How to Make Desktop Shortcuts in Windows 10

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If you're switching from a Mac to a PC, one of the primary difference you'll come across is how you add shortcuts to programs to your desktop. On the Mac, you just dragged a program's icon from the Applications folder to the Desktop, and voila! a shortcut was made! On the PC, there are two kinds of programs (Desktop apps and Modern apps) and there's no single visible folder that holds all of your apps, so things are a little more complicated.

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Luckily, we've put together instructions for how to make desktop shortcuts for both Modern apps (a convention that started in Windows 8 and includes Microsoft Edge, Mail and other programs) and Desktop apps (which you download yourself, like Chrome). The way to tell if an app is Modern or Desktop is if "Show File Location" appears as an option when you right-click on it in the Start menu.

MORE: These Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts Will Save You Clicks

Method 1: Desktop Apps Only

1. Select the Windows button to open the Start menu.

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2. Select All apps.

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3. Right-click on the app you want to create a desktop shortcut for.

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4. Select More.
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5. Select Open file location. If this option does not appear, this app is a Modern app, so you'll want to use the second set of instructions.

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6. Right-click on the app's icon.

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7. Select Create shortcut.

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8. Select Yes.

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You've got a desktop shortcut for your Desktop program!

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Method 2: Modern or Desktop Apps

1. Tap on the Windows icon to open the start menu.

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2. Type "Command Prompt" into the the Cortana box.

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3. Select Command Prompt from the results.

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4. Type "explorer shell:AppsFolder" without the quotation marks and press Enter.

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5. Right-click an app.

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6. Select Create shortcut.

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7. Select Yes.

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Your app has a desktop shortcut!

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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
  • Brian Says:

    Even as an IT Pro of many years I find this whole change in shortcuts to be ridiculous! I work with both PCs and Macs and both OSs use local desktop apps as well web apps and creating a shortcut has never been so difficult and unintuitive. Regardless of the type of app, dragging it to the desktop or right clicking and selecting create shortcut is all you should need. It makes no difference what kind of app it is, all of the needed info about the app is tied to the icon your are clicking. To take a feature that has been in Windows for decades that even our grandparents know how to do and change it so that a tutorial is required to achieve it is just asinine.

  • George Spelvin Says:

    You can skip the CMD altogether by just pasting "explorer shell:AppsFolder" into the Run box.

  • Lucas Says:

    Great tip! (2nd one). Don't understand why Windows makes it so difficult though.

  • Lorraine Rude Says:

    What do i go under to add an icon to face book and also e-mail so its on the front of my screen on my lap top i have tryed every thing and can not get the icons on its alap top HP 10 could you give me the instructions step by step so i can put them on TY Lorraine

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