How to Add Favorites on Mac

Customize your Mac by adding your favorite websites and apps

Your Mac computer comes loaded with two productivity tools to help you quickly find and open the applications, files, and folders you use most often. One tool is the Favorites panel within Finder. The second tool is the Dock, a narrow panel located on the edge of the screen that holds shortcut icons to these items. Here's how to add favorites on Mac using these two tools.

How to Add Favorites to Mac Finder

Finder helps you quickly find an app, file, folder or web page stored within your Mac and iCloud Drive. There's a sidebar within Finder that includes a section for Favorites, where you can add shortcuts to speed the time it takes you to find your most commonly used folders, files, and apps. Here's how to add your favorites to Finder.

  1. Click Finder in the Dock.

    Finder icon on Mac Dock
  2. You'll see a list of files. Find the application, file or folder you want to add in the list of files.

  3. Click the item in the list and drag it over to the Favorites section of the Finder sidebar. A red line appears showing the location of the item.

    The App Store app dragged to the Favorites section of the Finder

    To add an application to the Favorites panel, hold the Command key while dragging the application file to the Favorites panel.

  4. After you have the item in the correct location, release the item from the mouse.

  5. To remove an item from the Favorites panel, simply drag it away.

How to Add Favorites to the Dock

The Dock is a useful timesaver, as each icon is a shortcut that allows you to quickly open apps, files or web pages. Your Mac already comes preloaded with icons on the dock, in a specific order from left to right:

  • The Finder
  • Favorite app shortcuts
  • Currently-running apps, indicated by a little black dot on the bottom of the icon
  • Favorite files or folders
  • Trash Can

How to Add Apps to the Dock on Your Mac

The Dock shows up to three recently used apps that aren’t already in the Dock and a folder for items you download from the internet. There are several ways to modify the appearance of the dock. You can customize it by adding icons, deleting icons and rearranging the order of the icons.

  1. Click Launchpad in the dock.

    Launchpad icon on Macbook dock
  2. Select and drag an application of your choice to the dock.

  3. The icons already in the dock make room for the app to slide in between them. Drag the icon to the position you would like it to have on the dock.

    Screenshot of Dictionary being added to dock
  4. Once you let go of the app in the desired position, it is added to the Dock.

How to Add a Website to Your Mac Dock

If you have a web page you visit often, you can create a shortcut to add to the Dock so you can quickly load the page.

  1. Open the web page in any browser, including Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

  2. With the page open, highlight the URL in the browser address bar.

  3. Drag the small icon located located on the left of the URL to the dock and position it left of the Trash icon but before the vertical line that separates the Trash icon from the rest of the apps. In some cases, you may need to drag the entire URL to the Dock.

    A browser showing the icon next to the URL
  4. Release the mouse to add the web page icon to the Dock.

    Web page icon on the Mac Dock
  5. Click the web page icon in the Dock to launch that page.

How to Add Files or Folders to the Dock

If you have a file or folder within an application you'd like to open quickly, you can add it to the Dock so that the folder is always on top of your desktop.

  1. Launch Finder to locate the file or folder you want to save.

  2. Drag the file or folder to the dock and drop it to the left of the trash can icon but to the right of the vertical line.

    A folder dragged to the Mac Doc
  3. Depending on the application, the icon may take on the appearance of the application. Word documents, for example, display "DOCX." Click the icon to open the associated application and the folder.

How to Rearrange the Position of the Icons in the Dock

While the Dock is preloaded in a specific order, you can customize which applications appear in the dock, and the location, or order, of the applications. The Finder and Trash icons cannot be moved, but you can move the position of and add or delete other app shortcuts, to match your preferences.

Screenshot showing how to rearrange icons in the Dock.

All you have to do is select the icon of the app you want to move and drag it to a new position on the Dock. The other icons on the Dock settle around the icon you move so everything is spaced evenly on the Dock.

How to Delete Items in the Dock

If your dock is too crowded or you'd like to declutter the Dock, you can remove icons and give your Dock some breathing room.

  1. Click an icon you want to remove.

  2. Drag the icon up (or across, depending upon the location of your Dock) to the middle of the screen.

  3. The word "Remove" appears.

    The word "Remove" above an app icon being removed from the Doc
  4. Release the mouse, and the icon is removed from the Dock.

Changing the Location of the Dock

On your Mac, the Dock is located horizontally at the bottom of the screen by default. You can move the Dock to appear vertically to the left or right side of your screen, along with other customization features, including the Genie effect. Here's how:

  1. Right-click the vertical line on the Dock located near the Trash icon.

    The vertical line divider on the Dock
  2. Click Dock preferences in the pop-up menu that appears.

    The path to the Dock Preferences on a Mac
  3. A new window opens giving you the option to change the position of the Dock, the Dock's size, and the Genie effect.

    Dock system preferences on a Mac