We've already seen how the Dock utilizes menus in the "Remove Items from the Dock" guide.  You can get to these hidden menus by either clicking and holding the mouse button on a Dock icon or by simultaneously pressing the Control button on the keyboard and clicking the mouse button.  When either of these two actions are performed, the Dock will display a menu above the icon.

The menu options can vary.  For example if I have a single Safari browser opened at the Apple home page the menu that would be displayed would be as follows:

dock_menu_01.png

If I had another Safari browser open the menu would adjust accordingly and place a check next to most recent Safari window that I was using.  For example, an open browser at the Switch To A Mac home page:


dock_menu_02.pngIf you were to click on "Apple" Mac OS X would then display that Safari window.  Note that the Dock menus are capable of changing based on how the application is currently in use and are able to provide additional information to the user.  The preceding images would be shown if either or both Safari windows were active and not minimized to the right side of the Dock.

The Dock menu will change the icon to the left of the browser instance to a diamond if any application window is minimized. For example, two browser windows have been minimized, one has not:

dock_menu_03.pngThis example tells the user that the Safari window currently at Switch To A Mac is active whereas the browser windows at Apple and Google have minimized.  If all three were minimized, each would have a diamond.

The menus also display additional options.  For example, "New Window". "Open at Login", "Show in Finder", "Hide", and "Quit".  Show in Finder will highlight the application, folder, or document in the folder it resides on hard drive.  This is a quick way to navigate to an application, folder, or document if you can't quite remember where it resides or if you need to find relevant information about the item.  Hide and Quit are self explanatory.
 
dock_menu_04.pngChange the Menu items
You can change what the menu displays by pressing the Option button while the menu is active.  Hide changes to "Hide Others", Quit changes to "Force Quit".  Hide Others would hide other applications, not the one you have clicked on.  Force Quit is most often used when a program becomes unresponsive, hangs, or freezes. Note however that a responsive program can also be terminated with Force Quit but be aware that any unsaved changes in that application will be lost.

Note that the Dock menus can change per the application and therefore will show options specific to an Application.  For example here's what is displayed for iTunes:

dock_menu_05.png
Updates
  • February 27, 2009 - content revision, updated images
Created: 10:56 PM on Dec 24, 2006
By: switchtoamac