Create shortcuts for apps, files, folders, and web pages in Windows 10

One of the most efficient ways to access your favorite apps, files, folders, and web pages is through shortcuts. That is why, in spite of the clutter, many of us choose to have lots of shortcuts on our desktops. This tutorial shows you how to create all kinds of shortcuts in Windows 10. There's quite a bit of ground to cover, so let's get started:

How to create shortcuts to desktop apps and files in Windows 10

To create a shortcut, right-click or press-and-hold on a free area on your desktop. In the contextual menu that appears, tap or hover over the New option to reveal another menu, and then click or tap on Shortcut.

Open the right-click menu to create a shortcut

The Create Shortcut wizard opens. Type the location of the item you want to create a shortcut to, or, better yet, click or tap on Browse.

It's easier pressing Browse than typing in an item's location

A pop-up window asks you to "Select the target of the shortcut below." Navigate to the app or file you want to create a shortcut to, and then click or tap OK. We wanted to create a shortcut to Mozilla Firefox, so we had to navigate to "This PC > Windows (C:) > Program Files > Mozilla Firefox > firefox.exe."

Navigate to the app or file you need a shortcut to

TIP: If you're creating a shortcut to an app, make sure to choose the app's executable file and not some ancillary file.

In the Create Shortcut wizard, you can see that the item's location has been filled in automatically based on your selection. Click or tap Next to continue.

Press Next to continue creating a shortcut

Now you can change the name of your shortcut or leave the default one. When you are done, click or tap on Finish.

Press Finish to complete the process

The shortcut is now available on your desktop.

The Firefox shortcut is now available on the desktop

How to create shortcuts to folders in Windows 10

Shortcuts to folders are created the same way as the ones to apps and files. First, right-click or press-and-hold on a free area on your desktop to open a contextual menu. Go to New and click or tap on Shortcut to open the Create Shortcut wizard. Once here, either type the location of the folder in question, or click or tap on Browse to navigate to it. Select the folder you want to create a shortcut to, and then press OK. Click or tap on Next when you are returned to the Create Shortcut wizard.

Creating a folder shortcut is no different from creating one to an app or a file

All you need to do is choose a name for your folder shortcut and then click or tap on Finish.

Pressing Finish completes the process and places the shortcut on your desktop

The shortcut should now be available on your desktop.

How to create shortcuts to web pages in Windows 10

Unsurprisingly, in Windows 10, the process of creating a shortcut to a web page starts precisely the same way as the one for files and folders. Open the Create Shortcut wizard by first right-clicking or pressing-and-holding a free desktop area, and then clicking or tapping on the Shortcut option from the New menu.

In the wizard, type in or paste the web address of the page you are trying to create a shortcut to. Then, click or tap on Next.

Type in the address of the site you need a shortcut to

The default name for your shortcut is "New Internet Shortcut," so you might want to change it to something else to avoid confusion. When you are done, click or tap on Finish.

Choose a name and press Finish to save the shortcut to your desktop

When you first create a shortcut to a web page, the default icon looks like a blank document.

The default icon for shortcuts to web pages looks like a blank document

The first time you use a web page shortcut, Windows 10 asks in a pop-up window how you want to open the file. Click or tap on Internet Browser, make sure to check the option to "Always use this app to open .url files," and press OK.

Windows 10 needs specific instructions on handling .url files

This opens the target link of your shortcut in your default browser. At the same time, the icon for the shortcut is replaced by a variation of the icon used by your default web browser. The same icon is used for all the shortcuts to web pages you create from now on.

The icon for your shortcut matches your default browser

TIP: To learn how to change a shortcut's icon, read How to change the icon of any shortcut in Windows.

How to create shortcuts to Start Menu items in Windows 10

Windows 10 allows users to create shortcuts for all the items listed in the Start Menu. To begin, open the Start Menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard and find the item you are looking for in the apps list. Then, click or tap on it, but do not release. Hold down the mouse button or do not take your finger off the screen, and drag the item to the desktop. When the text Link appears next to your cursor, you can drop the item anywhere on your desktop to create a shortcut.

Drag and drop an item from the list to create a shortcut

Alternatively, you can also grab any of the shortcuts and tiles from the right side of the Start Menu the same way, and you can drag and drop them on the desktop with the same results.

Drag and drop a tile or a shortcut to your desktop

In both these cases, dragging and dropping creates a new shortcut, leaving the original shortcut or tile in its place.

How to create shortcuts to files and folders using their right-click menu in Windows 10

You can also use the options in an item's right-click menu to create a shortcut to it. Open File Explorer, navigate to the location of the file or folder you want to create a shortcut to, and then right-click or press-and-hold on it to open its contextual menu. Tap or hover over the Send to option, and then click or tap on "Desktop (create shortcut)."

Choose Desktop from the Send to menu to create a shortcut

A shortcut is created on the desktop, pointing to the item you have selected. The right-click menu also has a Create shortcut option you can click or tap.

Press Create shortcut from the right-click menu

Unlike the other option, a shortcut to the selected item is created in the same folder as the original file, and you can move that shortcut to another location.

If you try to use this last method to create a shortcut to a file found in a folder where your user account doesn't have permissions to create new files, you get an error message, letting you know that you can't create a shortcut in that location. Click or tap on Yes to place the shortcut on the desktop instead.

Pressing Yes places the shortcut on your desktop

What type of shortcuts do you prefer?

Thank you for reading this tutorial, and we hope you learned how to make a shortcut in Windows 10, be it to an app, a file, a folder, or a web page. Before you close this article, let us know what shortcut(s) do you want to create? Do you prefer desktop, taskbar, or Start Menu shortcuts? Comment below and let's discuss.