How to Quickly Add a Dock Spacer to Your Mac Dock

The Mac Dock can get cluttered with programs all mashed together, making it hard to see. We’ll show you how to quickly add a Dock Spacer to your Mac Dock so that you can organize app icons and make it easier to find the app icon you want.

Big shout out to Lifehacker for the tip, which involves entering some code into the Mac OS X Terminal. If opening the Terminal makes you nervous, you may want to avoid this tip. However, it’s as simple as copying the commands in this tutorial and pasting them into Terminal, so we think anyone can do it. It’s also easy to reverse, so there’s little risk.

mac os x dock spacers

Add a Dock Spacer to the OS X Dock to organize your Dock app icons.

The Terminal app lets users enter commands. Be careful, because entering the wrong text could potentially damage the operating system. That’s why it’s a good idea to back things up first. Make sure you have a good backup of your computer using Time Machine. Turn that on in System Preferences using our How To steps.  Once you’ve got a good backup, follow the steps below to add a Dock Spacer in OS X.

First, open Terminal from Utilities folder in the Applications folder. A quick way to do this is use Spotlight search. Get to it with the COMMAND+SPACE keyboard shortcut. Then type “Terminal” into Spotlight Search. You could also use the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+COMMAND+A to open the Applications folder. Double click on the Utilities folder and then double click on the Terminal icon.

code to enter into terminal


Here’s the code to copy and paste to Terminal. Copy the first line of code and then past it into the Terminal window.

defaults write persistent-apps -array-add '{tile-data={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}'

After pressing enter it seems like nothing happens. That’s why we type in or copy the next line of code.

killall Dock

Make sure to use lower case letters for the first word and an upper case letter at the beginning of the second word. Press enter and this refreshes the dock. The Dock disappears and then reappears with a blank space on the right side of the Dock.

Dock Spacer

Put the Dock spacer where you want it by dragging it in place. I used this to put one after the system related icons on the left end of my Dock. I have Finder, System Preferences and the Launchpad icon with a Dock Spacer fourth from the left. Then I put Safari and Chrome and another Dock Spacer. A third Dock Spacer separates my most used programs (Word and my three Bible software apps) from the rest of my Dock apps.

To add a second or third Dock Spacer repeat the steps. Paste the first line into Terminal. Press the Enter key. Paste the second line and press Enter. Then drag the Dock Spacer into place.

Repeat the steps quickly using the Up Arrow key in Terminal. Click in the Terminal window and press the Up Arrow until the first line of code shows up in the Terminal command line. Press enter. Then press the Up Arrow key until the “killall” command shows up. Press enter. Keep doing this until you get all the Dock Spacers you want.

What if you don’t like the result? Remove them as easily as you remove any Dock app icon. Drag the Dock Spacer off the dock and don’t let go of the icon until the tooltip “Remove” shows up and then let go. The Dock Spacer disappears.