Most of us loved Leopard’s stack feature but the defaults were not very pretty. Snow Leopard’s recent release has improved stack functionality slightly but they are still visually lacking. You will find a great tutorial on the basics of creating Leopard stack icons here on Iconpaper so this tutorial will look at a few new tricks on Snow Leopard. These also work if you are still on Leopard since not much has change. Before you get started you will need some icons designed to be used as stack overlays. Here are the basic stack icons you see in this tutorial but look around Iconpaper and you will find some much better stack icons. You can’t go wrong starting with either Icontainer Stacks or HUD Stacks.
Start by preparing the icon you want to use for your stack overlay. Extract the icon from your download and put it in the folder you want to make a stack. If it comes in an icontainer file you can load it up in CandyBar and then right-click it to extract it to an ICNS file. Next you need to name your stack properly to make sure it always appears first which is critical to the overlay effect working properly. I like to begin and end my stack icon names with a dash “-” character because I like my stacks sorted alphabetically by name and the dash is always put before “A” and “1″. Next you can change the file attributes to hide the extension and you’l have nice looking stacks that show up as “-STACK-” in grid, list and fan views. Now just drag the folder with the properly prepared stack icon to your dock. Once there, right-click the new stack and select the sorting and view of your choice. That’s about it. I don’t recommend sorting by date because every time you add a new app or document you will have to make chnages to keep the overlay icon on top. You are now ready to enjoy your new Snow Leopard transparent stack icon.