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Mac hints and tips 7

Tips index

Add folders to the Dock (10.4)

The Dock at the bottom of the screen is one of OS X's most useful features. It provides easy-to-use shortcuts to the most common applications that are supplied with the Mac and you can launch them with a single click of the mouse, with no need to hunt for them on the disk drive.

The Dock isn't a fixed toolbar that is just for providing shortcuts to the built in OS X applications and you can add your own items to it. It is useful to add folders that you frequently use for example, and with your Home, Documents, Applications or any other folder you regularly use in the Dock, they are always just a mouse click away.

To add a folder to the dock you just need to locate it and display it in a Finder window. Once you have done this you just need to drag it to the Dock and drop it somewhere convenient. For example, drop it at the right-hand side after the vertical bar separator. A single click on it will then open a Finder window to display the selected folder's contents.

If you want to remove the folder you added to the Dock (or any other item in the Dock for that matter), just drag it off onto the desktop. It will disappear in an animated puff of smoke, but there is no need to panic because the original folder hasn't just been deleted and only the shortcut in the Dock has been removed.

Menus in the Dock (10.4)

The Dock provides shortcuts to your favourite applications and other items and the usual way to use it is to simply click an item to open it. However, there are several other Dock functions you can access. For example, hold down the Ctrl key as you click an item in the Dock and a menu is displayed just above it.

The contents of the menu depends on what you click on, so you'll just have to try each item in the Dock and see what you get. Some common menu options include Remove from Dock, Open, Show in Finder, and Open at Login. The function of most of these options are obvious and Open at Login enables you to automatically run an item when you start the computer. That could be useful for certain programs.

Dock item menus

There is another way to use the Dock items and if you hold down the Command key (the one with the Apple logo), as you click an item a Finder window will open to display the contents of the folder that contains the item. Typically, the applications folder will open because that's where most of the Dock items are stored, but if you have added your own Dock items then their folders will be opened. You could use this feature as a useful shortcut to another application that isn't in the Dock, but you know is stored in the same folder.

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