Musings about technology and other neat stuff

BrT random header image

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

November 21st, 2007 · 29 Comments

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.

Tags: ·

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1  AJ // Dec 1, 2007 at 10:04 pm

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

  • 2  Hitchhiker // Dec 2, 2007 at 12:28 am

    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  J // Dec 7, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Sweet. Thank you.

  • 4  me // Dec 13, 2007 at 8:24 pm


  • 5  fromgermany // Jan 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm

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

  • 6 Schöne Dock-Separator | der tag und ich // Feb 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    [...] Diego Zamboni hat noch eine andere Möglichkeit gefunden, die ich heute ergoogelt habe. Dazu führt man im Terminal folgenden Befehl aus: [...]

  • 7  breckenridge // Feb 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

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

  • 8  Hitchhiker // Feb 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    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!

  • 9  SLLhotD // Mar 9, 2008 at 11:00 am

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

  • 10  Hitchhiker // Mar 9, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    SLLhotD: I don’t think that’s possible, although I would also like to know how to do it :-)

  • 11 Ben Jordan’s Blogasaurus Rex » Blog Archive » Add blank spaces to Leopard Dock // Mar 14, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    [...] organizational tool for me and I shredded the internet looking for the tutorial link again. Here it is. Enjoy some organization and a beer. For those who do not wish to follow the link, I have pasted [...]

  • 12 Randy Walker // Mar 26, 2008 at 9:36 am

    [...] you like to keep your Mac OS X Dock organized, here’s how to add separators:Real separators for the Mac OS X Leopard dock (howto): [...]

  • 13  Wlashack // Jun 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    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

  • 14  Hitchhiker // Jun 24, 2008 at 11:30 pm

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

  • 15  Wlashack // Jul 2, 2008 at 11:53 am

    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 :-)

  • 16  kevinklinkmuller // Aug 3, 2008 at 9:25 pm


  • 17 links for 2008-09-01 « Mike’s Blog // Sep 2, 2008 at 12:29 am

    [...] Real separators for the Mac OS X Leopard dock how to add a real separator to the dock (tags: mac osx Leopard) [...]

  • 18 Links for 2008-08-31 through 2008-09-02 | /dev/random // Sep 3, 2008 at 2:59 am

    [...] Real separators for the Mac OS X Leopard dock – how to add a real separator to the dock [...]

  • 19  Tom // Oct 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

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

  • 20  Hitchhiker // Oct 19, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Tom: I don’t think it’s possible.

  • 21  a23kiki23 // Oct 24, 2008 at 1:59 am

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

  • 22  a23kiki23 // Oct 24, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Scratch that, I found it

  • 23  flix // Oct 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you for that!

  • 24  chadengle // Feb 5, 2009 at 1:57 am

    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)

  • 25  macnoob // Feb 9, 2009 at 6:39 pm

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

  • 26  Jason // Apr 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm

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

  • 27 Separators in the Dock in Leopard | Wisdom and Wonder // Jun 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    [...] Here is one way to separate items in the OS X Dock in Leopard. defaults write persistent-apps -array-add ‘{ "tile-type" = "spacer-tile"; }’ killall Dock This was written by Grant. Posted on Saturday, June 13, 2009, at 6:33 am. Filed under Link. Tagged Mac. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Post a comment or leave a trackback. [...]

  • 28  SmokinWaffle // Aug 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

    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 ;)

  • 29  Alessio // Sep 8, 2009 at 11:58 am

    This is working for Snow Leopard too! Sweet!

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post will be closed on 8 September 2010.