Work with shortcuts

Shortcuts are links to programs, documents, files, or websites that you can add to your desktop or Start menu. Rather than searching through folders or the Internet every time you want to open a particular file or website, simply create a shortcut.

To add a shortcut to your desktop

If you use your desktop frequently, you should consider adding shortcuts to your favorite files to your desktop.

  1. Browse your My Documents folder and subfolders to find the file you want to create a shortcut for.

  2. Right-click the file you want to link to from your desktop, click Send To, and then click Desktop.

    Your file stays in the same place, but you now have a shortcut to that file on your desktop. Notice that the icon on your desktop has an arrow in the lower-left corner. This arrow indicates that you are clicking a shortcut and not the actual file.

To add a shortcut to your Start menu

In addition to being able to add shortcuts to your desktop, you can also add shortcuts on your Start menu. Shortcuts to your favorite files can appear alongside your programs.

  1. Browse your My Documents folder and subfolders to find the file you want to create a shortcut for.

  2. Drag the file to the Start button and hold it for about one second.

  3. When the Start menu opens, drag the file to the location where you want to add it.

  4. Drop the file where you want the shortcut, and a shortcut icon appears.

To add a shortcut to a website

In addition to linking to files on your own computer, you can create shortcuts to your favorite websites. Double-click the shortcut, and the website will open in your browser.

  1. Open the website in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  2. Drag the Internet Explorer icon in the Address bar (next to the URL) to your desktop or to the Start menu.

Change the icons in your shortcuts

Shortcuts include a picture called an icon, which can help you find a program or file faster. When you change your Windows theme, the new theme might include a set of custom icons that complement the look of the new desktop. For example, a jungle theme might change your My Computer icon to a giraffe. If you want, you can change one or more icons to something more interesting to you.

The method for changing an icon depends on the icon type. You can:

  • Change a system icon.

  • Change any other icon on your computer.

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To change system icons

  1. Right-click your desktop, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Desktop tab, and then click Customize Desktop.

  3. On the General tab, click the icon you want to change, and then click Change Icon.

  4. Click the Browse button, and select the folder to which you saved your icons.

  5. Click the View Menu button, and then click Thumbnails.

  6. Click the icon you want to use, and then click Open.

  7. Click OK.

  8. When you are finished changing your icons, click OK twice.

To change icons other than system icons

  1. Find icons that suit your sense of style.

  2. Download the icons and save them to your computer.

  3. Right-click the shortcut for which you want to change the icon, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Shortcut tab in the Internet Explorer Properties dialog box, click Change Icon.

  5. Click the Browse button, and select the folder to which you saved your icons.

  6. Click the View Menu button, and then click Thumbnails.

  7. Click the icon you want to use, and then click Open.

  8. Click OK.

  9. In the Internet Explorer Properties dialog box, click OK again.