How to Customize the Dock on your Mac

How to Customize the Dock on your Mac How to Customize the Dock on your Mac

The Dock is one of the great features of Mac OS X as it allows you to quickly launch your frequently used applications, access system preferences or launch the Terminal with a single click of a mouse. Nevertheless, at some point, you might decide to change the way it looks, position or icon size. Well, if that is the case, then let me show you how easily it can be done in the guide below.

Before describing the customization process, I just want to tell you that there are two ways to do the job: by using the System Preferences or a third-party app.

Using System Preferences

The first thing you need to do in order to customize your Dock is open the System Preferences window and click on the Dock icon. Once you have done that, a window will appear (see the image below). Using this window you can modify several parameters. You can change the size of the Dock using the slide bar, change its magnification level, screen position (bottom, left or right) or set the desired effect when minimizing windows (genie or scale effect). Besides that, you are also provided with several checkboxes which you can tick in order to enable features like hiding the dock when it is not in use (free up some space on your screen) or display indication lights for opened applications.

Dock SettingsDock Settings

If you don't want to use the Finder and access the System Preferences, you can also quickly perform modifications simply by right clicking on the Dock and selecting any of the available options.

Right Click on DockRight Click on Dock

Using third-party applications

A good program for modifying your Mac's Dock is DockDesigner.

Tutorial assets

You will need to download the following software to follow along with this tutorial.

This free application gives you the possibility to change your Dock into a 3D or a 2D Dock, make it transparent, replace the standard indicators and separators with images from your system and choose any desired background image.

Dock DesignerDock Designer

If you are using Mac OS X 10.9 or a newer version, then you can try some of the third-party applications that are available on the Internet. One of such apps is the freeware TinkerTool created by Marcel Bresink. Besides giving your additional customization options, this app will also let you disable various effects or even restrict Dock access. 


If you are not happy with TinkerTool, then you might want to try some of the alternative programs that can be found on the list below.

Alternative downloads

  • CandyBar CandyBar free mac Change the system icons in Mac OS X that you normally can't... Download
  • DockDesigner DockDesigner free mac Dock Designer is a free, powerful tool that lets you customize the design and look of your Mac OS X Dock on your own. Download
  • DockX DockX free mac For anyone who wants to customize Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) Dock. Download
  • cDock cDock mac Small program to install a 2D dock on OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite). Download