Mac – How to Quickly Open Recent Apps and Documents



You probably use your Mac all the time, and you have a lot of apps and documents in it but only access very few of them. So what do you do to get to them? You would most probably locate those files within the computer’s drive or head on to the application where they can be opened and open those from there. However, there is a little terminal command that will add a useful, albeit hidden feature in order to access your recent apps and documents right from your dock.

Mac - How to Quickly Open Recent Apps and Documents

Quickly Open Recent Apps and Documents on Your Mac Using a Terminal Command

Step 1 – In order to reveal the hidden feature on your Mac, start by pressing Command + Space on your keyboard, and then type “terminal” to open the (you guessed it) Terminal. Once you’ve got the Terminal opened up, you just need to type in the following command: defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” = {“list-type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”;}’ && \killall Dock. Once that’s been typed in properly, now all you have to do is hit on Enter to activate it. Simple, right?

Step 2 – It may be a lengthy command line, but it can be broken down to let you have a better understanding of it. The defaults portion is an Apple-provided program that will change particular hidden preferences that are within your Mac computer. As for write, it tells the program on what you would like to be changed. “com.apple.dock persistent-others” refers to the sub-set of settings that you are changing, and -array-add will instruct the defaults program to add a new icon to your dock. The text after the -array-add will outline what kind of icon will be added to the dock. Finally, \killall Dock will restart the dock so that the settings will be applied.

Step 3 – Once you see the icon on the dock of your Mac, do a right click on it and you will see some options. For instance, you can set the stack to show the recent documents, or you can also set it to show the recent applications that have been used. Other than that, you can also set it to show your own list of “Favorites” that can be found inside the Finder. If you don’t want the icons to fan out, you can also let the icon to just show a simple list instead.


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Mac – How to Quickly Open Recent Apps and Documents
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