Managing Windows 7 Desktop Shortcuts

December 9, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Why go rooting around your hard drive for regularly used files and folders when you can find them much more quickly with a shortcut?

Windows shortcuts (denoted by a small arrow in the corner of the icon) are a great way to save time and deliver instant access to your files and folders, cutting out the bother of opening up an Explorer window and giving you quick access to any type of regularly used file, be it a Word document, Notepad file, a JPG or even a webpage.

Remember, although there are many references to “desktop shortcuts” in this article, shortcuts can be from any folder to another almost anywhere on your Windows 7 PC.

Creating Windows 7 shortcuts

Creating a Folder Shortcut

If you have a folder that you regularly access, you can create a desktop shortcut in order to access it quickly. This is easily setup and brings the benefit of fast access when you want it.

For instance I might have a folder called DeviceMAG containing articles and ideas for content for the site. It would be useful to have this folder on my desktop so that I can quickly drag items into it.

I can set this up by browsing to the folder which is situated in My Documents. By right-clicking the folder icon and selecting Send to > Desktop (create shortcut) I can then find it on my desktop and position it however I like. As I often store bookmarks in my DeviceMAG folder (before adding valuable links to my Bookmarks folder) I can position the browser window on one side of the screen, the DeviceMAG – Shortcut folder on the other and easily drag URLs from the browser into the folder to read in more detail later!

Creating a File Shortcut

Shortcuts to files can be created just as easily as a folder shortcut.

You might do this if there is a daily file that you regularly access, perhaps a progress report or an image that you use on a daily basis.

To create a shortcut to a file, right-click the file in question and then select Send to > Desktop (create shortcut). A desktop shortcut will then be created to your file which you can then position as you see fit.

Note that as shortcuts can be from anywhere to anywhere in Windows 7, you don’t have to leave them on your desktop. If it suits you better to have a shortcut to a file or folder in another folder, all you need to do is drag or copy and paste the shortcut to its new location.

Creating a Desktop Shortcut to a Drive or Webpage

By creating a shortcut to a drive you save time opening Explorer and accessing the drive. Similarly you can drag items from your desktop to the drive, just as you might to a folder.

Creating a shortcut to a drive partition requires a slightly different process. In an empty portion of your desktop or folder window, right-click your mouse and select New > Shortcut. In the next screen you must Browse for the item you are planning to create the shortcut for. If you plan to create a shortcut to the C: drive then browse to this and click OK.

Any number of shortcuts can be created in this way.

Finally you might create a shortcut to a web page in the same way as explained above; rather than browsing for a location on your computer, type in the address for the page! Another way to create a web shortcut is to drag the URL from the address bar in your browser to your desktop.

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