There’s nothing wrong with your Mac’s Dock that a dozen utilities can’t repair. Maybe that’s why there’s a couple of dozen Dock add ons to improve the Mac’s built in launcher.
My problem with the Dock is that I have so many apps, tools, utilities and documents on it that it squishes the icons down too small to see. Maybe the Dock needs an add-on Dock that pops up only when you need it.
Love The Dock Or Leave It
I’m serious when I say there’s nothing wrong with the Dock. It is what it is. It does what it does. Like anything free, the Dock on your Mac has some shortcomings.
One of the first problems we encounter is when the Dock icons become too small.
Sure, you can magnify the icons with that eye candy animation, but the problem persists. You still have to mouse down to the general area of wherever you think the app icon you want might be.
That’s why there are so many Mac app launchers, including some tools which give you multiple Docks to bounce back and forth between. Nice, huh? If only I could remember which Dock had which apps or which documents.
Is there a better way? No. But there are different ways.
The Orbiter That Doesn’t Really Orbit
The folks who make free Mac software are not going to spend a lot of time naming their products. Revenue begets an extra layer of creativity. Orbiter is a Mac Dock enhancement that, uh, um, well, acts like another floating Dock.
Assuming your Mac’s Dock is so crowded with apps and documents that you still can’t find what you want when you want it, then try Orbiter. Once installed and set up, Orbiter springs into action with a flick of the mouse (move the mouse to a hotspot on your screen).
What you get is a customized list of apps ready to be clicked.
Nice, huh? You can select which apps, folders, and documents you want to be displayed in Orbiter’s list. Orbiter can be configured to open when your mouse pointer touches an on-screen hotspot. It also comes with a bunch of themes to change how Orbiter looks. Eye candy color. Goth metal. Boring gradients. Charcoal coolness.
Orbiter vanishes quickly after use to be summoned again whenever you need it. Just move the mouse pointer to a chosen hotspot.
What’s not to like? It’s free. It works. It’s helpful.
The Little Engine That Can’t Quite
My Mac’s screens—iMac and MacBook—is wider than longer. Yes, the Dock can go left or right or bottom, but bottom is the default because wider is better—more app icons.
Orbiter is decidedly vertical. Vertical is OK in a pinch, but add a bunch of app icons to Orbiter and scrolling sets in—another motion.
The whole idea of improving the Dock’s limited functionality is to reduce steps, mouse clicks, motions, and thinking—not increase each one. Orbiter can be a nice pop up menu for frequently used apps. Or, it can replace the Dock entirely if screen real estate is an issue.
The custom themes are a welcome addition. Me loves me some eye candy sans a price tag. But me loves me more functionality, too. Make the Mac Mommy™ happy, guys.
Instead of a vertical list of apps, how about a palette of icons and names below each icon? How about some tabs to differentiate folders, apps, and documents? If you do all that and keep it free, too, it would be just like Drag Thing, my still favorite and reigning king of Mac launchers.