Mac OS X to the Max: Dock It

The Dock is one of the best parts of Mac OS X. First, take a look at some of its keyboard shortcuts. Then, take a little deeper look at the Dock. Finally, learn about some of the cool docklings that are available.

Using Dock Keyboard Shortcuts

Dock-related keyboard shortcuts are listed in Table 5.1.

Table 5.1. Keyboard Shortcuts for the Dock
Action Keyboard Shortcut
Turn hiding off or on Option+graphics/symbol.gif+D
Move to the next open application graphics/symbol.gif+Tab
Move to the previous open application Shift+graphics/symbol.gif+Tab
Minimize Window graphics/symbol.gifM

Knowing the Dock Better

The Dock is actually an application; the application itself is located in the CoreServices folder in the Library folder of the Mac OS X System folder.

The Dock's preferences are specific to each user account, meaning that each user account has its own Dock configuration. Dock preferences are stored in a file called that is located in the following location: Users/shortusername/ Library/Preferences. If you want to re-create a specific Dock for multiple users, add this file to each user's Library folder. (To do this, you might have to be logged in as an Administrator or as root.)

Adding and Using Cool Docklings

There are many docklings you can add to your Dock to customize it and add more functionality to it.



You can download lots of docklings from Move to the site and search for "dock" to locate some.

You can add all sorts of system controls such as volume, as well as functions such as calendars, utilities, and so on, to your Dock. Docklings are simple to install and so they are easy to try out.

Use the following steps as an example of how to download and install a dockling. In this example, I downloaded and installed the Calindock dockling that puts a customizable calendar in the Dock.

  1. Find, download, and prepare the dockling you want to install. Most docklings come as disk image files.

    To learn how to download and prepare files, see "Downloading and Preparing Files," p. 345.

  2. Double-click the disk image file to reveal the files included in the disk image package (see Figure 5.7).

    Figure 5.7. The Calindock disk image contains three files; the dockling is the .dock file.


  3. Install the .dock file on your computer, such as by dragging it to the Applications folder.

  4. Drag the dockling from where you installed it on your computer to the Dock. (Remember that dockling files have the extension .dock.) You can place the dockling on the Dock in any location you choose. The dockling begins working immediately (see Figure 5.6).

Because the docklings installed on the Dock are part of each user's preferences, you must install any docklings under each user account to make them available for that user. Consider storing all the docklings you want to make available in your Public folder or in the Applications folder so that others can copy them to their own Docks.

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Lifestyle