How to use the Dock with Folders
Mac Tip #427, 10 March 2010
On its right side (or bottom), the Dock holds icons for folders. Add or Remove folders, and set them up to give you the best access to what you need. Here’s how.
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View and empty the Trash
The Trash is a special folder that always appears in the last position on the Dock and cannot be moved. Click once on the Trash icon to see the contents of the Trash.
To empty the Trash either choose
Empty Trash… from the Finder menu or do one of the following:
- Click and hold on the Trash icon. A menu appears, including the option to
- Control (⌃) click on the Trash icon. A menu appears, including the option to
- Command (⌘) click and hold on the Trash icon. A menu appears, including the option to
Secure Empty Trash.
Document and Download Stacks
On a new Mac the Documents and Downloads folders appear by default on the right-hand side of the Dock. If you set your Dock to be vertical, they appear in the bottom portion.
In Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) these folders are set up as
Stacks. When you click on a Stack its contents are displayed as a List, Fan or Grid ‘attached’ to the folder in the Dock. Whatever application is at the front stays at the front. Click on an item to open it.
That’s different from how the Finder icon at the other end of the Dock behaves. If you click the Finder icon in the Dock then the Finder comes to the front, and a folder opens.
List, Fan and Grid views
To change how a Stack or Folder displays Control (⌃) click on a Stack or Folder icon. A menu appears.
By default Stacks display with the most recent item first. Other Options include
Date Created and
Choose whether to display a Stack in a
List view. If you choose an
Automatic view, the Mac will display a small number of contents as a Fan or a larger number as a Grid.
Folder or Stack display
A folder and a Stack are both folders. A Stack though uses the icon of the most recently added item as the icon for the Stack. A folder simply displays a blank folder icon.
Add a folder to the Dock
To add a folder to the Dock drag the folder’s icon from an open Finder window into a position on the right-hand side of the Dock. To move it to a new position drag it sideways. The adjacent items will move to make room for it.
Remove a folder from the Dock
To remove a folder from the Dock drag it away. It disappears in a puff of ‘smoke’. The actual folder is not removed from your computer.
Do you find the Dock the best way to access your folders? Tell us in the Comments how you use folders in the Dock.