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How to pin a file to the Dock on macOS

The Dock on macOS is, by default, divided into two sections; pinned apps, and recent files. The recent files section is dynamic. It updates as you access files meaning that the files you see there one week may not be there the next. In a way, this is a great feature. You don’t have to manually pin a file to the Dock. It will simply appear there if you access it frequently enough. That said, if the recent files feature isn’t enough, you can pin a file to the Dock so that it stays there. Here’s how.

Pin file to Dock

Out of the box, you cannot pin a file to the Dock. That is a feature reserved for apps. What you can do though is, you can pin an Alias and an Alias can be created for both files and folders. We’ve used an Alias to show how you can open a pinned folder with one click.

Open Finder and visit the file that you want to pin to the Dock. Right-click it and select ‘Make Alias’ from the context menu. The Alias will be created in the same location as the file. If you want, you can rename it though it’s not a good idea since it might make it more difficult for you to identify a file.

Once the Alias has been created, drag and drop it onto the Dock and release it. This will pin the Alias to the Dock and when you click it, it will open the file.

The alias cannot be pinned with the other apps so it will still be separate from the app icons on your Dock. Additionally, when you open a file via its alias, the app that will open it and the file’s own icon will both be present on the Dock. This basically means that opening a file pinned to the Dock will take up two spaces on it. It’s a small shortcoming that you can’t really work around.

On macOS, when you right-click an app’s Dock icon you will see recent files listed there. This only holds true for some files but these files also update based on the ones you access most frequently. There’s no option to pin them to the menu. All in all, pinning an alias to a file is really the easiest option. If you’re open to using app launchers, you can find one that lets you access files either from the Menu bar or from the Dock.

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