Add A Preferences Stack 5

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Add A Preferences Stack

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This tip was an idea of my friend. If you use System Preferences a lot, you may want a quick way of accessing the panes. This little trick is designed to show a simple and easy way to add such a stack to your dock. It does take a little bit of work to set it up. But the results are very useful.

To add a preferences stack we first need to find the preferences location. We will then make aliases of these preferences panes, copy them into a folder and then turn this folder into a stack. The preferences panes are located in three places. The first place is your own preference panes which are unique to you. This is located in ~/Library/Preference Panes. To make the files into aliases, select the files you want to be in you preferences stack. Right click on one of the files and select “Make Alias”, the alias will be made and the selection switched to these new files. Then copy this aliases to a new folder. I have made one in my home folder named “Preferences”.

That was the easy step. We now need to repeat the step for the other two locations. This is slightly harder and takes an extra couple of steps due to security reasons. The final preference panes are located in /Library/Preference Panes and /System/Library/Preference Panes. These two folders are locked, as a result you can’t write to them. To make the aliases, right click on the folder and select Get Info. In the Sharing & Permissions section at the very bottom click the pad lock and allow yourself right access. Then make the aliases, copy them to your folder and disable write access.

The final step is to drag this new folder into your Dock. It will then turn itself into a Stack and you should be good to go.

A cool little trick. It does take a while to get step up, but if you use System Preferences a lot, it can be a quick little way to get to your preferences quicker.


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5 Responses to “Add A Preferences Stack”

  1. 1

    Making aliases is much easyer!
    -> select all your panes you want make aliases from. Than hold down Command + Option and drag it where you want. Done. ;)
    This also don’t create the “alias” at the end…

    Comment By Dominic on November 3rd, at 9:23 pm

  2. 2

    I simply dragged ‘System Preferences app.’ from ‘Applications’ into the Dock. One click on this in the Dock and up comes a window (or is it called a stack?) containing clickable preference pane icons, both system and user, all named and neatly laid out under general headings – much easier and a lot quicker!

    Comment By John on November 4th, at 12:58 pm

  3. 3

    @Dominic I didn’t no that thanks.

    @John. There is the right click options for System Preferences which shows you all of the items, but you don’t get all the features of a stack.

    Comment By admin on November 4th, at 8:43 pm

  4. 4

    @admin – Great idea….I never thought of putting them in a stack. I suppose the one thing that I wish was possible (an maybe it is) would be having a static icon for the stack, instead of the icons piled on top of each other.

    @Dominic – Instead of creating an alias, you’re creating another instance of each PrefPane, and running it from a location other than where the system expects them to be. Especially in the case of the inbuilt items in the System/Library/PreferencePanes folder, they are stored in the system folder so that they are protected, and can only be manipulated by the system. Additionally, if an update to OS X modifies any of those PrefPanes, you’ll be running an older version from the Stack that you’ve created.

    If you own a utility like FileBuddy, it’s very simple to create all of those alias’s at once, and you can also batch rename them all to get rid of the .prefPane extension, and the word alias at the end of the name. “A Better Finder Rename” is another great utility for batch rename jobs. Of course, there are plenty of other utilities you can use for renaming, and you can always do it the old fashioned way.

    Comment By Chris on November 4th, at 11:51 pm

  5. 5

    For those terminal comfortable people out there, here is a little script you can past into terminal to do the same thing.
    just edit the location of path_to_folder to equal the path of the folder your storing your preferences.


    path_to_folder= ~/preferences
    ln -s ~/Library/PreferencePanes/* $path_to_folder
    ln -s /System/Library/PreferencePanes/* $path_to_folder
    ln -s /Library/PreferencePanes/* $path_to_folder

    in fact if you set this to run everytime you boot up, you can always keep these in sync.

    Comment By Jim on January 28th, at 10:54 pm