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More Leopard: Stacks suck

One of the much-touted features of Leopard is stacks, these pop-up menus that you can create by dragging any folder into the Dock. Actually, OS X has long had a vaguely similar ability, but the pop-up menus were slower and less attractive.

In fact, I was quite enamored of this ability and made heavy use of it. Here’s a portion of my Dock from Tiger:

(Most of those icons are from the Agua series from David Lanham at the Iconfactory.) So, in Tiger, I have quick access to Applications, Utilities, Work Programs, Projects, Downloads and Sites. With such bright, distinctive icons, I can find the right target half-blind.

Here’s the same portion of my Dock in Leopard:

That Stacks use the first item’s icon as their icon is so horribly, horribly wrong, I can’t imagine this escaping into a finished product. The “Applications” Stack doesn’t look like a clump of applications, it looks exactly like my Address Book (for now – I should be wary of training myself to find the Address Book icon, lest I install Aardvark or Abalone or Access or something.) Sites and Projects are also indistinguishable, as they both look like plain folders!

Liz has actually started putting customized folders inside her Stack folders with names like “_AAA”, but I’m hoping that someone, somewhere, figures out a hack for this. Honestly, I much prefer the original functionality, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

Permalink • Posted in: icons, leopard, rant, stacksComments (3)


Matt Haffner Nov 1, 2007

I had my dock on the right and apparently don't even have Stacks as an option, only the grid view. Although I understand the change in the UI from bottom to right, I don't get why Stacks shouldn't be an option. I have more real estate left to right as it is--which is why my dock is on the right to begin with...

Bummer about the dynamic icons though. I agree--at least give us a (non-hacky) option to make it static.

Edit: Oh, make sure you check this out if you use iPhoto--don't know what it does without lots of pictures. Choose a slideshow for your screensaver (under the "Pictures" subheading) and choose the last "Display Style" that looks like a grid. Test it out and wait a good 2-3 minutes. Freakin' cool :)

Joshua Nov 1, 2007

I was under the impression that fan or grid was determined by the number of items in the stack.

That photo mosaic screensaver rocks, thanks for the pointer!

Matt Haffner Nov 3, 2007

The fan is only an option with the dock on the bottom. When it's on the right or left, you always get a grid. When the dock is on the bottom, you can change the auto-switching behavior if you want as well--just right-click on the stack.