Mac: Organizing and Decluttering Your Desktop Dock

If any of you are like me, I despise a cluttered desktop … much like my life …clutter irks me. So, I started trying to figure out a way to declutter my desktop, first by starting with my dock as I had a ton of icons across the dock.

First step – I created folders within my applications folder for the various application categories. For me, I used Media, Browsers, Microsoft Office, Creative Suite and Tools. Then I added application alias’ to the appropriate category folders.

  • Media: iTunes, Facetime, Spotify, Image Capture, etc.
  • Browser Shortcuts: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.
  • Microsoft Office: Word, Outlook, Excel, etc.
  • Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
  • Tools: Grab, Calculator, Evernote, Jing, etc.

After creating the appropriate folders, I then click and drag the new application folder from the Finder to the right side of the dock divider near the trash (but not in the trash…oops ;-))

After creating the new icon on the dock you have the option to change the view of how the applications are shown by right-clicking on the icon and select fan, grid, list or automatic!

Personally, I selected Grid to make it easier to find the app of my choice.

After creating the icons on the desktop, it looked … well … cluttered as it was displaying a stack of icons contained within the folder with the first app in the list on top.

I decided to create my own icons to replace the new cluttered category folders on the dock.

First, you’ll need to create the icons and then save them in the mac icns format. I created the icons and saved as PNG’s to make the backgrounds transparent. I then used a handy online tool, iConvert Icons, for converting the png files to icns files. I then located my new application category folders within Finder>Applications that I created earlier, right clicked on the folder and selected Get Info.

You are then presented with a window similar to the following:

Open the new ICNS file you created earlier with the application of choice, copy the icon(COMMAND+C), then select small blue folder located in the top left of the Get Info window (shown with red arrow). After selecting the blue folder icon, it should change somewhat and be surrounded by a glow. Then paste the icon to the folder(COMMAND+V).

Your new icon should be in place and you can now close the Get Info window and your new icon should appear assigned to the folder within Finder. When pasting the icon, the machine may request for permission to change the icon and will require you to type in your username and password.

For the icon to appear properly on the dock, it may be necessary to right click the icon on the dock and select “Folder” instead of “Stack”. And Voilà …

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