The single handiest modification I’ve made to my Mac UI lately: moving the Dock to the top of the screen. “Heretic!” I hear you exclaim. Ah, but give me but a moment to explain….
It’s not that I hate the Dock — it definitely has its uses. However, the way I’ve had it set up the past year or so is to:
- Position it on the Right.
- Pin the Trash Can end to the bottom-righthand corner.
- Hide it.
Since I use Quicksilver and Spotlight to do most of my launching of apps and documents — and use the Command-Tab shortcut to both see what’s running and switch between apps — I don’t really need the Dock that much except to occasionaly minimize document windows. (I’ll usually Command-H hide apps I’m not interacting with but want to leave running.)
While I don’t particularly want to kill the Dock outright, I wouldn’t mind disabling it. Especially if I have a document window opened to the edges of the screen (like a spreadsheet, for example) — that begins the nerve-wracking game of “Click on the Scrollbar or Resize Widget Without Activating the Dock!” Very frustrating.
Doing some research on Dock-disabling, I found you can’t really get rid of it altogether, due to its integration into the operations of the Desktop and Finder and Lord knows what-all. Not to mention the alternate Dashboard dimension, which I also don’t use. However, there’s a little-known, hidden fourth option for Dock positioning, one that I had always scoffed at without ever trying. On the top of the screen, so that it emerges from beneath the Menubar.
Sounds like it would always be in the way, doesn’t it? Ah, but if you turn Hiding on, it’s no where to be found. And it won’t activate just by moving the cursor to the top of the screen. In fact, it’s actually a challenge to get it to appear with the mouse, as you have to land precisely on the gray line demarcating the bottom of the Menubar. Bliss! Just use Command-Option-D to reveal and hide the Dock if you need it (which is just the shortcut for turning Hiding on and off.)
Moving the Dock to the top requires this Terminal command (assuming you don’t find a GUI utility to do it for you):
defaults write com.apple.dock orientation -string top
A couple-three additional tips:
- I changed the Minimize animation to use Scale as the Genie Effect looks a little peculiar.
- You might want to disable application animations in the Dock’s System Preferences
- With the Dock behaving itself, I actually expanded it so that it took up the entire width of the screen when it appeared. Looked gorgeous, with all the icons quite colorful, visible, and identifiable. However, the Dock’s usual behavior of pushing applications windows out of its way makes this large size more than a little unwieldy. Now I keep its size to a minimum and pinnned to the right; the latter is done like this:
defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string end
Check out this macosxhints article for more: Making the Dock as unobtrusive as possible