In this tutorial, we use Deeper. Available as a free download from Titanium Software, Deeper takes the custom options from the popular Onyx and welds them to a standalone application that enables you to fiddle with hidden Mac OS X settings.

TinkerTool is in a similar space, but doesn't enable you to add multiple recent-item stacks and spacers to the Dock. If you're comfortable using Terminal, you can avoid software entirely.

main

(Note that before you input any of the following commands, make a copy of com.apple.dock.plist from /Library/Preferences.

Should you later want to revert to your old Dock settings, trash the updated preferences, drop your copy into the aforementioned folder, and use killall Dock in Terminal to restart the Dock.)

To remove the Dock's glass, use defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -bool YES (replace YES with NO to revert);

to make the icons of hidden applications semitransparent, use defaults write com. apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES (again, NO reverts);

for each recent item stack, use defaults write com. apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{"tile-data"={"listtype"= 1;}; "tile-type"="recentstile";}';

and for a document spacer, use defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{tiledata={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}' (use persistent-apps instead of persistent-others to add the spacer to the applications side of the Dock). Type killall Dock to apply changes.

How to go Deeper into the Dock

01. Get Deeper

step 1

Download, or install Deeper from your disc. The app will ask for your administrator's password; type it in the Password field and click OK. Deeper will take a moment to check your existing setup, and it'll then be ready. Click Dock on the toolbar to access Dock options.

02. Remove the shelf

step 2

With Deeper you can apply a 2D effect when the Dock is at the bottom of the screen, removing the glass shelf that many people find confusing and annoying. You do this by setting Appearance to 2D with transparency effect, then clicking Continue.

03. Reveal hidden apps

step 3

Running applications in the Dock have a dot underneath them, but by default there's no way to flag hidden applications. In Deeper, check Use transparent icons for hidden applications. Confirm by clicking Continue; Deeper will relaunch your Dock.

04. Hide some applications

step 4

Due to the way the Dock's settings work, hidden applications won't immediately have transparent Dock icons. However, the next time you activate and then hide any application, its Dock icon will be semi-transparent, thereby making it easier to tell that it's hidden.

05. Add a recent-item stack

step 5

Click the Add button in Deeper's Stacks section in the Dock options. To the right, you'll see a stack of apps. Click it and it will display a fan of your most recent applications. Ctrl-click the stack and you can change its view options – Grid is a good format for this kind of stack.

06. Add another recent stack

step 6

Ctrl-click the stack again – notice the options at the top of the menu. Select one to change what the 'recent' stack shows: apps, documents, servers, volumes or items. Click Add in Deeper to add a second stack type, so you can have one for apps and one for documents.

07. Add Dock spacers

step 7

Each time you click the Others button towards the bottom of Deeper's Dock section, a spacer will be added to your Dock's documents area. Spacers can be dragged, so you can group Dock items. Click the Applications button to add a spacer to the Dock's applications area.

08. Change your mind

step 8

If you decide you preferred things as they were, click Restore Defaults, and the Dock will return to its standard state. Any added spacers and recent stacks can be dragged from the Dock like any other item. Alternatively, use the preferences trick.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First published in MacFormat Issue 229

Liked this? Then check out How to bring Aero Snap to OS X

Sign up for TechRadar's free Weird Week in Tech newsletter
Get the oddest tech stories of the week, plus the most popular news and reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up at http://www.techradar.com/register

Follow TechRadar on Twitter * Find us on Facebook