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How do I add or remove Applications and Folders from the Dock? How else can I customize the Dock?

The Dock is a place to keep shortcuts (aka aliases) for quick reference. Keep in mind that the items don't "live" on the Dock. The icons on the Dock simply point to another location on your hard drive (so don't delete the original!).

NOTE: When the Dock is at the bottom of your screen, applications are on the left side of the vertical "crosswalk", and everything else (folders, documents, server aliases, etc) is on the right side. When the dock is on the right or left of the screen, applications are above the crosswalk bar, and everything else is below.

Adding and Removing Applications to the Dock

  1. Go to your Applications folder (Macintosh HD -> Applications)
  2. Find the program you'd like to add. Click and drag the icon to the Dock (on the left side of the vertical divider, or above the horizontal divider bar).
  3. To remove an Application from the Dock, simply drag it off the Dock. You'll see it "poof" (don't worry you didn't delete the just removed the alias to the program). If the icon bounces back into the dock after dragging it off, try again and drag it further from the dock. It has to be quite a long way away to "poof".


  1. Open the Application you'd like to add to the dock. 
  2. In the dock, click and hold on the application icon. 
  3. In the pop up menu, select Options --> Keep in Dock


When you close the application the icon will remain in the dock. NOTE: You can also choose to add an application to your login items so that it opens at login from the pop up menu.


Adding and Removing Folders or Documents to the Dock.

  1. Click on the Finder icon (blue smiley face on your Dock).
  2. Navigate to the folder or document that you'd like to add.
  3. Click and drag the folder or document to the right side of the vertical, or below the horizontal, crosswalk.
  4. IMPORTANT: Do not delete the original file or folder! Remember the Dock items are just aliases. Folders and files don't live on the Dock. (Alias to items in the trash can will still open until the trash can is emptied, so don't be fooled that you didn't really need the original item.)
  5. To remove a folder alias or document alias from the Dock, simply click and drag it off the Dock. You'll see it "poof". (Don't worry. You didn't delete the folder or document. You just removed the alias to the folder or document.)

See also
Mac 101: The Dock
Mac 101: Customize the Dock
Mac OS X: Additional features of the Dock

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