Many users will have a few files they access so often they serve a direct link in the MacOS dock. To quickly differentiate between different Word files with the same standard icon, the best way is to use a custom icon (bottom right). This is easily done by copying and pasting a new icon in the Get Info window. The problem is, these icons constantly get deleted by Word (bottom left) when you change the file, making a stable non-default icon impossible (Mac Word 2011 & 2016 on MacOS 10.11).

Do you have a way to create a dock link to a Word file with a custom icon and have it survive the next round of editing?

On the left, direct Dock links to Word files where custom icons have been deleted after an edit. The links can no longer be differentiated. Stable custom icon to a folder on the right.

  • You may find some information in this answer.
    – bjbk
    Dec 21, 2017 at 20:45
  • In the post it says correctly that you cannot change the icon of an alias and suggests to create an application bundle. I have to find out how to do this. Easier though I though was to change the icon of the original word file. That works like a charm an transmits to the alias. The problem is that word does not respect the custom icon and deletes it on the first edit. :-( So, I'm back to square one or rather trying to make an application bundle.
    – SeanJ
    Dec 21, 2017 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


Here's my admittedly inelegant work-around for this problem.

  • Change the icon of the Word file.
  • Create an alias. It will inherit the icon of the original.
  • Change the name of the alias. I added a space. This will break the icon inheritance. Now, when the custom icon is overwritten during the next save of the Word file, the icon of the altered alias survives.

bjbk suggested an application bundle. Thanks for that. That probably also works.

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