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Quite a hard question to phrase but I know there is an Applications folder in the Dock, above that being programs pinned to the dock, with a dot showing that they are open.

Is there a way to organise these pinned applications into folders on the dock (such as 'Word Processing', 'Development' etc) so clicking the folder shows the apps inside and gives it focus when its open and the window is minimised the icon within that folder? So instead of having like 20 apps on the dock, you have 3 folders, with the apps inside?

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See Daniel's answer. One other option is to look into software like Alfred, LaunchBar, Quicksilver, or Google's Quick Search Box. Acting like spotlight on crack, they let you quickly launch applications from a hotkey followed by a few keys of the app's name, allowing you to quit apps and leave them unpinned from your dock, rather than merely closing them, yet still have them just a couple of keystrokes away. – peelman Mar 3 '11 at 0:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Right-click an application and select Create Alias. It will create an alias/shortcut to that application.

Gather a few of those and put them in a new folder, named e.g. "Word processing".

Drag that folder to the right side of the Dock.

You can rename the aliases to remove the "alias" suffix, but it'll look somewhat like this: enter image description here

A commercial alternative is Overflow.

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When I first switched to OS X, I pined over the loss of the Start Menu and its abstract way of maintaining a program list. I used Overflow for a little while, then I found Quicksilver (circa 2004) and never looked back :) I have since migrated mostly to Alfred, but keep QS open on a separate hotkey for the handful of things Alfred doesn't do (yet). Ah, memories...not really relevant, but memories... – peelman Mar 3 '11 at 0:25
I use Alfred, bought the powerpack, and love it.The main reason I ask is that I have a few specialised installs of Eclipse, with 3 open at one time, they all have the same icon, kinda sucks. Thanks to everyone for the answers though! – Christopher Gwilliams Mar 3 '11 at 16:03

While not exactly what you are looking for, as folder have their own side of the dock, you can use Dock Separators to categorize your dock. There are a few third party implementations such as iPassion and zHome. If you really want to have folders with specific apps, you'll have to create stacks on the right side of the dock.

Coincidentally, 10.7 somewhat solves this problem by using Launchpad: launchpad pic but we all have to wait until this summer to get our hands on the retail release.

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With DragThing, you can create very customizable Dock-like palettes...

(sorry, I wanted to post some screenshots, but superuser thinks I want to spam :-)

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I posted my screenshots to – Georges Martin Mar 6 '11 at 17:05

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