How to Enable a Hidden Stacks List View in OS X

Sep 30, 2009 - 9 Comments

Enable List view in Mac Dock Stacks

Stacks are what list items and folders turn into when pulled into the Dock of OS X. There are several views for Stacks, like a grid, or a fan, or a list in modern OS X versions. But with a little secret defaults string, a list view can be enabled in prior releases of OS X too.

Here’s how to enable the secret Stacks list view for Dock stacks in OS X, which is now my new favorite way to use Stacks.

To get started, launch the Terminal app and type the following commands, first use the following defaults string:

defaults write use-new-list-stack -bool YES

Hit return, and next you need to restart the Dock process by killing it from the terminal as well:

killall Dock

Now when you right-click (control-click) a Stacks icon in the Dock, you’ll see “List” as an option. Try it out, it’s pretty great!

The Mac Dock Stacks are nice but it has long needed a scrollable list view option, how neat is it that OS X actually has exactly that, it’s just hidden!?


If you want to disable the new list style and revert to the old one, type the following:

defaults write use-new-list-stack -bool NO;killall Dock

This works in many versions of OS X, give it a whirl and see how you like it.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Frederick Malouf says:

    Any update for this for El Capitan?

  2. jji7skyline says:

    Just to tell you that this was implemented in Lion OSX :)

  3. Rob says:

    Awesome! Passing this tip around! :) Thanks!

  4. Mink says:

    how do i get back to my default list view? :(

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  6. gres says:

    I tried this on 10.6.1
    It changes the font to a larger one – nice.
    The highlight gone – not nice.
    The ability to side-expand folders gone – not nice.
    I am back to the default “List” option.

  7. Luke and Mike are right, list view has always existed, this just enables a more “Snow-leopard-like” list view. I get a pretty weird effect when I click on a subfolder of a stack though.

  8. Mike says:

    I don’t know why, but even w/ 10.5 Leopard I had a list view if I right clicked on the stack. In fact, I hated stacks till I found out I could change it to always be a list when I first got my new MbP. 10.6’s scrollable grid stack, and the charcoal UI for it is much nicer than what 10.5 had though. Still, I’ve always been able to do lists for stacks…

  9. Luke says:

    this isn’t entirely true. the list option already exists prior to running the command, however, after the command, the list behaves differently

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