When I add the system preferences to the dock and click it, it opens in the common view.

How can I open a specific pane at once from the dock? system settings specific pane

  • In Finder, open /System/Library/PreferencePanes on Lion for the system preference panes or /Library/PreferencePanes or ~/Library/PreferencePanes/ for user-added ones.
  • Drag the icon of your choice from the folder to the Dock. It will probably only go on the right side (the documents/folders/minimized windows/Trash side) of the divider.

Clicking the new icon will open System Preferences directly to that preference pane.

  • 1
    +1 Despite my own answer, I really like this one :-) You also get the "correct" icon of the prefpane you want, as opposed to the default AppleScript one. Works as you describe on Lion too, but the path is /System/Library/PreferencePanes for system panes and /Library/PreferencePanes or ~/Library/PreferencePanes for user ones. – binarybob Apr 25 '12 at 22:29
  • It's the same in Lion - you can only drag it to the right of the striped divider. – jsd Apr 26 '12 at 0:31
  • 1
    The path has been PreferencePanes for a lot longer than Lion. – Kevin Reid Apr 26 '12 at 12:35

If it's a particular pane you want then you can use AppleScript to do this. For example, start the AppleScript Editor and type the following:

tell application "System Preferences"
    set current pane to pane "com.apple.preference.startupdisk"
end tell

This will open the Startup Disk preference pane com.apple.preference.startupdisk, but the other panes follow the same naming convention, e.g. com.apple.preference.dock etc.

You can now save this an application:

enter image description here

Then drag the .app file you created to the Dock. When you double-click it, it will open the required preference pane.

  • What about preference panes that have spaces and ampersands in them like, "Security & Privacy"? I need to show the privacy pane. – 1.21 gigawatts Jan 13 '15 at 22:17

If System Preferences is running, the Dock menu has a list of all available preference panes. If it's not running, they aren't in the menu because apps on OS X can't keep stuff in the Dock when they're not running.

For easy access to a specific preference pane, use Spotlight or a third-party launcher.

  • 3
    You can also use Automator or AppleScript Editor to create an application that will open a particular prefpane; see the scripting dictionary for System Preferences in AppleScript Editor. – geekosaur Apr 25 '12 at 22:02

I see this is an old post, but at OS X.7 (Lion) and X.8 (Mountain Lion), at least, show the full list by just clicking and HOLDING on the System Preferences icon in the Dock.

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