Adding Windows App Shortcuts to the Desktop

In the Free Windows class today, we discovered you can’t create a Desktop shortcut to a Windows app in the Windows Start Menu.

This, of course, intrigued me. I did my due diligence and am happy to explain how to add a Windows App shortcut to the Windows Desktop!

Follow these steps:

Open the Windows Apps folder in the Run dialog

  • Open the Run dialog (Windows Key-R)
  • Type: shell:AppsFolder
  • Press ENTER

The Windows Apps Folder opens with an icon view. You can change the view in the View menu:

  • Open the View menu (ALT-V)
  • Press UP and DOWN ARROW to select an alternative view
  • Press ENTER on a view
    • I suggest “List”

Navigate the icons with Windows list view navigation:

  • HOME and END
  • First letter navigation
  • First several letter navigation

Focus on an application for which you want to create a shortcut.

One note on Mail! If you have Apple iCloud installed, there are two mail apps. One takes you to the Apple Mail online interface. The second is the Windows Mail app.

Copy and paste the shortcut to the Windows Desktop:

  • Focus on the application for which you want to create a Desktop Shortcut
  • Copy the shortcut to the Windows Clipboard (CTRL-C)
  • Close the Windows Apps folder (ALT-F4)
  • Focus on the Windows Desktop (WINDOWS KEY-D)
  • Paste the shortcut to the Windows Desktop (CTRL-V)

The shortcut is available for immediate use!

You can also use the Windows Application Menu to pin the app to the Start Menu or Taskbar:

  • Focus on an app
  • Open the Windows Application Menu (WINDOWS APPLICATION KEY or SHIFT-F10)
  • Activate:
    • Pin to Taskbar
    • Pin to Start Menu

Close the Apps list (ALT-F4).

You’re done!

Thanks to all who attended the Free Windows Training Course, you’re encouraging me to learn new things as well!

Open a Web Page Desktop Shortcut in a Specific Browser

When discussing Desktop shortcuts in the Free Windows class, someone asked how to open a web page in a specific browser.

As it turns out, this is easier than it seems.

By default, Desktop shortcuts open the Windows default browser. If you like using a specific browser for some web pages, follow the steps below to create a shortcut that opens in the browser you specify!

What You’ll Need

You’ll need some information before you create your Desktop shortcut. Before moving to the Desktop, gather this information:

  • The path to the browser executable you want to use in the shortcut
  • The web page address

Finding a browser path is easier than it looks. I’ll show you how to find the browser path, find a web page address and create your shortcut.

Find a Browser Path

There are a variety of browsers available on the Internet. Whether you opt to use Edge, Chrome, Firefox or another browser, you’ll find the browser path in the same way.

Just one quick tip… make sure the browser is installed on your computer!

To find a browser path:

  • Open the Start Menu (WINDOWS KEY or CTRL-ESCAPE)
  • Search for the browser you want to use (Edge, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
  • Focus on the browser name and open the Windows Application Menu (WINDOWS APPLICATION KEY or SHIFT-F10)
  • Press UP and DOWN ARROW to navigate the menu
  • Press ENTER on “Open File Location”

File Explorer opens with focus on the browser shortcut. You can verify the selected shortcut with your screen reader.

To read the selected item:

  • JAWS for Windows
    • Desktop layout SHIFT-JAWS KEY-NUMBER ROW 2
    • Laptop layout SHIFT-JAWS KEY-DOWN ARROW
  • NVDA

With focus on the browser shortcut, open the Windows Application Menu with WINDOWS APPLICATION KEY or SHIFT-F10.

Press UP and DOWN ARROW to navigate the menu. Press ENTER on “Properties”

By default, focus is placed in the properties “Target” edit field. This field has the application path.

The path is selected. Press CTRL-C to copy to the Windows Clipboard.

Don’t press any ARROW KEYS to read the path. If you do, selection is removed. If you absolutely must read the path, press CTRL-A to select all field text.

After selecting the text, tap ESCAPE to close the shortcut properties.

Press CTRL-W to close the File Explorer Window.

Open the Shortcut Creation Wizard

Create Desktop a shortcut in the Shortcut Creation Wizard. To open the wizard, follow these steps:

  • Focus on the Windows Desktop (WINDOWS KEY-D or WINDOWS KEY-M)
  • Press ANY ARROW KEY to focus on a Desktop icon
  • Press CTRL-SPACEBAR to remove selection. This places focus on the Desktop rather than the Desktop icon
  • Open the Windows Application Menu (WINDOWS APPLICATION KEY or SHIFT-F10)
  • Press UP and DOWN ARROW to navigate the menu
  • Press ENTER on the “New” submenu
  • Within the “New” submenu, activate “Shortcut”

The Shortcut Creation Wizard opens.

Create the Shortcut

When the Shortcut Creation Wizard opens, focus is placed in an edit field.

This edit field accepts docuemnt and folder paths, website addresses, and more.

Paste the browser path into the edit field (CTRL-V). The path is inserted.

Press SPACEBAR to add a space after the browser path and input the web page you’d like to open in the selected browser.

For example: On my computer, the path to Firefox is: “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”

I want to create a shortcut to my website using Firefox so, I input the followign:

“C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”

After inputting the browser path and website address (make sure there’s a space between the two), press TAB until focus is on the “Next” button and activate it with SPACEBAR.

Focus is placed in another edit field. Type a name for your new shortcut.

Activate the “Finish” button and your new shortcut is created on the Desktop.

When you activate the shortcut, the designated web page opens in the selected browser.

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