OSX Stacks

For those of us that use OSX’s Dock, it can get pretty crowed when you keep adding apps and folders. Stacks allow you to get some of that real estate back, making it easier to find your favorite apps or that document you were working on.

Creating Stacks

Creating stacks is quite easy since they are nothing more than folders that contain documents or apps. Simply drag the folder in Finder to the right side of the Dock. In fact, you already have a couple of stacks in the Dock, Documents and Downloads.

With a Stack you can organize your favorite apps into a folder. By naming that folder, you’ve essentially named the stack. You could organize by types of apps you use regularly, like your favorite music apps or web apps. Just open up Finder, then create and name a new folder to something that pertains to the contents of the folder. Then start dragging apps or documents into the folder.

Before you start dragging apps, here are a couple of tips that will make this easier and maybe save you some trouble in the future.

First with Finder open to the new folder you just created, right click on the Applications folder in the Favorites column in Finder, then click “Open in New Tab”. This makes it easier to drag your apps to your new folder.

Second thing to do is hold down the Option and Command keys before clicking and dragging your app to the new folder. This creates an alias to the app and doesn’t really move the app, but it does open the app when you click the icon in the stack. The reason for this is simple, an alias to the app, keeps the app where the developer probably expects to find it during an upgrade. There is a possibility, however slight, that something won’t update correctly if the app isn’t in the Applications folder. Most developers don’t hard-code a path to a file, but there have been some in the past that did and things tend to break that way.

Once you have your apps in the new folder, simply click and drag the folder to the right side of the Dock. That’s it, you just created your first stack!

Customizing Your StackStack Menu

Now that you have your stack, let’s customize it to suit your tastes. Right click on the stack icon and the stack menu opens up. There are three different ways you can configure your stack, how it sorts the contents of the stack, what the icon will display as, and how you want the contents to be viewed.

Sort By
Display AS
There are several ways you can sort the contents of your stack.
– NAME \- Alphabetically from top to bottom, left to right.
– DATE ADDED \- sorted with the newest date at the bottom of the list.
– DATE MODIFIED \- bottom to top.
– DATE CREATED \- bottom to top.
– KIND \- file types sre grouped together by their type, such as folders, pdfs, apps, etc.

Display As
Display AS
This setting determines how the stack icon will display, as either a folder or stack icon. The folder icon will be whatever is the default for the folder. The stack icon takes the icons of each item in the stack and files them one after another behind the first one. There is a slight hint the others are there. Change it to display as stack and see what I mean.

View Content As
Here you have four different views you can set the stack to. Every stack you create can also be viewed differently.
– FAN \- This view shows a portion of the folder’s content where your sort by setting determines the icon closest to the Dock. For example, if you are sorting by name, then the files would be sorted from A to Z, bottom to top. Slightly opposite of everything else. One other thing about this view, it’s only available if the Dock is on the bottom.
– GRID \- This view has a matrix of icons, arranged by your sort by setting.
– LIST \- The list view is just as it’s name implies, a list of the contents of the stack by title, again arranged by your sort by setting.
– AUTOMATIC \-This option lets OSX determine the best view based on the number of items in the folder.

There you have it, a quick, easy way to organize your Dock and achieve Mac Serenity.