Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

Customizing the Launcher

By Brian Mason

Washington Apple Pi Journal, March/April 2001, reprint information

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 page.

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 Launcher.

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.