Stacks Sucks

Ray Aguilera's picture

Stacks Sucks

Stacks: Entirely useless


There, I said it. It has been far and away my biggest disappointment with Leopard. Stacks was one feature I was really excited about, but after 10 seconds of using it, I knew Stacks had to go. Worse than being less than I expected, Stacks actually took away my favorite feature of the dock: the ability to navigate through folder structures.


HierarchicalDock: Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about


Word on the street is that the developer seed of the next Leopard update restores this crucial feature, but until Steve decides to right this terrible wrong, there's HierarchicalDock, a genius piece of freeware (donations accepted) from Eternal Storms software.


HierarchicalDock's interface couldn't be simpler. Open the app, and drag & drop your desired folder into the HierarchicalDock window. Then, simply drag the resulting icon into your dock.


In only a few seconds, you can bring back the ability to navigate your folders from the dock. Even better, the resulting HierarchicalDock folders can be sorted and tweaked in ways that the Tiger's dock-navigable folders never could. Sort items by name or date, and HierarchicalDock folders can be configured to display additional information such as number of items in a folder or an item's label color.


It's a simple and much needed fix for Leopard that brings back, and improves upon, the dock's most useful feature.


Ray Aguilera is a writer and food geek in the San Francisco Bay Area.




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Play games

Time Machine will work on a network drive if it supports AFP. My Infrant NAS does support AFP, but I think I’ll still use a local Ext HD instead.
I haven’t played w/ Stacks but I’m pretty set in my ways so not sure I’d find it useful. Maybe on a project by project basis where I need to look quickly at graphic assets. Not sure.


John Donahue

Stacks looks neat, but in practical terms it is nothing more than useless eye candy. If you have nothing more than two or three things in the folders represented in the stackable icons, then maybe you might use it and enjoy it. But, anyone who uses their computer for more than an hour, let alone if they go online for more than fifteen minutes will easily have enough items in one of those folders that the top of the sloping stack will be way off of the screen and non accessible. So, what's the point. It looks real spiffy, but what's the point of spiffiness, if it does you no stinkin' good.

I was glad to discover the grid option. I find that useful. I like the fact that all of my internet downloads now go automatically into a download folder and not on my desktop. I know, I know, I could have set my preferences in Safari and designated anywhere I wanted it to go, but that would have just been on my computer. I have six Mac's in my home and no one else anywhere near as computer savvy as I am. If there downloads didn't go to a universally recognized default location, I would spend all of my calming them down and showing them how to use the downloads window to locate their downloads in the Finder.

The grid function and a the default downloads folder on the dock has made life a lot simpler for me and the less tech minded in my household.

But, please, either tame that flying arc thing they call stacks or kill it all together.


General Ludd

with Leopard's latest 10.5.2 update, List has been restored. With mouse hovering over the folder (or stack) icon, right click and select LIST. You now have a hierarchical view popping up (unlike the fan or grid toadstool) from your dock.

this is being typed on the tiny keyboard of the green machine (OLPC XO, Opera 9.12 via my ISP web server) To keep from going totally insane, i use an apple mouse on a USB port. The XO is Linux and somewhat MAC like.(see Too bad they don't sell them to the public anymore:(.



That stack thing sucks.

Actually, quite some UI changes in Leopard sucks... hate capsule button in Mail, hate that 2.5D dock panel, hate the folder color and hate the top menu. All new UI changes together add inconsistency and confusion instead of improving it.

I always think the UI of Mac OS X should remain stable. Apple should only introduce really useful UI features instead of changing colors and button style which users have become so familiar after using Tiger for 2 years.

After all, Leopard is still under the "10" major release number.




I love stacks, and it should be kept. I find it really useful as a student. I click on the folder that I have in the dock, and then a line of folders comes up, one for each of my classes. It's really a great tool.



One of the things that really gets under my skin is the "Start" button in Windows, having to navigate multiple levels of hierarchy just to start an application. I am not going to use any utility in OS X that attempts to emulate that.

DockFun! was a great Tiger utility, it dynamically changes the OS X Dock based on categories that are setup in advance. I had multiple docks setup on my system with various applications, including a home dock, a work dock, a video project dock, etc. The docks did not necessarily reflect the application hierarchy that was setup in the Applications folder. My goal was to keep every doc as flat as possible, to enable quick application launching.

Unfortunately, DockFun! is not compatible with Leopard Stacks, but I was able to setup similar functionality using Stacks:

1. Create a subfolder in the Applications folder and name it "Stacks".
2. Within the Stacks folder, create a subfolder for every application category required (e.g. "home", "work", "video projects").
3. Copy application aliases (click-and-drag with command-alt) to each of the category folders (those created in step 2).
4. Add custom overlay drawers to the category folders as shown here.
5. Click and drag the category folders onto the dock.

I currently have 13 favorite applications in my dock along with 14 separate stacks/categories that are easily recognizable and quick to navigate.

Is Stacks perfect? No, but it is a great start. For some reason, Stacks in the beta release of Leopard looked different than it did in the final release. I would love to be able to scroll through all Stack items using my mouse scroll button, regardless of how items are in each Stack.



Better yet, let's just have one item in the dock and label it "Start". Then we can have all our applications and folders be in a menu from there, with each folder having menus that pop off of them. Wait a minute, that sounds like something else that sucks...



@ Tiger

Hilarious. I think you hit the nail on the head, Tiger. Maybe the Start button is the one thing Windows has going for it.



I'm with Marin, I don't think Stacks are useless. However I do think they need refining. Make them easier to use and put files, applications, and aliases in them, and maybe let us choose whatever icon we want to represent each stack. Then maybe I might use them more.



Utilizing stacks as a place to hold applications and key folders is VERY handy. As a graphic designer, at times you can have 5 different programs running (depending on the speed of your Mac) and all of a sudden, your dock is completely stretched. The downloads stack is also VERY useful considering how well it alleviates the clutter on your desktop (if you're constantly dloading that is).

Just my humble opinion.



I'm one of those recent Mac users, so I didn't have a lot of experience with the old dock's behavior. Given that, I can see your point with the hierarchical behavior, but I think Apple should make it an option - Fan, Grid, Hierarchy. At this point, with my limited use, I actually like the Stacks. Call me "one of those guys"...



I don't like stacks, but I don't want to take them away from someone who does. Give us a choice!



Sure hierarchical viewing is only the second most useful Dock feature. An awful lot of us use it for starting applications and checking applicaiton status.

On the other hand. That stacks and grid stuff is WORTHLESS. How many people put their applications folder in the Dock and now can't start applications that reside in folders ... blah blah blah, give me a scone.



We're in agreement here. I have no problem with the Dock, just with Stacks removing a feature that I used all the time.

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