Blog Post

Dear potential Dock icon candidate – How to decide what icons make it to your dock

I have a whole batch of criteria for what makes it in my dock and gets tossed. I know we all have something that makes us promote an application to its often-clicked life in the Dock. I thought I would share some of mine and also see what readers do with their Dock icon set. These aren’t in any particular order of importance.

  1. Does the application have a good icon? I mean some of the developers are great programmers, but they desperately need a graphic artist to design them some justice. I don’t hide my dock, so if I have to look at it I want it to be pretty.
  2. Do I get convenient options or controls from the Dock’s contextual menu? Take for example, Mail lives in my dock for many useful reasons. One of these is the options I get from right-clicking on Mail’s Dock icon.

    With this I can immediately check my mail as well as create a new message or note. Did you also know that if you drag an item on the Mail icon it will attach the item to a new message? I do this frequently all day and its become part of my workflow.

  3. Is the application used daily? I love being able to come to work in the morning and have immediate access to the things I need to do in my Dock. I used to fill it up with Applications, but with this little hack you can enable the Recent Applications menu in the Dock. I’ve found I really only use about 10 applications a day anyway.
  4. Files and folders have to have many of these criteria as well. Most of the folders I put in my dock are current project folders, network volumes (they automatically connect if you put them in the Dock), and Downloads.

There you have it, very basic criteria for getting into the Dock. Its prime real estate for developers and more importantly Mac users.

What criteria do you have for your Dock?

19 Responses to “Dear potential Dock icon candidate – How to decide what icons make it to your dock”

  1. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of putting folder icons down there – having my download and other common folders there has made access that little bit quicker. Thanks for mentioning your 4th criteria.

  2. Should Apple drop the stictness of having apps on the left and the rest of the stuff on the right then? I would love to just have a bar that I could configure however the efff I wanna.

  3. Galley

    I use MLB.TV Mosaic on a daily basis, but I don’t keep it in the dock? Why? Because when the application is launched, another icon is spawned. Chalk it up to lousy programming.

  4. I use Quicksilver too, like Eimantas, and since I started using it I never used my dock anymore for opening applications. I keep it hidden all the time.

    The only thing I use it for is to access my downloads folder that sits in it!

  5. Usually the daily apps like Safari/ WebKit, Mail, Addressbook, Transmit, Preview, … but also often used Droplets (like the once made with photo Drop).

  6. Just the stuff that I use on a daily or weekly basis. Don’t really care about the icon, I just change it to my liking (hint, hint Handbrake!) Also, making Activity Monitor a real time CPU usage meter is a standard on all our Macs.