How to Add a Recent Items Stack to Your Dock in OS X

How To Add A Recent Items Stack To Your Dock In OS X

Whenever you log in to your Mac, the first thing you probably see (depending on your settings) is the OS X Dock. The Dock is the quickest method to open apps on your Mac using your mouse cursor, and it is usually elegantly placed on the bottom of the screen.

By default, the OS X dock provides a fixed amount of application shortcuts as well as a “Recent Applications” stack. This stack provides a handy list of all of the recent apps you’ve opened which you can then open up again if needed.

In addition to customizing the Dock to your liking by adding / removing application shortcuts, you can also add a “Recent Items” stack to it. This allows it to feature other recent items, too, like Recent Files, Recent Items, Recent Servers, etc.

To add the Recent Items stack option to your OS X Dock, simply follow the steps outlined below:

1. Open Terminal on your Mac, either by navigating to “Applications -> Utilities” or by opening it from Spotlight.

2. Simply copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window:


Make sure the command is in one single syntax line in Terminal, and press Enter to execute the action.

Once done, you’ll need to restart the OS X Dock for the changes to take effect. To do this, enter the following command into Terminal:


You should now see a new “Recent Applications” stack in the OS X Dock; it will be present right next to the Trash icon.


If you right-click on the stack, you can change the stack to display either Recent Applications, Recent Documents, Recent Servers, Favorite Volumes, or Favorite Items.


To remove the stack from your Dock, simply drag it out of the Dock and into the Trash. This will remove the stack from your OS X Dock completely.

Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions in the Comments section below.

Shujaa Imran Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube


  1. I have an issue with OS10. Why can’t I copy/paste web content, with pics and create a new doc? Can’t do it. Pics won’t copy. I found a workaround. First copy into notes – that works fine. Then copy text and pics and paste into a new doc page – strangely, that works, allowing pics to copy into OS10 docs. What gives? A screw-up in latest update of OS10. Don’t recall if older versions of docs had the same issue. Any info would be appreciated. Ed

      1. I can’t copy and paste a doc, with photos into pages. Photos won’t paste, only the text. If I can paste into notes and pics are pasted, why not directly into pages?

  2. Is there a way to cut down the number of “recent” apps, docs, etc. down? I have a bunch showing up.

    Thanks for the great tips–I read your stuff all the time.

  3. Great article, thanks a lot. Is it possible to also drag the items out of the dock directly into another program, like you can do with downloaded items stack? I cannot drag the items from the recent list. I am on El Capitan.

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