How to Enable Hidden Dock Stack Gestures in Mac OS X

Nov 30, 2011 - 6 Comments

Mouse Spring gesture from the OS X Dock This is a neat little hack that lets you activate any stack within the Mac Dock by hovering over it and making the scroll gesture on a multitouch trackpad or Magic Mouse, or by rolling the scroll wheel on a mouse.

Do the same trick while hovering the mouse cursor over an app icon in the Dock, and App Exposé will activate. You will see open program windows for that particular app and—with compatible apps—the app’s document history. This is similar to the App Exposé option within the More Gestures section of the Trackpad entry within System Preferences.

However, in each case, once you’ve activated the secret setting, you need to scroll up to activate (that is, to make the stack expand), and then scroll down to deactivate (to make the stack hide again). You’ll need to scroll a substantial amount to activate the feature so that Mac OS X knows you’re doing it on purpose and not accidentally. In other words, you’ll need to flick the scroll wheel up rather than just rotate it a few clicks.

How to Enable a Hidden Dock Stacks Gesture on Mac

To activate this hidden feature, open a Terminal window and type the following:

defaults write scroll-to-open -bool TRUE;killall Dock

The changes take effect immediately.

How to Disable Scroll to Open Gesture for Dock Stacks

To deactivate this feature, open a Terminal window and type the following:

defaults delete scroll-to-open;killall Dock

You’ll be back to the default setting.

The Mac Dock

This is another awesome tip from Keir Thomas, the author of a new book called Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips and tricks for OS X Lion. He’s the same guy who discovered the iTunes “Now Playing” notification tip and the Quick Look select text tip.


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Posted by: Keir Thomas in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Unknown says:

    Very quite so mr Scott H. Apple didn’t add this as a standard setting and that was what I found myself questioning. It is without a doubt for some reason in my view. I can almost bet it drains your battery power. If not however, please someone correct me I’m interested in knowing if it is indeed what happens

  2. Marcos says:

    The gesture is valid on Launchpad too! Amazing.

  3. Charles says:

    I have the same behavior that Gianni describes. I can hover over a folder and scroll up to show the contents in list view, but cannot scroll back down to close it, nor can I hover over another folder and open it without first clicking somewhere else. Since I use list view exclusively, this doesn’t work for me and have disabled the gestures for now.

  4. […] [via] Condividi tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; Categorie: Guide SlideToMac Tag: dock, Gesture, lion, pile, stack /* […]

  5. Gianni says:

    this gesture is amazing…I have just a little issue with the stack which open il “list”, in this case it freeze and does not close itself with the scroll gesture.
    The list stay on screen while and I can open another stack…
    The “fan” and “grid” mode works smoothly.

  6. Scott H says:

    This feels very natural, quite surprised Apple didn’t ship this enabled or at least as a setting in the prefs somewhere.

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