Customizing the Launcher
By Brian Mason
Washington Apple Pi Journal, March/April
The Launcher that comes with the Apple Operating System
is an easy way to display the applications you use
regularly. It also allows you to launch applications with
just a click of one of the Launcher buttons. However, some
people start putting so much stuff on their Mac that they
end up with four, five or more rows of buttons on a Launcher
The Launcher comes configured with four buttons along the
top labeled "Applications", "Internet & Phone",
"Learning", and "Service/Support". Clicking on each of these
buttons brings up a "page" with a different set of
application buttons. It is very easy to add another
application button. All you have to do is create an alias of
your application and drag it onto one of the pages of the
It is also very easy to create a new page so you can put
some application buttons on it and move them off of the
cluttered pages. To do this, find the "Launcher items"
folder within the "System Folder" and open it. Inside you
will see the aliases for the applications that are on the
"Applications" page of your Launcher. You will also see
other folders. These correspond to the other pages in the
Launcher. Notice that the folder names have small black
circles in front of the names. The names of the folders
become the labels on the buttons along the top of the
Launcher. Inside the folders are the applications that
appear on that page of the Launcher.
To create a new page for the Launcher, pull down the
"File" menu and click on "New Folder". For now allow the
folder to be named with the default name "Untitled Folder".
Make certain the new folder is inside the "Launcher Items"
folder. Now click on another of the folders inside the
"Launcher Items" folder so that the name of the folder is
selected. Press Command-C to copy the name. Now click on
your new "Untitled" folder so the name is selected. Press
Command-V to copy the file name onto the new folder. Now
rename the folder to whatever you want it to be, getting rid
of the unwanted folder name by backspacing and then typing
in the new name. Be very careful not to touch the first
part of the name, the part with the black circle.
You may now move the aliases you want to appear on the
new page for your Launcher into this new folder you just
created. Once you close the "Launcher Items" folder and get
back to your normal desktop, you will have a new button
along the top of your Launcher, and a new page ready to
receive more application buttons. If you create enough new
folders, the Launcher will automatically create a second row
of buttons along the top.
If you have any short tutorials you would like
to contribute, any neat tricks or amazing discoveries you
would like to share with the rest of the Pi, please email
them to the editor of the Journal.