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Move and corner your dock Desktop
One of the most-discussed features that appeared and then disappeared from interim builds was the ability to move the dock from the bottom of the screen to the top, left, or right sides, and to force one edge into a corner. These functions have returned in the final, and will probably be one of the most-implemented hacks on the system. I expect a full GUI tool for this within a week from someone, but for now, read the rest of this hint if you'd like the command-line instructions. They aren't too hard to follow, so don't be intimidated if you're new to OS X and/or UNIX.

UPDATE: If you'd like to do this the really easy way, get Docking Maneuvers, which puts a simple, effective GUI around the whole process! No UNIX required!

Enabling dock orientation and pinning requires editing a "plist" file, which is something like a preferences file in previous Mac OS versions. Here's what you need to do.
  1. Become root ('su' followed by your root password); you'll need to have enabled the root password first (see tips elsewhere here)

  2. To edit the "plist" file, you can use one of the included text-mode editors (vi, pico, emacs), or you can open the file in TextEdit by typing "open -e " in the terminal window. UNIX newcomers may find the TextEdit option easiest for now. Whichever tool you choose to use, the file you want to edit is:


    (Replace the "English.lproj" with the folder appropriate to your chosen language if you run a non-English system). Simply insert the above string at the end of "edit -e " to open it with TextEdit, and you'll see the editor pop open with the file's contents. NOTE: If you're nervous about making a mistake and want a backup file, simply type "cp DockMenus.plist DockMenus.backup" before you start. Look for this section of the file (the '1013' is the key you want):
    Change the <key>command</key> into <key>menu</key>

  3. Repeat the above steps, but look for the section numbered 1014, and again replace command with menu in the key tag.

  4. Save your changes (you'll have to force the save in vi/emacs, but I'm not sure about TextEdit), and end your terminal session (type 'exit' at the prompt).
There's no need to logout to make the changes effective. Simply click and hold near (but not on) the separation bar in the dock, and you should see two new menu options for "Orient" and "Pin". Experiment and find a combination you like! Congratulations, you've just hacked your brand new operating system!
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Move and corner your dock | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Not over restarts?
Authored by: macavenger on Mar 24, '01 09:43:28PM

I have read in reliable sources that the position you choose is not saved over restarts. The menu remains, however, so it is easy to reset.

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Not over restarts?
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 24, '01 10:38:14PM

I can confirm that the dock reverts to the bottom center upon reboot.
But, since theoretically MacOS X should rarely need rebooting....
(Yeah, same for Windows2000, but I have to reboot that every couple of days on my PC at work. NT ran for months...)


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easier to hack in 9.1
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 25, '01 09:48:33AM

This hack works like a charm, and I found it is much easier to boot into 9.1, view the contents of (same as X, just control click and edit away. no unix read only and permission problems to deal with.

There was a trick with older builds that let you edit a preference from the terminal, something like :

defaults write orientation Left

which was removed from later builds. anbody know the the actual command that makes this work with the dock from osx final?

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This is that hack..
Authored by: robg on Mar 25, '01 11:00:54AM

bobo - The above edits give you a new pop-up menu in the dock with the option to align the dock left, center, or right. Except Apple calls it "pin", and they say "start", "center", and "end".

Or were you asking something different?

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This is that hack..
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 25, '01 11:21:38AM

I got the menu hack working fine, but when I restart, the dock goes back to the bottom center. Its easy enough to fix, the menu's still there, and its rock solid stable so far so i won't have to restart much.

on some of the builds between PB and 10.0, you could supposedly change the default behavior of the dock with a terminal command like the one i posted. this doesn't work on 10.0, but i was wondering if anyone knew of a similar command for 10.0 that would, for example, make the dock orient at the right and pin at the end as a default.

again, not a huge deal. i had the dock on the right for less tha a day. its back on the bottom until osx windows do a better job of detecting the dock and not sticking scroll bars and drag tabs behind it.

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Not over restarts?
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 25, '01 03:54:51PM

Anyone have a guess why this was not the default behavior since
it seems as this was a major gripe

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Not over restarts?
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 04, '01 10:25:11AM

The information about your choice is saved in your Dock plist,
~/Library/Preferences/ and can be seen with the
defaults tool:

owens% defaults read pinning

Don't know why the Dock ignores it. . .

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Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 25, '01 01:17:19PM

Beautiful. At last I've gotten something to work using the Terminal.

Dock now goes where I tell it.

Life is good!

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Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 25, '01 02:16:24PM

rebooting does reset dock position... it's a pain... but i bet someone will find a hack

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Non-editing method
Authored by: robg on Mar 28, '01 11:29:08PM
Austin Shoemaker has released "Docking Maneuvers," which makes these changes through a checkbox GUI. Very easy to use, and you can turn the effects on or off at will. You can find it on his iDisk. It's a nifty little program that does exactly what it claims to do. -rob.

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Non-editing method
Authored by: yeidel on Apr 12, '01 11:08:53PM

I love it! Though a veteran of the command line years, I'll take a GUI anytime for the same functionality. Thanks, Austin and robg.

I'm amazed that Apple has this capability built into the code, but doesn't allow access to it from Dock Preferences. I presume it's in the name of 'hiding complexity"; but the more important problem is _managing_ complexity. Is an "Advanced Options" tab too much to ask?

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Use TranspaentDock to get the menus
Authored by: djpk on Apr 09, '02 05:12:14PM

I used TransparentDock to make the dock transparent and did the option to add Pin and Quit. When I reset it in TransparentDock it gave me an option to not remove the Pin and Quit. I chose not to and I have a normal dock with the added menu items. Very nice.

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Move and corner your dock
Authored by: sirbeck on Sep 07, '04 12:35:10PM

Here's a handy script for anyone who might not have the pinning menu entries for 1014.

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