How to Add Custom Shortcuts to Your Chromebook App Launcher

  • MORE

screenshot 2018 01 29 at 3.13.55 pmShortcuts for apps and plugins on your Chromebook are automatically installed in the app launcher (also called the Shelf) when they are first downloaded, giving users a very convenient way to access their favorite downloads. Unfortunately, your favorite websites don't show up there automatically.

Fortunately, you can add your favorites to this window, as long as you know how.

1. Open the webpage in Chrome, such as ESPN.com, the example I'm using here.

image 2096041517257515

2. Click the Menu icon.image 2096041517257603

3. Select More Tools.image 2096041517257673

4. Click Add to shelf.

image 2096041517257765

You've added a shortcut to the shelf (also known as the app launcher!)

screenshot 2018 01 29 at 3.14.21 pm

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on
Add a comment
42 comments
  • Antonio Sam Says:

    ◾PROTOCOL SHIELDERS◾
    HELLO,

    I am COREY RODRIGUEZ by name,
    the only CEO of protocol-cyber-shield-hackers.
    In this message, we will explain how you can almost avoid SCAMMERS and stay safe, plus how our organization works.

    Read it carefully!!
    Its reading will not take more than 10mins.

    We kindly URGE you to not respond without have read the entire text. Those who mail without have read everything, ask questions that are answered here!!

    ⚠️WARNING:

    MOST HACKERS YOU SEE HERE ARE FAKES
    AND SIMULTANEOUSLY INCONGRUOUS !!.
    It tears US up as we have received bitter emails of Jobs attempts proposals from most clients with hacking issues but never got it done and lost a lot in the process,
    EXAMPLES OF LOSSES ARE:
    ➡️BINARY FUNDS,
    ➡️INVESTMENTS,
    ➡️LARGE SCALE FUNDS,
    ➡️PROPERTIES,
    ➡️STONES(JEWELRIES) etc....

    all scammed by uncertified and fake hackers(impersonation) like most you see here, which is disappointingly inadequate,
    leaving their mess for us to deal with eventually (WE DON'T MEAN TO BRAG ABOUT THAT).

    SCAMMERS DONT PITTY ON YOU AND BY THE TIME YOU KNOW IT,YOU'VE GONE TOO DEEP BEING RIPPED OFF THROUGH DIVERSE TRICKY MEANS,PLEASE BE WISE ENOUGH TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ARTICLE AS YOU READ THROUGH IT.
    HOW WOULD YOU KNOW??

    You won't know until you fall a Victim but can be attentive to potential danger, error or harm if you take note of these:

    1, you see uncertified email accounts carrying numberings like
    "iamhacklord1232@(gmail,yahoo or hotmailDOTcom"
    pls flee from them, BIG SCAMMERS.
    They take your money and never do your job!!

    2, you see posts like "do you need to spy on spouse?"
    All fake!
    just a way to lure you toward getting ripped OFF!.

    3, posting fake testimonies and comments to trick you into feeling save and secured.
    Pls endeavour to ignore!!

    🛑NOTE: beware as we urge you not to make respond to any "IVAN HONG,PETER SANTOS,MONICA HART...(impersonating with our post pretending to work for us)
    WE ONLY HAVE 2 EMAILS WHICH ARE LISTED BELOW THIS ARTICLE TO ATTEND TO YOU VARIOUS MANNER OF CYBER MISHAPS.

    ◾VERY IMPORTANT ◾

    For years now, We've helped organizations secure data base, so many sites USES US AS SECURITY BACK UP TEAM BECAUSE OF OUR METHODS OF HANDLING CYBER MISHAPS.
    🆗"CLEAR CRIMINAL RECORDS"
    🆗"iPhone HACK"
    🆗"BINARY RETRIEVAL" AND LOT MORE BEEN DONE IN SHORT TIMING!

    these are significant EXPERIENCES & RECORDS a good and effectively fully recognized organization must firmly ascertain.

    ◾OUR "AIMS" HERE ◾
    Are:
    1◾to assign a qualified agent of specific rank to particularly any sort of cyber issues you intend dealing with in short and accurate timing.

    2◾ to screen in real hackers (gurus only) in need of job with or without a degree, to speed up the availability of time given for Job contracts given to us.!!

    Thus an online binary decoding exam will be set for those who seeks employment under the teams Establishment.
    write us on:
    ◾Protocolhacks@gmail.com or
    ◾Cybershieldnotch@gmail.com

    COREY ROD,
    SIGNED...!
    Thank you!!!

  • Joey Berkey Says:

    I think its smart how they made it easy to take a screenshot.

  • Joey Berkey Says:

    I find it very easy to set up the hangouts.

  • Joey Berkey Says:

    I find it very interesting that google Is adding more culture and ii think its a good idea.

  • Chris Says:

    Thanks for the tip! Instructions were simple to follow and worked great!

  • Jeffrey Blair Says:

    Alejandro Cuervo Says:
    April 15th, 2016 at 2:26 pm
    Why bother with all this?
    1)Just browse to the website you want
    2)Click the menu button (the one with three horizontal bars to the right of the URL bar)
    3)Click “More tools,” then “Add to shelf”
    This was easiest way get it accomplished.

  • Cristobal Lopez Says:

    Great tutorial, I was able to accomplish the goal I had in less than than 20 minutes.

    Thanks

  • Alejandro Cuervo Says:

    Why bother with all this?
    1)Just browse to the website you want
    2)Click the menu button (the one with three horizontal bars to the right of the URL bar)
    3)Click “More tools,” then “Add to shelf”

    This will put a shortcut in the taskbar and the app tray with the page’s favicon.

  • Jonno Alvarez Says:

    I followed the steps by the book and it all worked beautifully. Thank you very much! I'm definitely pocketing this one.

  • Robert Says:

    This is a realy neat trick. it worked like a dream

  • Smitty Says:

    It's saying it can't load my extension icon? Help?

  • Kris Says:

    What a pain in the backside! I was prepared to follow the tutorial to get something approximately like the "create application shortcuts" function of chrome desktop versions. But as others have reported, the script didn't work for me. And I'll be buggered if I'm going to type it all out. Wasted enough time on this already. I don't really want this stupid chromebook, but have to have it for my work in a school that is going GAFE. What a pain. Give me a good old pc any day. For the chromebook I'll just stick to bookmarks, until Google wake up and give us the same functionality in the chromebook browser that we have on a desktop pc.
    And slightly off topic, but related... what the heck is with that stupid magnifying glass down where the start button would reside on a desktop? If I want to find an app, I have to click that, then click all apps, then click the app I want??? Come on Google, put the app launcher back in the task bar, or the shelf, or whatever the heck it is you've decided to call it. Too many clicks to get to stuff!

  • Tahlia Says:

    I would like to make my maths textbook into a shortcut but the url starts with 'file' not 'http' anything I can do?

  • Tom Says:

    Yeah...I think I'll just keep bookmarking. Unbelievable how needlessly complicated they made this. My Chromebook is great for what it is but this is a huge negative.

  • Richard Says:

    You have got to be kidding! I'm taking my Chromebook back. It's so very fast and cheap and cool, but not supporting and automatically building shortcuts of the user's choosing is soooo far beyond stupid it leaves me speechless. Google idiots! Too much control over MY computer.

  • Justin Says:

    All: I finally got it to work by typing the code out, instead of copy and pasting. I was trying to be lazy so I copy and pasted a million different times, changed the quotes (as suggested in the comments) and nothing was working. I finally bit the bullet, typed it all out--which took my 5 minutes, don't judge on my laziness--and now I have my custom app for Google Cloud Print.

  • Bob Says:

    {
    “name”: “App Name”,
    “description”: “App description (132 characters or less, no HTML)”,
    “version”: “1.0.0”,
    “manifest_version”: 2,
    “icons”: {
    “128”: “icon_128.png”
    },
    “app”: {
    “urls”: [
    “http://mysubdomain.example.com/”
    ],
    “launch”: {
    “web_url”: “http://mysubdomain.example.com/”
    }
    }
    }

  • Chris Says:

    I think I'll just type twitter.com into the omnibar. This is way too much work.

  • LinuxGuy Says:

    I noticed that the " copied from this site to the editpad site needed to be removed and replaced with " as when copied they were a curled " mark and replacing all " fixed my error. worked like a charm.

  • Jayesh Says:

    Well I tried a lot of times but it did not work that darn you. Tell me what mistake I did, here is my code:
    {
    "name": "Twitter",
    "description": "Twitter social networking app",
    "version”: "1.0.0",
    "manifest_version": 2,
    "icons": {
    "128": "icon_128.png"
    },
    "app": {
    "urls": [
    "https://twitter.com/"
    ],
    "launch": {
    "web_url": "http://twitter.com/"
    }
    }
    }

  • MadMax Says:

    In case anyone be curious, I found a manifest.json snippet that actually works:

    {
    "name": "Instructables",
    "description": "App description (132 characters or less, no HTML)",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "manifest_version": 2,
    "icons": {
    "128": "icon_128.png"
    },
    "app": {
    "urls": [
    "http://instructables.com/"
    ],
    "launch": {
    "web_url": "http://instructables.com/"
    }
    }
    }

  • Adrian Fox Says:

    An enormously helpful article though I have just wasted half an hour (again) trying to get this working as you STILL haven't corrected the cut and paste code that was in the original post. It is only by reading the comments below that the mistake is discovered and we can see why it doesn't work.
    Please can we have more articles like this though about customising and adding features to our Chromebooks. The world of .json files is just mumbo jumbo to most of us.
    With Windows we are used to experimenting and playing but with Chromebooks it seems to be only a world for those few in the know.
    A few more guides about how it all hangs together would be very useful. For example, where are the .json files for extensions and apps stored on the Chromebook and are they accessible and open to modification?

  • Marty Says:

    TheDailyBeast.com? Fuck off

  • Larry Says:

    Would it be possible to publish this to chrome web store so, everyone in our domain can install it?

  • Jason Says:

    Here's the correct code:

    {
    "name": "Outlook",
    "description": "Office 365",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "manifest_version": 2,
    "app": {
    "urls": [
    "https://outlook.office365.com""
    ],
    "launch": {
    "web_url": "https://outlook.office365.com"
    }
    },
    "icons": {
    "128": "img/icon_128.png"
    }
    }

  • seth Says:

    wth is wrong with mine?


    {
    "name": "Steam Chat",
    "description": "Steam Community Chat",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "manifest_version": 2,
    "icons": {
    "128″: "icon-128.png"
    },
    "app": {
    "urls": {
    "http://steamcommunity.com/chat/"
    },
    "launch": {
    "web_url": "http://steamcommunity.com/chat/"
    }
    }
    }

  • amihart Says:

    If you're going to be editing/writing code, I would suggest getting Text from the Chrome Web Store. It's an offline desktop app that runs separate from the browser and has a syntax highlighter.

  • webbrowser1 Says:

    Also, It says that the 'manifest_version' key must be present and set to 2 (without quotes). What in the world?

  • webbrowser1 Says:

    Hi. I'm quite new to this, but I wanted to try this project. Since my daughter uses my Chromebook for her Webkinz, I wanted to create a shortcut to it, so it would be easier for her. I tried many times, but couldn't get the darn thing to work!
    Below is the code I used, could you tell me where I went wrong?
    {
    "name": "Webkinz",
    "description": "Webkinz online pet care website",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "mainfest_version": 2,
    "icons":{
    "128": "icon_128.png"
    },
    "app":{
    "urls":[
    "http://www.webkinz.com/"
    ],
    "launch":{
    "web_url": "http://www.webkinz.com/"
    }
    }
    }
    Thanks!

  • John Everitt Says:

    Replaced the quote marks and eliminated the spaces after commas. The combination solved the issue - not sure which fix or if both are required. Thanks to other comments.

  • John Everitt Says:

    Got to the end of "How to Add Custom Shortcuts to Your Chromebook App Launcher". Needed to check "ON" the developer key to see the "load unpacked extension",but it would not accept the "json" extension. The error message read "... The dictionary keys must be quoted." What do I do now?

  • dimo Says:

    Seriously? This complex for something that chrome used to do with a click on my other computer? I could just choose to save web page as an app on the desktop. It's cool you figured out another chromebook hack. But who's going to do this on a regular basis for each site they want to add into the menu?

  • UK School Technician Says:

    Hi Jose, looking at your code, there appears to be a comma missing from the end of "description":"Social Network",

  • jose Says:

    this is what I typed on the editor mentioned on this article. should I try a different one and what do you recommend?

    {
    "name":"Facebook",
    "description":"Social Network"
    "version":"1.0.0",
    "manifest_version":2,
    "icons":{
    "128":"icon_128.png"
    },
    "app":{
    "urls":[
    "https://www.facebook.com/"
    ],
    "launch":{
    "web_url":"https://www.facebook.com/"
    }
    }
    }

  • adam Says:

    Yeah, I had the same issue mentioned above and I'll describe what worked for me.

    1. You can't just copy/paste his provided manifest.json text. You need to retype it yourself. When you copy/paste you don't get the correct characters.

    Otherwise great article. This is nice!.

  • UK School Technician Says:

    Not sure about an issue with the version number because "1.0.0." worked OK for me but I had lots of problems when I copied and pasted for this web site. Firstly it changed the look of the quotes as mentioned by Bruce but it also inserted a space after each colon which I hadn't spotted initially. If anyone wants to paste their code I would be happy to have a look.

  • Bruce Goff Says:

    He has some syntax errors. The version should be "1.0" not "1.0.0". Also, if you are copying from the text of his manifest.json file you will have to erase his "..." and replace them with the quotation marks from you text editor. Well...at least I had to. It may depend on the text editor you are using.

  • help Says:

    im having the same issue

  • help Says:

    yeag im having the same issue?

  • Ben Says:

    I'm having the same problem as Jose
    It says the .json file isnt valid and something about dictionary keys
    can you help???

  • Jose Says:

    For some reason the code doesn't work for me. I keep getting prompted "Manifest is not a valid JSON" as soon as I click to load unpacked extensions. please help me. I have checked on jsonlint.com and it says that something is wrong with the code that I copied and pasted.

  • CAC1031 Says:

    You should mention that the new app folder must either be in Downloads or checked off in Drive for offline access for it to work. It may not be obvious to everybody.

Back to top