How to Modify the Default Dock for New Users


Always work with a copy of the original plist. I am not responsible for any problems that performing this modification may cause. I have tested it on my home network and everything is still in working order. But, as they say on all UNIX tutorials "You have been warned..."

If you did not install the Developer Tools when you setup your workstation you will need to do so before continuing. Or at least install the Property List Editor (copy it from your Server if you have the Developer Tools installed there).

Step 1

On your client workstation go to /System/Library/CoreServices and Control Click on the Dock application and select Show Package Contents. Open the Contents/Resources/English.lproj folder and Option-Drag the file default.plist to the desktop.

Step 2

Using Property List Editor open the default.plist file that you placed on the desktop.

Step 3

Click on the disclosure triangle next to Root; then click on the disclosure triangle next to persistent-apps; you should then see disclosure triangles numbered 0 through 9. They represent the apps in the dock starting with the first app to the right of the Finder Icon.

Step 4

Choose the disclosure triangle for the application you want to replace on the dock. Click on the disclosure triangle for tile-data; click on the disclosure triangle for file-data. You should see two entries _CFURLString and _CFURLString Type.

Step 5

Double-click in the Value field for _CFURLString and replace the application name with the replacement application name. Note: If your replacement application is in a sub-folder within the Applications folder you will need to insert the exact path. Example: /Applications/Microsoft Office X/Microsoft Word (Also Get Info on the application to determine whether the path should include the dot app extension, none of the Office apps included this on my workstation). You will know your path is wrong if the app appears as a question mark in the dock after completing this modification.
Step 6

Select the number of any apps that you want to remove and click the Delete button.
You can add entries by selecting persistent-apps and clicking on the New Child button and adding the appropriate entries and information.

Step 7

If you want to remove the Icon for Apple - Mac OS X info or place other items on the right side of the dock. Click on the disclosure triangle for persistent-others and delete or modify the entry labeled 0. To add more entries, select persistent-others and click on the New Child button, select the new child and add the appropriate entries and information.

Step 8

Save your changes and replace the default.plist in the original file location (/System/Library/CoreServices/Dock/Contents/Resources/English.lproj).

Step 9

Use Apple Remote Desktop to copy modified Dock package to the rest of your workstations.

Hope this helps make your day a little better.

Send comments, suggestions or corrections to

Rick Davis
The Primax Group
Cincinnati, Ohio

2300 Montana Ave, Suite 102, Cincinnati, OH 45211
P.513.772.1223 F.513.772.0261 Toll-Free.888.856.7377