How to Organize with Stacks on Mac OS X Snow Leopard

By Mark L. Chambers

Mac OS X Snow Leopard offers Stacks, which are groups of items (documents, applications, and folders) that you want to place in the Dock for convenience — perhaps the files needed for a project you’re working on, or your favorite game applications.

To create a Stack, just select and drag the items you want to include to the right side of the Dock. As always, a spot opens on the right side of the Dock to indicate you’re in the zone.

To display the items in a Stack, just click it:

  • If the Stack holds relatively few items, they’re displayed in a really cool-looking arc that Apple calls a fan, and you can click the item you want to open or launch.

    Click a Stack in the Dock to view its contents.

    Click a Stack in the Dock to view its contents.
  • If the Stack is stuffed full of many items, the Stack opens in a grid display, allowing you to scroll through the contents to find what you need.

You can remove a Stack from the Dock by Control-clicking or right-clicking the Stack icon. Choose Remove from Dock from the menu that appears. Alternatively, just drag it right off the Dock.

If you add a folder full of items, the Stack is named after the folder; otherwise, Snow Leopard does the best job it can of figuring out what to name the Stack. (To rename it, right-click the Stack icon, or hold down Control while clicking the icon, and the Rename Stack menu item appears.)

Apple provides two Stacks already set up for you. One, the Download folder, situated next to the Trash, is the default location for any new files that you download using Safari or receive in your e-mail. Snow Leopard bounces the Download Stack icon to indicate that you’ve received a new item. Next to the Download Stack is the Documents Stack, which conveniently displays the contents of your Documents folder.