Mac Tricks: Adding Dock Separators

This is my first tutorial in what I’m hoping will become a series of easy Mac Tricks. I’m all about customization, and especially when it comes to my Mac and my workspace. When I got my new Mac Pro for work, I spent a good portion of the morning customizing the look from the icons, to the wallpapers and even the Dock. If you’re a fellow design or even a casual Mac user; I’m sure you have a fair amount of launch icons in your Dock. I wanted to find a way to add separators to the Dock, so that I could easily sort applications and make it easier to locate them without hunting.

Well, if you have tried to do the same thing you probably noticed that there’s no way to add dock separators built into OS X. So, how do you solve the problem? Well, with a little research I have found the solution. First let’s take a look at my existing dock:

Mac Dock Separator Tutorial: Before

As you can see, it’s quite a mess of icons and there’s really no rhyme or reason to how they’re laid out. With the addition of a separator between the icons, it would be easier to find the right application rather than scrolling through them all. So, how do you add a separator? As I mentioned there’s no clear cut way to add them from the OS, so you have to do a little tweaking in the Terminal. So if you don’t have the Terminal App in your dock, you can find it under: Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

With the Terminal App open, enter the following code to add a single separator to the Dock (copy and paste the first line to make it easier):

defaults write persistent-apps -array-add '{ "tile-type" = "spacer-tile"; }'

hit return and type:

killall Dock

hit return

Your Dock will disappear and when it returns (a few seconds) there will be a separator towards the end of the Dock…it’s invisible, but it’s there. Now to position it, just click and drag it to where you want. If you want more than one separator, you just need to enter the first line of code again for as many separators as you want. That’s it…pretty easy! Here’s what my Dock looks like after the addition of separators.

Mac Dock Separator Tutorial: After

Now all of my icons in the Dock are organized by application type. I have created six groups of icons (some you can’t see).

  • Browsers, Twitter and IM
  • Graphics Programs
  • Development Programs
  • Administrative Programs
  • System Apps
  • Games

If you like this tutorial let me know, or if you have tips you’d like to share I’d love to hear them. Until next time…

~ GrandmasterB