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Archived - Mac Basics: Customize the Dock

Learn how to customize the Dock on your Mac.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Like the Finder window sidebar, you can customize the Dock so that it holds only those items that you want, or cram everything in it if you want to. Unlike the Finder window sidebar, you can also choose where to dock the Dock and control its visual appeal too.

This article applies to Mac OS X v10.5 and earlier. For Mac OS X v10.6 or later information, see this article instead.

Icon magnification can be changed in the Dock preferences.

Dock magnification

When you move your arrow over a docked icon, the icon grows bigger. But you can choose how big or small the magnification should grow to, and how big or small the Dock should appear in its normal state.

By setting a small sized Dock and maximizing the Magnification,
our Dock becomes animated whenever we select something from it.

  1. From the Apple menu, choose Dock, then Dock Preferences (or open System Preferences and click Dock) to open the preferences.
  2. To adjust the size of the Dock, move the Dock Size slider left to make it smaller, or right to make it bigger.
  3. To control how big the icons will grow, move the Magnification slider left to make the icon magnification smaller, or right to make it bigger. Move your arrow over the Dock to test your setting.
  4. If you prefer not to have the icons magnify, deselect the Magnification checkbox.

Move the Dock

If you don't like having the Dock at the bottom of your screen, you can move it to the left or right side. To do this, do one of the following:

Selecting this radio button places the Dock on the left side of our screen.

  • In Dock preferences, locate the "Position on screen" section, and select the Left radio button to place the Dock on the left side, or Right to move it to the right. Select Bottom to place it back in its default location at the bottom of your screen.
  • From the Apple menu, choose Dock, then either Position on Left to place the Dock on the left side, or Position on Right to move it to the right.

Change the minimizing effect

When you minimize a window, your Mac animates the process using the Genie Effect to suck the window into the Dock. Same thing goes for when you click a minimized window to bring it back to its normal state. But you can change the effect by doing the following:

This is the Genie Effect in action; the Scale Effect is less dramatic in its performance.

  1. From the Apple menu, choose Dock, then Dock Preferences or open System Preferences then click Dock to open the preferences.
  2. From the Minimize using pop-up menu, choose Scale Effect. If you want to switch back to the default setting, choose Genie Effect.

Hide the Dock

The Dock will sit idly on whatever side of the screen you tell it to, but if you prefer, you can hide the Dock so that it only appears when you move the arrow to that side of the screen. To hide the Dock, do one of the following:

To make the Dock less obtrusive, hide it by selecting this checkbox.

  • In Dock preferences, select the "Automatically hide and show the Dock" checkbox.
  • From the Apple menu, choose Dock, then Turn Hiding On.
Last Modified: Jan 30, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jan 30, 2014
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