You are going to think me the worst kind of hypocrite. You are going to want me hung from the nearest yard arm and spanked until my bottom is blue.
You may even think I have gone mad but I think I have found a use for that ugly stepchild of all interface designs- LaunchPad.
Right now you might be thinking…what the hell is LaunchPad? and for that I wouldn’t blame you. Or, if you are a regular reader of this site, you might be recalling I hung LaunchPad out to dry not too long ago in a post comparing Mountain Lion vs Windows 8 and that’s when you might want be strung up for saying one thing and now doing another. But before you grab the rope and that table tennis bat, hear me out.
If you are running Lion and you have wrestled with a dock that has far too many icons in it then please read on. If, on the other hand, none of those criteria apply to you then I urge you to skip this article and go to another. Please don’t be tempted to run LaunchPad unless you need too. It will send you blind with rage, it will make you question the very sanity of Apple’s interface designers. It will make you wonder, considering it passed Steve Jobs’ muster, if he was in fact a raving looney instead of the genius he undoubtedly was.
LaunchPad is ugly and stupid- but used the right way it can be a God send.
Go ahead and look at your Dock. This really is a wonder of all interface designs- the best out there by far It intelligently expands or contracts depending on how many applications you add to it. But this can be an issue because it is so accommodating that it is tempting to add everything you have ever used and as you do the icons the dock gets smaller and smaller until it looks like a row of confetti sitting at the bottom of your screen.
Now, look at your dock again and ask yourself how often you actually use some of those icons. Yes Mail is used everyday and so is Safari and I bet Word or Excel get a work out as well. But what about that game or that Bit Torrent client or even iTunes? These party crashing icons, and many others, can be used in LaunchPad and by doing so will give you back a leaner and meaner dock.
Here is how to tame LaunchPad and use it in the only way that makes sense.
On a piece of paper jot down the name of the icons the really don’t need to be in your dock. Once this has been done, right mouse click on them one at a time and choose Options and then Remove from dock. Once done this is what your dock really needs to look like.
Now, click on the LaunchPad icon and you’ll be shown a sea of large (and it must be admitted, beautiful) collection of icons. It will remind you of an iPad.
This is the bit where you get to tame LaunchPad and believe me it’s worth it.
1. Stay in Launchpad and makes sure you are on page 1
2. Click and hold on one of the icons and they will all start to jiggle and little crosses may appear next to some of the icons.
3. Click on an icon and drag it to the edge of the screen, this will move it to page 2.
4. Repeat this with any or all icons from page 1 that aren’t on the list you made earlier.
5. Go to any of the other pages to find the icons that that are on your list and drag them to page 1.
6. When done press the ESC key.
So from now on you can use your new slimmer dock and when you need one of the other applications simply click on the LaunchPad icon and choose it from your personalized collection.
As long as you forget that beyond page one lies a horde of icons you neither need or want you will be OK.
Think of it like that cupboard that has all your old clothes or that room at the end of the hall that has always been locked and the whose key has been put away for your own good. The same room from which strange noises sometimes emanate.