Dock on Left OS X

About a year or so ago, I decided to position my Mac’s dock on the left side of the screen. Since then, I haven’t looked back. In my opinion, this is by far the best position for the dock if your right hand happens to be your dominant hand. Positioning your dock on the left side of the screen has some obvious advantages, which I’ll highlight in this post.

Advantage 1: The most obvious advantage is that apps can now take up the full height of the screen without being obstructed by a dock positioned at the bottom of the screen. Since monitors are almost always widescreen, a dock placed at the bottom of the display can cause a serious loss of vertical real estate. Placing the dock on the left (or right) side of the screen lessens the constrain normally placed on the already limited vertical space.

One of the easiest ways to see the advantage brought to the table is by simply viewing a web page and comparing the page with the dock on the side of the screen versus on the bottom of the screen. The benefits should be obvious. Since most web pages provide content on a limited horizontal span, with a more spacious vertical span, you’ll be able to read more content on screen at once without any negative side effects. To illustrate, compare the following two pictures:

Web with dock at bottom

Notice where the text on the web page cuts off on the screen above…

Web with dock on left

…versus how the text cuts off on this screen

With the dock placed on the left side of the screen, I can benefit from up to five additional lines of text on the web page that I’m currently viewing. While you can always adjust the dock and make it smaller, I tried to keep the sizes of both docks similar to show the difference with comparable sizes. Of course, you can compensate for the lost real estate simple by making the dock a lot smaller.

Notice, too, that there are no negative effect on horizontal space, because most web pages don’t span as long horizontally as they do vertically.

Advantage 2: In English speaking cultures, our eyes have been trained to start from the left of the page, so placing the dock on the left side of the screen feels natural. It’s also great if you have a dominant right hand, because your hand has room on the trackpad for movement from the right to the left of the trackpad. Obviously, if your dominant hand is your left hand, this can change things a bit, but even if you decide to move your dock to the right side of the screen, I think most of the benefits apply.

Given those two advantages, especially the first one, I think it’s a no-brainer to place the dock on the side of the display. Since doing it, I’ve never looked back, and I don’t see myself ever going back to the stock dock position. The only superior option than placing the dock on the left side of the screen would be to enable dock hiding, but that’s not something that I’m totally comfortable with doing yet.

What about you? Do you agree that placing the dock on the left side of the screen if for the best?