How to Open Application Menus on the OS X Yosemite Dock

By Bob LeVitus

Single-clicking an application icon on the Dock launches that application — or, if the application is already open, switches you to that application and brings forward all open windows in that application.

But application icons on the Dock — such as Calendar, 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 menus for applications on the Dock appear in two ways:

  • Press and continue to hold down the mouse button.

  • Right-click or Control-click.

If you use a trackpad or a Magic Mouse, a two-finger tap should do the trick.

Do any of the preceding and you’ll see menu for the icon you clicked or tapped.

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  • Remove from Dock: Removes that application’s icon from the Dock (waiting until after you quit the application if it’s running). If an application is running and its icon isn’t already in the Dock, you’ll see Add to Dock rather than Remove from Dock.

  • Open at Login: Launches this application automatically every time you log in to this user account. This is handy for apps you want to keep running all the time, such as Mail or Safari.

  • Show in Finder: Opens the enclosing folder (in this instance, that would be the Applications folder) and selects the application’s icon.

The three Assign To items (All Desktops, This Desktop, and None) involve Mission Control.

Show Recents is a cool feature that, sadly, isn’t available for all applications. When it’s available and you choose it from a Dock icon’s menu, icons for recently used documents appear above the Dock. Hover the pointer over a document icon to see its full name (Vintage Dr. Gonzo.jpg).

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And finally, choosing Open launches the application.

So there you have it: That’s the default Options menu, which is what you’ll see for most applications when they aren’t open.

There is one last thing: When you press and hold or right-click/Control-click the Dock icon for an application that’s currently running (look for the little dot below its icon), you will see different menus, like the ones shown here (clockwise from top left: Safari, Preview, System Preferences, TextEdit, and iTunes).

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As you can see, some open applications provide useful program-specific commands or options.

iTunes has a great Dock menu, letting you control your music from the Dock with options such as Play/Pause, Next or Previous Track, Repeat, and Shuffle.

Other programs, including Preview and Safari, offer you a list of open windows with a check mark to indicate the active window.

Finally, the items above the list of open windows for TextEdit (Read Me, pslog.txt, and Dr. Mac 02-25-14) are recently used documents.