One of the first things that any new Mac user becomes acquainted with is the Dock. The Dock is where your most used applications are kept (their shortcut at least), the Finder, Application Folder, Trash and System Preferences.

Creating a shortcut to an application is fairly simple, by just dragging the Application from the folder to the dock. But if you have numerous applications and files that require a little more organization, you may need to create folders for the Dock.

The Dock

For example, if you work with the Adobe Software Suite, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, creating a shortcut icon for each Adobe application will take up a large amount of space in the dock. Instead, creating aliases for the applications and placing them in a folder decreases the amount of room needed in the dock, yet still keeps all your applications easily accessible.

Adobe Shortcuts

Open a new Finder window by clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock.


Click on your Home folder in the left hand column. This was named during the setup of your computer and may display something different than Home.

Home Folder

Control + click in the first column and select New Folder.

New Folder

Name this new folder Desktop Folders. Click on the folder to highlight it.

Create Desktop Folders

Create several new folders in the second column of the Finder window, under Desktop Folders. Title them according to what kind of applications or files you plan on creating shortcuts to. Such as an Adobe folder, Office, Video Production, etc.

Create Shortcut Folder

Open your Application folder, found in the dock, and locate an application you would like to create a shortcut to.

Application Folder

Control + click on the application and select Make Alias. This will create a second icon of the application with the word alias in the name.

Make Alias

Click and Drag Alias

Click and drag the alias file into the corresponding desktop folder where you would like to place the shortcut.

Drag into Desktop Folder

Repeat the Make alias process for all related applications and drag these files it into the desktop folder of your choice.

Create Aliases for all Apps

Highlight the Desktop Folder that is ready to be made into a shortcut and click + drag it onto the Dock. Make sure to place it on side of the Dock opposite any single application shortcuts. This will be next to the Trash or Application Folder.

Drag Desktop Folder into Dock

Click + drag any remaining Desktop Folders into the Dock.

Dock Folders.png

Control + click on the new folder shortcuts to customize their appearance. The Items can be sorted by Name, Date, etc., displayed as a Folder icon or Stack, and more.

Folder Options

Just click on these folders in your dock and you will be able to access any of the applications you’ve created an alias for. If you would like to make changes to these dock folders in the future, navigate to the Home folder, then Desktop Folders, then add, delete, or rename the items as you like.