Add Applications and Extras to Your MacBook Dock - dummies

Add Applications and Extras to Your MacBook Dock

By Mark L. Chambers

The Dock is the quick-access strip for applications and documents that appears on your MacBook Desktop. Why be satisfied with just the icons that Apple places in the Dock? You can add your own applications, files, and folders to the Dock as well.

  • Adding applications: You can add any application to your Dock by simply dragging its icon into the area to the left side of the Dock (that’s to the left side of the vertical dotted line that’s visible in the Dock). You’ll know when you’re in the proper territory because the existing Dock icons obligingly move aside to make a space for it.

    Attempting to place an application directly on the right side of the Dock sends it to the Trash (if the Trash icon is highlighted when you release the button), so beware.

    Note, however, that you can drop an application icon inside a Stack or a folder that already exists at the right side of the Dock. (If you’ve repositioned the Dock to the left or right side of the screen, consider the top of the Dock as the “left side” and the bottom of the Dock as the “right side.”

  • Adding individual files and volumes: Individual files and volume icons can be added to the Dock by dragging the icon into the area to the right side of the Dock. (Attempting to place these to the left of the side of the Dock opens the application associated with the contents, which usually doesn’t work.)

    Again, the existing Dock icons will move aside to create a space when you’re in the right area.

    To open the Dock item you’ve added in a Finder window, right-click the icon to display a Dock menu, where you can open documents, run applications, and have other assorted fun, depending on the item you choose.

  • Adding several files or a folder: Lion uses a feature called Stacks to handle multiple files or add an entire folder to the Dock.

  • Adding websites: You can drag any URL from Safari directly into the area at the right of the Dock. Clicking that icon automatically opens your browser and displays that page.

To remove an icon from the Dock, just click and drag it off the Dock. You get a rather silly (but somehow strangely satisfying) animated cloud of debris, and the icon is no more.

Note, however, that the original application, folder, or volume is not deleted — just the Dock icon itself is permanently excused. If you like, you can delete almost any of the default icons that Mac OS X installs in the Dock; only the Finder and Trash icons must remain in the Dock.

To set up a Dock icon as a Login Item — without the hassle of opening the Users & Groups pane in System Preferences — just click a Dock icon and hold the mouse button down until the pop-up menu appears. Select Option and, then select the Open at Login item from the submenu.

If you can’t delete items from the Dock, you’re using a managed account — your account is configured with Parental Controls turned on, and your administrator has deselected the Can Modify the Dock check box in your account. In order to delete Dock items, you’ll need an admin-level user to log in; then visit the Users & Groups pane in System Preferences, click your account, and reselect the check box.