I dont think i 'get' stacks.. How are you using them?

ch02ce

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 18, 2007
80
174
Kind of venting here but I dont think i grasp the utility of stacks yet.

It seems to me the documents stack is one I would hardly ever use. First of all I have too many documents in that folder for it to be a fan... And for personal usage I dont really need fast access to old word documents that contain random things. So the answer is to make a folder for old documents but it will still show up in that stack as my 'old docs' folder now.

I dont mind the download stack but again it will probably sit dormant after I install the downloaded program.

How are you all using stacks? Its a neat idea for things I would need fast access too, but thats essentially what the dock itself is for.
 

ItsAddison

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2007
22
0
Dallas, TX
To put it shortly...

I'm not. :(

I don't have a single folder on my computer that I use often with about 10 things in it. I really miss my hierarchical functionality. Having the hard disk there was great. It's okay though. That is my only complaint about an otherwise stunning upgrade.
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,113
418
Couple ideas.

1) Quickly launch things. I download something and tap the stack; no need to F11 and browse through the desktop.

2) Start Menu-esque. Have too many icons on the dock? Stick some shortcuts in a stack. When you click the stack it'll pop up and you choose an app!
 

cowm007

macrumors regular
Feb 2, 2005
195
0
I use them for high-traffic folders like "Downloads". I download a lot of stuff each day, but usually only need the last 5 or so files for quick access. Stacks in "Fan View" is a quick way to access those files.

Another folder I have is my "Ripped Movies" folder. As soon as a DVD TV episode is done ripping, I have instant access to the file to tag with MetaX and add to iTunes afterwards.

I see where people are getting frustrated, but Stacks really seems to shine for this sort of purpose.
 

7302473

Suspended
Jun 11, 2007
99
0
I wish you could make stacks just for applications within the application part of the dock (not the right side with trash and documents).

I would love to join Adobe CS3 Master Collection into one stack instead of having 10 icons :p

I am using stacks though for Documents, School Work and Downloads
 

dthedude

macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2007
2
0
To put it shortly...

I'm not. :(

I don't have a single folder on my computer that I use often with about 10 things in it. I really miss my hierarchical functionality. Having the hard disk there was great. It's okay though. That is my only complaint about an otherwise stunning upgrade.
What exactly is this hierarchical functionality I keep hearing about? I'm not sure what this means, but it seems to me like you already have a hierarchical organizational system: Finder. Drag files into the sidebar. Click finder, click the files. Hierarchy. This is how I've always used finder. What is the other system people are missing so much?

Stacks is a way to add shortcuts to the dock. It's not a convenient way to access storage folders with lots of items like Apps, Libraries or even Documents, but it's convenient for folders with only a few items like Downloads. Theoretically a downloads folder should be used to temporarily store items until they can be filed into appropriate places- docs, movies, photos, etc..and for this purpose Stacks is great. It's also good for more specific folder types. If you're a student you can have a stack for your classes or one for each class, for example.

Another way to use stacks is as a filing system. Here it makes sense to have your Docs folder in Stacks. When I'm working on a project I tend to drag things onto the desktop and keep them there until I'm done. Then, just drag them down to the Doc's stack to put them away.

Essentially, stacks are the equivalent to having a filing cabinet on your desk so you can keep it clean and organized. A lot of experienced Mac users don't use their desktops for organization anymore, even though that's what it was designed for, but stacks allows those who do to move their desktop folders into the dock. I'm all about options and it would be cool if stacks had additional views like a hierarchical grid with adjustable folder sizes, or a scrolling fan "wheel". However, I also think the limited usability can be helpful to keep you organized. For example, making sub-folders rather than keeping tons of unrelated items in the Doc's folder.
 

Mac OS X Ocelot

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2005
603
0
What exactly is this hierarchical functionality I keep hearing about? I'm not sure what this means, but it seems to me like you already have a hierarchical organizational system: Finder. Drag files into the sidebar. Click finder, click the files. Hierarchy. This is how I've always used finder. What is the other system people are missing so much?

Stacks is a way to add shortcuts to the dock. It's not a convenient way to access storage folders with lots of items like Apps, Libraries or even Documents, but it's convenient for folders with only a few items like Downloads. Theoretically a downloads folder should be used to temporarily store items until they can be filed into appropriate places- docs, movies, photos, etc..and for this purpose Stacks is great. It's also good for more specific folder types. If you're a student you can have a stack for your classes or one for each class, for example.

Another way to use stacks is as a filing system. Here it makes sense to have your Docs folder in Stacks. When I'm working on a project I tend to drag things onto the desktop and keep them there until I'm done. Then, just drag them down to the Doc's stack to put them away.

Essentially, stacks are the equivalent to having a filing cabinet on your desk so you can keep it clean and organized. A lot of experienced Mac users don't use their desktops for organization anymore, even though that's what it was designed for, but stacks allows those who do to move their desktop folders into the dock. I'm all about options and it would be cool if stacks had additional views like a hierarchical grid with adjustable folder sizes, or a scrolling fan "wheel". However, I also think the limited usability can be helpful to keep you organized. For example, making sub-folders rather than keeping tons of unrelated items in the Doc's folder.
Find a mac with any OS X before Leopard. Put its hard drive or home folder in the Dock. Right (control) click or hold click the folder/drive. The menu that pops up has every file and folder in that folder. But look! The folders have triangles next to them! But whatever could that mean? Well, let's highlight that folder in the contextual menu. OMG! There's more files and folders! And I didn't have to open a Finder window! What's this? More folders still? And I can see the contents of those too?

That's the amazing functionality of the pre-Leopard Dock. That's what everyone's complaining about.
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,216
568
Tokyo, Japan
To put it shortly...

I'm not. :(

I don't have a single folder on my computer that I use often with about 10 things in it. I really miss my hierarchical functionality. Having the hard disk there was great. It's okay though. That is my only complaint about an otherwise stunning upgrade.
QFT!!!! Stacks are a huge step backwards in functionality (especially when trying to use the dock as an app launcher) ... I don't need or want every app I ever use permanently in the dock, I'd much rather have the Applications folder down there so I can get to everything. I can't stand Stacks ... :mad:
 

Jookbox

macrumors 6502
Jan 19, 2002
395
0
not at all, in fact the only new feature i'm really using (and barely) is spaces. i just like running the latest version of osx, since i use my computer all the time. windows vista is another story...
 

motulist

macrumors 601
Dec 2, 2003
4,080
346
What exactly is this hierarchical functionality I keep hearing about? I'm not sure what this means, but it seems to me like you already have a hierarchical organizational system: Finder.
Here's a collection of responses from other threads:

That feature of adding whatever you select to the dock and it creating a custom-made stack was removed at the last minute. There is a letter from apple to a user at another forum that I read (can't remember where now) that stated they are not going to put that feature in at the moment. Who knows why? Maybe it was buggy and would have delayed release of Leopard but that feature (as far as I know) doesn't exist and will not exist.





For everyone who is claiming that ctrl-clicking folders in tiger is JUST for applications, this is an example of the power of this feature that was taken away by Leopard. As you can see you can explore your entire computer directory without using finder from your dock, a very useful feature especially when you customized it well. Once again, not my picture.
Hi there, I've read MacRumors and it's forums for as long as I can remember now but never posted. After using Leopard my only gripe is with stacks and it's made me sign up here and give feedback to Apple.

As a software engineer I found it invaluable to be able to drill down through my home, work and applications folder. Stacks are basically the contextual menu made one level deep and to show less icons.

Now I think about it I would prefer stacks to be used on the desktop only (yes, go back to piles, but call them something else), so you could have a few piles of documents on the desktop that expanded out into a grid when you dragged another item over them. If they did that and and worked as spring loaded folders, I would probably dance around our office for a week.

Also, my dad a long time mac user, has lost the plot with stacks. I've had a few phone calls with 'where's my home folder gone? What is this icon? Hang on, what’s the point in having my home folder in the dock anymore - I can only open one folder!' Again, his only gripe.

As for my 78 year old grandmother (we call her iNan), who has owned a mac mini for a year now... well, she's using Tiger and dock folders, and i don't think will be going to leopard. I'll show it to her and see what she says.

Wow, my first post and a massive horsing. Sorry guys!
You're misunderstanding the purpose of stacks and nested dock folder lists. The 7 programs you use out of the 30 that you have on your computer are put in the dock directly for easiest access. There's no point in making a stack of your 7 most frequently used apps, they should already be in your dock. Speaking just in terms of app launching, the purpose of nested folder pop up lists is specifically to easily get to the apps that you use INfrequently and also to browse applications by category. (documents and other uses are a whole other ball of wax that you lose functionality over by only having stacks instead)

For instance, I use disk utility once in a while, but not too frequently. So it doesn't belong in my dock. To launch it from a nested dock list, all I have to do is click the docked applications folder, hit the letter d, then hit enter.

But more importantly, on my main computer I have a ton of apps, which are all grouped into 5 folders inside my applications folder (utilities, business, media, audio, internet). There are lots of times when rather than just wanting to launch a specific application, I want to look over the list of possible applications I have in that category to determine which is the best tools for the job.

Let's say I downloaded a file off the net, but it's in some weirdly compressed format that my default program isn't liking. So I click the docked applications folder, hit the letter i (for internet) enter, and immediately I'm looking at the list of all my internet programs. So I look at all the apps in that folder and I say, "Oh right, I have that program TheUNarchiver, I bet that'll work!" So I hit the letter t then enter and my app launches.

Now with stacks that functionality is now totally gone! The only option now is to go through a finder window, which would've involved opening up at least one window, probably spawning a 2nd window as well, which cluters up the screen and would've involved a lot of extra clicks and / or holding down keyboard modifier clicks, etc. It's just a much worse way to do it.

And this is only in regards to app launching! There are a zillion other uses of nested dock pop up folder lists too! Surfing through all your categorized documents, quickly scanning through any folder in your hard drive with just the arrow keys and not spawning a single window! etc. etc. etc.

Stacks simply are not a replacement for the major functionality that was removed.
 

MDTyKe

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2007
153
3
Hawaii, USA
One thing I don't "get" is I cant move say, the Top 10 applications I use into a stack; Opera, PS etc. Seems crazy? Just wondering, but can you make aliases to do it.. as in a folder of aliases?


Matt
 

jedirunner

macrumors member
Aug 1, 2007
32
0
One thing I don't "get" is I cant move say, the Top 10 applications I use into a stack; Opera, PS etc. Seems crazy? Just wondering, but can you make aliases to do it.. as in a folder of aliases?


Matt
This is what I'm doing.... I have a folder "Stacks" in my personal directory. In that "Stacks" folder, I have a folder for each stack I want. Then I put aliases in the stack folders. I have 4 stacks setup right now:
  • Adobe Apps: contains aliases to all the CS3 stuff I use
  • Apps: contains aliases to all the mac-included stuff I use, but not often enough to clutter my dock with
  • iWork: for this one I just used the pre-built folder from applications/iwork
  • Developer Tools: for this one I just used the /Developer folder

Now I have fast access to all the stuff I regularly need without cluttering up the dock. Is it better than the hierarchical menu foldering stuff people have said Tiger supported? I don't know. I never used that. But I do use stacks. I think it's a pleasant visual experience and works for me. :) BTW -- I put all my stacks in "Grid" mode. I hate the fan. hehehe

Kevin
 

Ekim Neems

macrumors member
Aug 23, 2007
39
0
To me, the crazy thing is that dragging something into a stack actually moves it. Stacks should simply be references. Why not have pre-made smart folders that can be added to the Dock? Those "Today" and "Last Week" filters in the Finder sidebar might work well in the Dock, but you can't drag them to become stacks. Or the ability to make a commonly used docs Stack and when you drag things into it, it creates shortcuts automatically while preserving the actual hierarchal structure of the files?

I feel like I really love the concept of Stacks, but the implementation was sort of a bomb. I'm forcing myself to use them now to see how I feel after a week of full use. I have a feeling I'm going to end up making my own shortcut folders and making them Stacks (but of course making a blank file called !!!!.txt with the icon I want representing the stack =P).
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,584
1,571
Still on 10.4 but I played with Leo at the store, and I use heirarchical a lot. I have my:

Harddrive
Home
External Drive
Networked Drive
Applications Folder
Downloads Folder

all in my dock, and all of those have subfolders, so the ability to get to the subfolders and have them expand to choose the App or file is crucial. I don't open finder windows unless I need to. All that aside, I can live with the idea of stacks except for the fact that it doesn't show the icon of the HD, Home, or folder, it shows the icon of the first thing in it. So an Applications Folder might look like an Aperture or Address Book icon, and a Hard Drive looks like a folder, etc. That part is just awful. There is an App called fruit menu my unsanity that does it the old OS 9 way like Apple menu items, and once that becomes 10.5 compatible I may upgrade. Likewise their Cleardock app would also be helpful if it comes along to 10.5. However I would still like to see some sort of improvement on the Stacks icon issue in 10.5.1.

Addef to which I would like to the option for Stack in Auto, Fan or Grid OR OR OR OR Heirarchical view available. Why not both!!!!

Lastly, since I am not running it yet, there has been some complaint about the new drab, colorless 10.5 folders that are flat rather than angled and pinstripped. Can anyone tell me if you can use older folder icons as replacements or if everything must be a new folder icon? I assume if not, there will be a whole wave of new icons coming out in the new flat scheme that gives us more color options. I don't mind the embossed look, I just want the embossed logos in color to make their more easily identifiable.
 

j-a-x

macrumors 65816
Apr 15, 2005
1,487
178
Houston, Texas
What I did was make a "Stacks" folder in my home folder, and in there I made subfolders like "Internet Apps", "Document Apps", and "Utilities", and I filled 'em up with programs that I frequently used. Since Stacks doesn't support browsing subfolders, I had to put each of these folders in my dock. So now next to my trash can I have a few stacks I can click to get frequently used applications.

One issue I ran into was that sometimes when you put an alias into a stack, it's icon doesn't show up right away. I found that quitting and restarting the dock ("killall dock" in the terminal) or rebooting fixed that though.
 

snickelfritz

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,109
0
Tucson AZ
Folder Actions and Saved Searches = Smart Stacks...

Once I get Leopard installed, (I'm too busy right now to troubleshoot an OS upgrade) I'm considering creating a Folder Action nested within my OSX "Documents" folder to create Stacks for each of my clients.

Basically, any document that lands in that folder action will bring up a dialog for adding spotlight comments. I would then target one of several pre-set Smart Folders set as Stacks in the Dock.
ie: one smart folder for each client.
The document would then be moved by the Folder Action to my current "active documents" folder, leaving the Folder Action empty and ready for the next document.

This should allow me quick access to my various clients' projects without having to set up and manage a hierarchy of nested folders and documents.
I haven't been able to get this working in Tiger; saved searches do not produce a pop-up list of items when placed in the Dock.
If this works reliably in Leopard, it represents IMO a big improvement over Tiger's Docked Folder behavior.

BTW, the reason why this is superior to simply nesting folders of documents and images is that one document can be listed within multiple smart folders.
For example, a single photo of a rose located in the pictures folder, could be listed in "roses" "flowers" "nature" etc...
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,584
1,571
What I did was make a "Stacks" folder in my home folder, and in there I made subfolders like "Internet Apps", "Document Apps", and "Utilities", and I filled 'em up with programs that I frequently used. Since Stacks doesn't support browsing subfolders, I had to put each of these folders in my dock. So now next to my trash can I have a few stacks I can click to get frequently used applications.

One issue I ran into was that sometimes when you put an alias into a stack, it's icon doesn't show up right away. I found that quitting and restarting the dock ("killall dock" in the terminal) or rebooting fixed that though.
But really you aren't putting your internet, document, and utilities apps in those stacks folders, you are putting aliases in there so as not to move them from their original location. To me this is a bit of a pain. Whereas with nested folders, the folder in the dock is the alias to everything, no setup, no aliases, no movement needed, just drag to the dock and go, just like the sidebar.
 

Dimwhit

macrumors 68000
Apr 10, 2007
1,969
163
I love stacks! What I do is create a folder and put in someone like my Documents. Then I drag aliases for the Apps I use a lot, or files, etc. Drag that folder to the dock and you've got a great launcher for frequently-used items that you don't want on the main part of the dock.

The only thing I don't like with Stacks is that you can give a stack a custom icon.
 

Burnsey

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2007
572
67
Canada
Most of you guys are missing the point. Stacks are not for app launching, mainly because Leopard has other ways to make finding things easier. That is the whole point of the new finder.

But really the best way to find anything (and launch apps) is the new faster spotlight, you can find anything instantly, no need to search through hierarchical folders from the dock in order to find infrequently used apps and documents. In leopard a nested folder system in the dock like in tiger would be redundant (I barely use it in Tiger either, thanks to spotlight), so that area of the dock is better used for something like a stack, which adds new functionality.
 

The Stig

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2006
673
0
On the track
I'm using two stacks right now. Apps and Downloads. And that is about it. I don't think it is the best feature in the world but it is ok. I'd rather have it then not have it.

The Stig
 

/dev/toaster

macrumors 68020
Feb 23, 2006
2,473
248
San Francisco, CA
I use it for downloads and screenshots. Yes, I take a lot of screenshots because its a quick and easy way to remind my self of something later or while doing trouble shooting on a machine at work.

I need to clear it out every once in a while, otherwise the display becomes too big. (Wish it would reduce the icons size after x number of items are added in it)

In order for the screenshots stack to work, you need to change your screenshot save location. You can do this by using the tip at: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050824073301844&lsrc=osxh

I couldn't stand using it for Applications. Anything I access a lot is in my dock, I don't like the "Microsoft start menu" way of doing things.
 

elcid

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2007
427
0
Quicksilver has done a better job with this than I think stacks ever could. So I am dumping stacks and just sticking with quicksilver.
 

maxmax

macrumors member
Apr 16, 2007
66
0
microsoft office stack (so i don't need to clutter my dock with icons)



i also have one for common applications (but less common than the ones i keep on the normal part of the dock).

and the downloads folder.
 

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