That’s right. I’m doing a productivity post. Not sure what is possessing me to do this. I’ll have to make up for it by posting some VAX assembly in my next article (if you send me a snippet, I may post it).
Personally, I like my Dock icons on the larger side which means reducing the number of icons in the Dock. I know for some of you the Dock is like a trophy case, but for the rest of us, here are some basic tips for cleaning out the Dock.
Also, this is a post for people who use the Dock. If you don’t like the Dock, good for you. Go write your own article.
Pull Dashboard out.
Did you know that you could remove Dashboard from the Dock? Just drag it out. This doesn’t disable it. F12 can still be used to bring it up. Since I never clicked on its Dock icon, it’s a wasted spot, but at least it’s easily regained. Thanks to Brian Cooke at Roobasoft for showing me this at WWDC last year.
Keep “viewers” out of the Dock.
There are certain apps you never really launch directly. They only get launched when you open one of their documents. Good candidates are apps which are primarily meant to just view a file. QuickTime Player and Preview come to mind. I almost never launch them directly but instead launch them by double-clicking a movie or pic in Finder. Pull those out of your Dock. They’ll appear there when you open their documents but when they are not running, save some Dock space and quit them.
The Dock is for the Everyday.
Look at your Dock now. What isn’t running? When’s the last time you ran it? Do a “Get Info” on the app in Finder and check the “Last opened” time. Basically, every app in your Dock should be running and if it isn’t, it should be run sometime today. If not, then poof it. In my case, I don’t actually use Keynote or Pages all that often so finding them in my Applications folder when I need to run them every now and then is no big deal (or I could use Quicksilver. See the last point).
Replace less used apps with a folder.
You can stick arbitrary folders on the right side (or bottom part for you vertical Dockers) of the Dock. Stick your Applications folder there or, if you want to be more precise, create a folder with aliases to a subset of your apps and stick that in your Dock. Of course, you need to do this in exchange for taking some apps out of the Dock otherwise you don’t gain any space.
If you miniaturize windows, get in the habit of hiding apps.
Those miniaturized windows take up space on the Dock. Hiding the app hides them as well. They’ll come back when you switch back to the app.
Use 3rd party software.
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Nothing earth-shattering here but maybe useful to someone. I still have a bunch of icons in my Dock but at least I can say that they are all in use.