How to Customize the Dock in Mac OS X Snow Leopard - dummies

How to Customize the Dock in Mac OS X Snow Leopard

By Mark L. Chambers

Mac OS X Snow Leopard lets you customize most desktop items, and the Dock is no different. Mac’s Dock is like command central, so you customize it to work best for you. If you want your Dock to go mobile as well, click the Apple menu and choose the Dock item to display the submenu. Here’s a rundown of the options that you’ll find:

  • Hiding: Click Turn Hiding On/Off to toggle the automatic hiding of the Dock. With hiding on, the Dock disappears off the edge of the screen until you move the mouse pointer to that edge. (This is great for those who want to use as much Desktop territory as possible for their applications.) You can press Command+Option+D to toggle Dock hiding on and off from the keyboard.

  • Magnification: Click Turn Magnification On/Off to toggle icon magnification when your pointer is selecting an icon from the Dock. With magnification on, the icons in the Dock get really, really big . . . a good thing for Mr. Magoo or those with grandiose schemes to take over the world.

    Now those are some pumped-up icons.
    Now those are some pumped-up icons.
  • Position: Click one of three choices (Position on Left, Bottom, or Right) to make the Dock appear where you want it.

  • Dock Preferences: Click this to display the System Preferences Dock settings.

    Set your Dock preferences.
    Set your Dock preferences.
  • Size: Move this slider to change the overall size of the Dock.

  • Magnification: With this check box selected, a Dock icon magically expands, like the national deficit, when you move your mouse cursor over it. You can move the Magnification slider to specify just how much magnification is right for you.

  • Position on Screen: Choose from three radio buttons to make that crazy Dock appear at the left, bottom, or right edge of your Desktop.

  • Minimize Windows Using: By default, Mac OS X animates a window when it’s shrunk into the Dock and when it’s expanded back into a full window. From the Minimize Using pop-up menu, you can choose from a genie-in-a-bottle effect or a scale-up-or-down-incrementally effect. To demonstrate, choose an effect and then click the Minimize button (the yellow button in the upper-left corner) on the System Preferences window.

  • Animate Opening Applications: By default, Mac OS X has that happy, slam-dancing feeling when you launch an application: The application’s icon bounces up and down in the Dock two or three times to draw your attention and indicate that the application is loading. If you find this effervescence overly buoyant or distracting, deselect this check box.

  • Automatically Hide and Show the Dock: If you like, the Dock can stay hidden until you need it, thus reclaiming a significant amount of Desktop space for your application windows. Select this check box to hide the Dock whenever you’re not using it.