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Arrange folders in dock folder menus Desktop

Don't want to put all your applications in the dock? You've probably heard the tip of placing your applications folder in the dock instead, but you probably want to have some control over where your folders in that folder are displayed, right? These menus just look messy, don't they?

Here's the solution: by prepending a folder name with '|', '>', or '~', you can force all the folders you have in Applications to show up at the top of the menu (anyone know what character to use if you want them to show up at the bottom?). If you don't follow what I'm saying, simply click on this picture and you'll see what I mean.

[Editor's note: In both OS 9 and OS X, I use "zz" in front to make folders go to the bottom. A look at an ASCII character chart would probably find a better solution!]

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Authored by: zs on Jan 25, '02 10:33:42AM

I guess I am one of those that used to use the bullet (• - opt-8) to order things at the bottom in menus and windows. I really miss that and have sent feedback to Apple at <>, which I encourage everyone to do when they have even the littlest gripe.

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Authored by: Mikey-San on Jan 25, '02 10:55:32AM

It's strange . . .

In windows' list views, bulleted items are at the top. But, in submenus from folders the Dock, they're at the bottom.

Anyone else see this difference?


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Authored by: zs on Jan 25, '02 11:33:53AM

Bulleted items stay in the same place in dock menus on my system.

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•Short last with Opt-Z
Authored by: dazadj on Jan 26, '02 08:51:53PM

when first converting from OS9 to OS X, I found that OPT-8(Bullet) no longer sorted last. I like to have grouped folders last in Utiltilies and Application folder. Using 'zz' did provide this feature but placing zz in front of the folder name looks a little messy. The sort order used in X is not ASCII but true Alpha sorting so all related glyphs appear together eg a A à á etc sort together. Using this I now add Opt-Z(omega) to the front of folder names to sort last.

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Another gripe
Authored by: jiclark on Jan 25, '02 11:06:22AM

I was doing this to get my Utilities folder to appear at the top of column view, but then ran into a problem that others reported as well: on running an OS update, if the folders where the installers looks to update stuff has been renamed, the update will be messed up (my Print Center was hosed by the move to 10.1.2 because of this). So change your folder names to your heart's content, but beware the new "update installer bug"! And by all means, complain to Apple at the feedback page about this, and anything else that goads you! [What happened to "Thinking differently"?]



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Not Apple's Problem
Authored by: 128K Mac on Jan 25, '02 10:10:38PM

It's true that Apple has had some problems with the issue of renaming folders or moving apps/folders.

But king of the hill has to be Adobe in OS9 or X.

Change "folder" to "ƒ" and you're dead.

Adaptec (Roxio) comes to mind.

They're not alone.

With all the third party vendors out there this problem isn't going to go away soon and Apple can't do a thing about it.

It never went away with classic Mac OS. :(

Remembering this is a potential problem helps. But sooner or later some updater is going to fail and you'll do your troubleshooting without remembering the potential problem.

Then there's the little matter of remembering what the *precise* name of the folder was in the first place. If you put a ">" or *aa* or whatever in front of it did you by any chance shorten the name of the folder and delete "Adobe" or perhaps the copyright symbol? It's too easy to do this without thinking with an Adobe folder or those of others in any way.

Got an Adobe app without this "problem?" Patience. You'll find one sooner or later.

Then there are the vendors who always do it right and use "smart" installers. So you get used to changing the name and one day an update comes out and both the installer and the joker who wrote it are "dumb."

Author of this "hint" has an excellent idea and is to be commended for his illustration of it as well. If the so-called engineers who write all the installers had a modest amount of common sense it would work great.

But it won't. And in my not so humble opinion you're asking for trouble if any folder's name is changed from the original one of the installer.

Rant ends.

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Not Apple's Problem
Authored by: semios on Jan 28, '02 06:58:05PM

You make an excellent point, and perhaps my next hint should consist of a script to make alias/symbolic links to every app in the /Applications and place into another user definable/changeable place. That way dumb updates won't foul up your current installation.

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Another solution
Authored by: friedmaj on Jan 25, '02 03:10:10PM

I have solved this problem by making a new folder (named "Applications" and with the System Applications icon) and putting in it aliases of the various application folders (or aliases of the applications themselves). That allows me to control and streamline the list.

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Dunno if this works in OSX or not, but..
Authored by: RevDigger on Jan 25, '02 03:48:47PM
In OS9, I add returns in front of the "real" file/folder name to sort them the way I want. once, renamed, you can not tell the return is there. Since you can't type a return into the file name directly, try this:
Open your favorite text editor and enter a return. Next, enter the "real" file name. Select the text, INCLUDING the return, and copy. Now you should have something like, "rThis File Name at the Top" in your clipboard. Paste that into the file's name field.
Note that you can paste more than one return into a file name. Note also that managing files with returns in their names is probably a pain from the command-line. Your shell's tab-completion may help some though.     - H

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Authored by: Meeker on Jan 27, '02 03:32:15AM

You get the exact same effect if you put a "-" in the front of the file name. With no quotes of course.

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An alternative method
Authored by: daeley on Jan 25, '02 07:08:10PM

What I did was to create a folder called 'Apps' which contains categorized subfolders (Accessories, AV, Internet, Productivity, Utilities). Then I created aliases of applications in each appropriate folder. Lastly, I drag the 'Apps' folder to the dock.

Much faster browsing (right-click and boom) and easier to find what I need. Only downside is needing to add aliases for new apps, but that's fairly rare.

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Another way to put aliases in the order you want
Authored by: rubbergorilla on Jan 26, '02 12:21:44AM

I was looking through a friends iBook when I stumbled upon a folder in his dock for his favorites. What he did was put a number in front of each item (1 iTunes, 2 FileMaker, 3 ICQ, etc).

I can't believe I had never thought of doing that. You would have a problem if you go higher than nine (it would go 10, 1, 2, 3, etc) but it's great for less than 10 aliases.

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Another way to put aliases in the order you want
Authored by: jmhaney on Jan 28, '02 11:43:34PM

Actually OS X is smart enough to handle numbering without leading zeroes...

So 1, 2, 3, ..., 9, 10, 11, ... will sort properly!

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I use a space
Authored by: Titanium Man on Jan 26, '02 03:04:39AM

This works with my IE bookmarks, but I haven't tried it with folders. If I want something to appear at the top, I put a space in front of it. Using numbers sounds like a good idea too.

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What I done did
Authored by: seedy on Jan 26, '02 09:44:44PM

What I did was create a file called "appfiles" in the Applications folder, and put all the folders in it, so there are only Application icons in the Applications folder. Most Apps will work from outside their folders, and many folders just have the Read Me's in them anyway.

Then I created an Editors folder (typewriter icon), a Comm folder (old telephone icon), and a Soundapps folder (speaker icon, all icons from Mozco) in my personal directory, dragged them into the Dock, and then started dragging Apps into the correct icons, using cmd-opt to make an alias.

So if I want a browser or ftp or IM program I go to Comm. If I want Graphic Converter, Photoshop, Word, TextEdit, etc. I go to Editors. I also have Tempdocs folder in the Dock, which I use for the clutter (pdf's, email attachments, notes, etc) that invariably ends up on my desktop, and I keep icons for my X and 9 disks just in case I actually need to go into my Applications folder.

The trick for me is to have custom icons on all these folders so that I can find what I want in a glance. The Mozco icons look great in the dock, and he's got lots of different objects to pick from for whatever metaphor works for you.

Yesterday I was setting up my Dad's computer and got to pick which ones he wanted; picked different ones than I had (e.g. pencil icon for Editors) but he can get around much more easily now. He even said he was starting to be able to live without Finderpop!...&^)

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