If you’re a power user, you probably have something like this in your dock:
This is an alias of the Applications folder, which I dragged into the Dock. The reasoning is simple - I have more commonly-used applications than I’d care to put on the dock, but if they’re not on the dock, then I have to:
- Open a Finder window
- Click on the Applications folder in the left nav
- Find my app and double click it
Putting the Applications folder in the Dock allows you to right-click (or ctrl-click) it for a contextual menu listing its contents, ie, all your applications
This saves a few steps, though you still have to scan/scroll through the alphabetical listing to find your app. So it kind of sucks. If you need something from the Utilities folder, then you’re into the realm of hierarchical menus (yuck), and it sucks a lot more, as this example shows:
Moreover, this will only find apps in the Applications folder. Everything I use in
/Developer/Applications, like XCode and Interface Builder, doesn’t show up.
At some point, I realized that Tiger has freed me from the tyranny of this wannabe Start Menu. I was searching for something and in the results, which are sorted by type, I noticed “Applications”. I realized that it was entirely practical to simply type the first few letters of the app I needed and get to it that way:
In fact, if you use the keyboard equivalent for Spotlight (command-space if you only use one input method, ctrl-space if you use more), you can find your app without taking your hands off the keyboard.
This approach doesn’t care about hierarchies — after all, that’s the point of Spotlight — so finding deeply-nested applications or those outside the Applications folder is equally easy. In fact, that’s probably the only significant hazard: if you have multiple OS X partitions (say, for testing purposes), you can get this weird situation where you pick up applications from different partitions:
OK, which one of you Printer Setup Utilities is from Tiger, and which is from Panther?
Still, it’s so useful that there’s really no need for the Applciations-alias-in-Dock trick anymore. So long, wannabe Start Menu!
Are you launching apps with Spotlight?