The dock is the pop-up menu at the bottom of your screen where you can house shortcuts to different applications. You can customize it by adjusting the size and also by adding and removing icons.
To add a program shortcut, simply drag the icon into the dock. You’ll be able to move it around until you find a location that you like. To remove it, simply hold down, then pull it off and let go with your mouse. It will disappear in a little puff of smoke.
Applications aren’t the only shortcuts you can put in your dock. If you have folders with specific information you want readily available, like a folder for school essays or for office work you do at home, you can drag that icon into the dock and it will automatically create a shortcut.
To change the size and location of your dock, go to the top left corner of your screen, and pull down the menu under the little apple. Select Dock, then Dock Preferences. From here you can change the size, the magnification of the icons, what side of the monitor its anchored to, and whether or not it stays hidden. Pressing Command+Option+D will also hide and unhide the dock.
You can set your minimizing options from this window. The Genie Effect will swoosh your windows down into the dock, like they’re being sucked into a genie’s bottle. The Scale Effect will make your windows appear as if they’re being shrunk into the dock.
If you have Animate Opening Applications clicked on, it will show you what programs are being activated because their icons will begin to bounce in the dock. If you have an application running that you need to force quit you can do that by holding down your mouse over the icon. A pull up window will appear, and you’ll be able to shut it down from there.