Cheating at Leopard: Make Stacks work the way you thought it would

Thanks to the great feedback I’ve received here, pharmacist I released AutoStacks 0.2 on Nov. 21, salve 2007. The source code below is still that of version 0.1, help but all download links in this article have been updated to the new version. The original 0.1 version can still be downloaded here.

Remember how cool you once thought OS X Leopard’s new Stacks feature was going to be? And remember how disappointed you were when you discovered it didn’t actually do what you thought it would: i.e., create a new stack any time you dragged a collection of unrelated files onto the dock?

For some reason, I was heartbroken when I discovered a Stack was nothing more than a spiffed-down image of an existing folder, and I was even more irritated when I discovered you couldn’t just drag a bunch of files to make a new one. I couldn’t do much about the look, but I could at least make something that acted as I wanted it to: A convenient dock icon that sits patiently waiting for a collection of files, and then magically turns them into a new stack.

It’s a simple AppleScript application, and it seems to work. Unzip the application file, place it in your dock, then select a few files in your finder and drag them to the icon. It will ask you for a label (a default label is generated according to the current date and time), and then it will magically add the new Stack and (perhaps annoyingly) reload the Dock.


You can either download the the application file here, or modify the source to your own tastes:

Apparently I’m not the only one trying to make Stacks work like it should. Combine the functionality above with the visual treatment described here, and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent Dock.


8 thoughts on “Cheating at Leopard: Make Stacks work the way you thought it would”

  1. Great little app! Would it be at all possible to make them aliases instead of actually moving the files? I hate that stacks makes you move the actual document. I would rather keep multiple files from different folders, in the same stack without changing their location on the disk.

  2. Hi Matt,
    Actually, it’s extremely possible — in fact, that’s the way I had it set up to begin (if you download and compile the source itself, you’ll notice the code is still there to do just that). The next version (coming soon, but it’ll have to wait until I’m off deadline with another project) will feature a choice between the two options. Thanks for the comment!

  3. For those of us who aren’t AppleScript saavy, how would we go about making this alias feature the default rather than moving the actual file? I’ve looked at your AppleScript but can’t seem to figure it out.
    Thanks, and great app!

  4. Sure, Trassalg! The necessary changes occur around lines 76 and 77 of the script above. In Applescript, the double-dash (“- -“) indicates a comment line. By commenting out the “move file” line and removing the two hyphens from the “make alias” line above, you should get the desired results. Hope this helps!

  5. First of all, let me thank you for this great app!!
    The point is that I’ve used to write Java code in Netbeans under Windows and more or less (I’m a telecom student) I’m able to compile ready-to-use app, but I’m lost here! I would like the app to make alias of the original files but I don’t know how to compile the new code. If you can help it would be great,

  6. Sure, Mike. By popular request, we made a couple of changes to the app, and I hope we’ve made it better for everybody. Follow this link for a new, updated version that does the heavy lifting for you!

  7. I accidentally moved my stacks into the trash bin and now they are gone:( how do i get them back??

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