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Set Global Dock Preferences in Mac OS X Mountain Lion

You can change a few things about the Mac OS X Mountain Lion Dock to make it look and behave just the way you want it to. To change global Dock preferences, choose Apple→Dock→Dock Preferences. The System Preferences application opens to the Dock pane.

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You can also open the Dock Preferences by right-clicking or Control-clicking the Dock Resizer and choosing Dock Preferences from the shortcut menu.

Now you can adjust your Dock with the following preferences:

  • Size: Note the slider bar here. Move this slider to the right (larger) or left (smaller) to adjust the size of the Dock in your Finder. As you move the slider, watch the Dock change size. (Now, there’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!)

    As you add items to the Dock, the icons — and the Dock itself — shrink to accommodate the new ones.

  • Magnification: This slider controls how big icons grow when you pass the arrow cursor over them. Or you can deselect this check box to turn off magnification entirely.

  • Position on Screen: Choose one of these three radio buttons to attach the Dock to the left side, the right side, or the bottom of your screen (the default).

  • Minimize Windows Using: From this handy pop-up menu (PC users would call it a drop-down list, but what the heck; there’s no gravity in a computer screen anyway), choose the animation that you see when you click a window’s Minimize button (the yellow gumdrop). The Genie Effect is the default, but the Scale Effect seems a bit faster to me.

    Want to amaze your friends? Surreptitiously hold down the Shift key when you click the Minimize button or the Dock icon of a minimized window to make the animation effect play in super slow motion.

  • Double-Click a Window’s Title Bar to Minimize: If you select this option, double-clicking anywhere in a window’s title bar minimizes the window.

    This option achieves the exact same result as clicking a window’s yellow gumdrop button. The difference is that the gumdrop button is a tiny target and way over on the left side of the window, while the title bar — the gray area with the window’s title — makes a huge target the width of the window.

  • Minimize Windows into Application Icon: If you select this option, when you minimize a window by clicking its yellow gumdrop button, you won’t see a Dock icon for that window.

    If this option isn’t selected, each window you minimize gets its own personal icon on the right side of your Dock.

  • Animate Opening Applications: OS X animates (bounces) Dock icons when you click them to open an item. If you don’t like the animation, deselect (that is, uncheck) this check box, and the bouncing ceases evermore.

  • Automatically Hide and Show the Dock: Don’t like the Dock? Maybe you want to free the screen real estate on your monitor? Then choose the Automatically Hide and Show the Dock check box; after that, the Dock displays itself only when you move the cursor to the bottom of the screen where the Dock would ordinarily appear. It’s like magic! (Okay, it’s like Windows that way.)

    If the Dock isn’t visible, deselect the Automatically Hide and Show the Dock check box to bring back the Dock. The option remains turned off unless you change it by checking the Automatically Hide and Show the Dock check box. Choose Apple→Dock→Turn Hiding On (or use its keyboard shortcut cmd+Option+D).

    The keyboard shortcut cmd+Option+D is a toggle, so it reverses the state of this option each time you use it.

  • Show Indicator Lights for Open Applications: Select this option if you want all open applications to display an indicator light below their Dock icons. If you disable this option, none of your Dock icons will ever display an indicator light.

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