing some handy commands. (Folder icons in the Dock have a different but no less handy menu.)

You can make application Dock-icon menus appear by pressing and continuing to hold down the mouse button or right or Control+clicking the mouse.

If you use a trackpad, a two-finger click will do the trick too.


Choosing Open launches the application; choosing Show in Finder opens the enclosing folder (Applications) and selects the application’s icon; choosing Remove from Dock removes that application’s icon from the Dock (waiting until after you quit the application if it’s running); and Open at Login launches this application automatically every time you log in to this user account. If an application’s icon isn’t already in the Dock, you see Add to Dock rather than Remove from Dock.

Show Recents is new in Mac OS X Lion. Choose it, and icons for recently used documents appear above the Dock.


Last but not least, if you press and hold or right- or Control+click an open application’s Dock icon, you might see a menu like the ones shown.

The default Options menu is what you’ll see for most applications when they aren’t open.

When an application is running, however, its Dock menu usually looks very different depending on the application.

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