Real separators for the Mac OS X Leopard dock (howto)

Dock separator

In examining the strings inside the Dock binary in Leopard, I found a way to add real separators to the dock, instead of adding dummy applications with empty or decorative icons, as commonly done.

This works only in Leopard (OSX 10.5):

  1. Run the following commands from the Terminal:

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

  2. Once the dock restarts, you should see a blank space after the last application that is permanently in the Dock (before the icons for applications that are currently running but not always in the Dock).
  3. You can now drag the empty spaces to where you want them, or right-click on them and select
    “Remove from Dock” if you no longer need them.

Note: you can run the “defaults” command several times in sequence before the “killall” command, to add multiple separators in one go and then just rearrange them as needed.


29 responses to “Real separators for the Mac OS X Leopard dock (howto)

  1. What are the other possible values for tile-type? I know recent-tile, folder-tile, and thats all so far.

  2. AJ: my examination of the Dock binary reveals the following tile types:


    The ones that I don’t fully know what they are are dockling-tile and filestack-tile (this last one sounds suspiciously like the original announced functionality of the stacks, in which you could drag an arbitrary set of files to make a stack out of them).

  3. Sweet. Thank you.

  4. Thanks! this is excellent… exactly what I was looking for!

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  6. Nice, more organization. How do you revert to default settings?

  7. breckenridge: you can drag the separators off the dock as you would an application, or you can ctrl-click on them and select “Remove from dock”.

    To everyone: thank you for the comments!

  8. How do you make the separators have icons like the original separator.

  9. SLLhotD: I don’t think that’s possible, although I would also like to know how to do it ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Pingback: Ben Jordan’s Blogasaurus Rex » Blog Archive » Add blank spaces to Leopard Dock

  11. Pingback: Randy Walker

  12. Ive tried to use this "howto". Its working but i dont know how to enter more separators in dock. When i enter command “default” (whole) multiply, i have only one in dock after “killall” command. Any idea? Mackbook White, 10.5.3

  13. Wlashack: It works fine for me for creating multiple separators. Are you entering the defaults command correctly?

  14. Yes, but only one separator was created. Now i`ve tried freeware “SuperDocker” and works fine, even do more things eith dock, not only adding separators ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. Thanks, this is great. However, is there a way to make separators like the one which comes before stacks and trash?

  18. Tom: I don’t think it’s possible.

  19. Is it possible to have a separator between my stacks and my minimized applications?

  20. Scratch that, I found it

  21. Thank you for that!

  22. Is there a way to make stacks all the way across the dock? That would be hella awesome. Thanks for the spacer tut! If you find a way to make stacks all the way across tweet me (click my name in the post)

  23. Is there a way to remove the separator in case I accidentally added a separator?

  24. Macnoob: right click (or control-click) the separator and select "remove from dock".

  25. Pingback: Separators in the Dock in Leopard | Wisdom and Wonder

  26. Thanks, this really helps the dock look, and be, organised, with different sections for system apps/audio/video editing.

    Shame you can’t use the original seperator icon, but I guess you can’t have it all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. This is working for Snow Leopard too! Sweet!

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