Customizing Windows: Creating Shortcuts
The information in this article applies to:
What is a shortcut?
A shortcut is an icon that is linked to an item on your computer (or on a computer on the network), such as a program, a document or a printer. When you double-click a shortcut, it opens the item.
Shortcuts are quick ways to open the programs and documents you use most often without searching through menus or windows to find them.
Two convenient places to put shortcuts are:
For example, suppose you have a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet named "Schedule" that you use every day. To open it, you could click the Start button, point to Programs, click Microsoft Excel, and then open "Schedule" from within the program. Or, to open both Microsoft Excel and the spreadsheet, you could create a shortcut to "Schedule" on the Start menu or in a folder.
How do I add a shortcut to the start menu?
You can add a shortcut to the top of your Start menu by clicking the Start menu, pointing to Settings, and then clicking Taskbar.
Click the Advanced tab, click Add, and then follow the instructions on how to add the shortcut to your Start menu. Another quick way to add a shortcut to the Start menu is to drag the item's icon from an Explorer window to the Start button.
How do I add a shortcut to a folder or to my desktop?
Shortcuts in folders or on the desktop are quick ways to start programs, open documents, or check printer status. You can identify shortcuts by the arrow in the lower left corner and the "Shortcut to" title.
To create a shortcut, you have to find the file or printer that you want to create a shortcut to. A quick way to do this is to use Find on the Start menu, but you can also use My Computer or Windows Explorer.
Once you have found the program, you can use your right mouse button to drag the file onto the desktop or to a folder, and then click Create Shortcut(s) Here.
Also, desktop shortcuts are accessible only when they are not covered by other windows. When you have several windows open, and you need to use a desktop shortcut, you have to minimize or move the windows to get to it. Shortcuts on the Start menu, however, are always available by clicking the Start button. You can view items on your desktop quickly by minimizing all open windows. Use your right mouse button to click a free area of the Taskbar, and then click Minimize All Windows. You can also minimize all windows by pressing the windows key and M on your keyboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my shortcuts disappear if I turn off the computer?
No, shortcuts stay on your Start menu and desktop until you delete them.
What happens if I delete a shortcut?
Deleting a shortcut deletes only the link. It has no effect on the item the shortcut was linked to. So, if you had a shortcut to "Schedule" and you deleted it, "Schedule" would still be in its original folder. Only the shortcut would be deleted.
Can I put a shortcut to a printer on my desktop?
Yes. Open the Printers folder, use your right mouse button to click the printer you want to create a shortcut to, and then drag the printer onto the desktop.
Can I change the name of a desktop shortcut?
Yes. Click the shortcut once, and then click its name. Then type in a new name for the shortcut, and press ENTER.
How can I get information about a particular shortcut?
Use your right mouse button to click the shortcut, and then click Properties. The properties for the shortcut will display information such as what it is linked to; what program, if any, is associated with the shortcut; and when it was created.
What happens if I delete the program or file that the shortcut points to?
Windows does not delete shortcuts automatically when you delete a program. If you delete, move, or rename the original item that the shortcut points to, and then try to open it using the shortcut, Windows will first search for a similar name and file size and then ask if you want to open that item. If Windows does not find a similar file, it will prompt you to specify where the original item is.
Do shortcuts take up extra memory?
No, they are saved to your hard disk, so they don't use any resources, except for a minimal amount (about 1K) of disk space.