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How To Create a Desktop Shortcut

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

Tech Snippets - this series of short posts shows helpful tools and methods that could easily be missed or overlooked yet are extremely helpful!
Do you know this one?...

How To Create a Desktop Shortcut

In Microsoft Windows, it is very easy to create a desktop shortcut for a website or a specific folder of your files. All you need to do is find the little icon to the left of the URL in your browser (or the little icon next to the address in your file explorer window). Use your left mouse button to drag and drop this icon onto your desktop (note: you'll need to have the window not maximized so that you can see a portion of your desktop to drop onto)

how to create a desktop shortcut windows 11

Once you have dropped the icon onto your desktop, you'll have a shortcut all ready for future use! This will enable you to quickly get back to the web page (or folder on your computer)

windows desktop shortcuts have arrow on icon

Note in the illustration above how shortcut icons have a little arrow symbol in the bottom corner of the icon. This is how you know that it is just a link (or shortcut) to the folder and not the actual folder itself. Whenever you see this arrow symbol you can delete the icon and be assured that you are not deleting the actual folder or files in the folder.

How To Create a Desktop Shortcut on a Mac

If you are working on a Mac, creating shortcuts for a web page works just the same as the above (drag the icon or the URL text to your desktop).

If you want to create a shortcut to a folder, in Mac you will create what is called an "Alias" (just another name for a shortcut) One way to make an Alias is to right click on a folder (or file) and choose "Make Alias" from the pop up menu. The alias will be listed alongside the original folder (or file). From there, you can drag and drop the alias to move it to the desktop.

Another way to make an alias is to press Option + Command keys while you drag and drop the original item to another location (like your desktop). When you release the mouse, you will have a shortcut.

This article from lifewire shows more specific details if you need more help on Mac.

Keeping Your Desktop Clean

I'm a big proponent of keeping a clean desktop! So let me mention that even though I'm showing you how to make desktop shortcuts, I don't suggest you clutter your desktop with tons of shortcuts! I will often make shortcuts to web pages that I don't have time to read now but want to come back later. Once I do come back, I will do one of two things with that shortcut. If it is a very useful page that I might refer to again in the future, I will MOVE the shortcut into a special folder I call "bookmarks". For other pages, once I come back and get the info I was looking for, I will simply DELETE the shortcut. So in the end, my desktop is NOT cluttered with icons! I highly suggest that methodology as one that works very well.

Did you know this tech snippet already?
Or did you learn something new today?

Be sure and like this post if you learned something new today.
If I didn't teach you anything new, stay tuned, I'll get you on the next one!
Here is a listing of my tech snippets posts where you can check out previous ones in this series.
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Craig Daniels
This blog is all about technology and helping you to use it smarter! Your digital footprint is your chance to attract new clients. What kind of impression are you making via your website, blog, and social media? We’ll be talking about that! Are you as productive as you can be? What apps might help you out? Do you know how to use all the best tools inside the apps? I enjoy photography and videography, you can expect to see those topics also on this blog.
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PS - get ready for some homework… :) 


Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Craig I love your tech snippets series!  Little tiny bits to learn and apply with practically no effort!  And no , oddly I didn't know about this - thanks!

May 13, 2023 01:27 PM
Craig Daniels

thanks for the enthusiastic comment Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker - makes me glad to share things that help

May 14, 2023 10:36 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Craig another tip I did not know, that is very useful.

May 13, 2023 03:56 PM
Craig Daniels

glad you can use this tip George Souto 

May 14, 2023 10:36 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I did not know that you could do shortcuts this way.  Thank you for the tip!

May 13, 2023 04:15 PM
Craig Daniels

thanks for letting me know you found the tip useful Ray Henson 

May 14, 2023 10:37 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Craig, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful tips, we so appreciate it!

May 13, 2023 06:55 PM
Craig Daniels

glad to know that these short post have value, thanks Joan Cox 

May 14, 2023 10:37 AM
Aura Alex
Seattle, WA
Retired Real Estate Pro

Hi, Craig.

It looks like you just described my computer screen. Declutter and cleaning up my desktop will probably take a whole day. I like the folder idea.

But you know what? I've grown to love the mess. I know, I know...it's a little bit crazy, and I'm all about living on the edge. Who knows what wild adventure awaits me amidst the chaos of my digital life? 😁

May 13, 2023 08:15 PM
Craig Daniels

We need a Marie Kondo of desktops for you Aura Alex lol 😂

May 14, 2023 10:39 AM
Aura Alex

Craig Daniels 

Marie Kondo says only to keep things that "spark joy." I'm sorry, but those desktop icons make my heart flutter with happiness! They are my joy-inducing clutter.😎

May 14, 2023 05:43 PM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Craig thia is one i knew but it is always good to get a refresher.  Have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend.


May 14, 2023 03:30 AM
Craig Daniels

Sometimes it is good to get reminders Charles Ross - (785)-819-6944 , thanks

May 14, 2023 10:40 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I didn't know you could put shortcuts on your desktop like that. I keep my active folders on my desktop and then I move them to "documents" when they close. But I do clean up extra desktop files on a regular basis - I don't like it to be too cluttered.

May 14, 2023 05:02 AM
Craig Daniels

that sounds like a pretty good method and balance to me Kat Palmiotti 

May 14, 2023 10:41 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Craig... for once you've covered something I already know how to do and I don't need to feel stupid. My desktop is full of shortcuts! 

May 14, 2023 05:19 AM
Craig Daniels

I'm trying to dig up the somewhat lesser known tips that can help, so when you don't know something that's the point! 😉 okay we'll see on the next one if I can find something you didn't already know🙂

May 14, 2023 10:44 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Another great tutorial, I always learn something good from your posts!  I am kind of a minimalist so I clear my desktop of all icons, haha.

May 14, 2023 05:48 AM
Craig Daniels

In tech support, I see plenty of desktops Brian England and when I see super clutter I like to help clean up! Sometimes you discover a really great wallpaper image underneath, but you never would have known until you swept up!

May 14, 2023 10:46 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I didn't know that the little arrow meant the shortcut was a link. Love your series!


May 14, 2023 12:02 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Craig Daniels ,

You are always so full of wonderful tidbits to help us! We so value your expertise!! Thank you..Thank you!!!

May 15, 2023 08:09 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Keep on sharing, Craig. Great stuff here and I can always learn more to save time. Your tutorials are always so easy to follow, so thanks!


May 15, 2023 08:37 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

This is a refresher for something that I use often and so appreciate the quickness it offers.

May 16, 2023 07:39 AM