Adding Shortcuts

Understand how to create and utilize Windows XP shortcuts in this free lesson.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Define a shortcut
  • Add a shortcut

What is a shortcut?

A shortcut offers a way of performing a task more quickly, such as starting a program or accessing a document. The shortcut icon has a small arrow in the left corner to help you distinguish it from the actual icon that represents programs and files.

Shortcut icon

The icon above is a desktop shortcut for the Things to Do document that's actually stored in this particular user's My Documents folder.

When you delete a shortcut, the original item still exists on your computer in its original location.

Adding a shortcut

In this lesson, you will learn three ways to create a shortcut. Choose the one that works best for you.

To add a shortcut to the desktop using Windows Explorer or My Computer:

  1. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer.
  2. Double-click a drive or folder.
  3. Click the file, program, or folder for which you want to make a shortcut. The item darkens when you select it.
  4. Choose FileCreate Shortcut.
  5. Resize the window so you can see the desktop.
    Choose Create Shortcut from the File menu
  6. Hover the mouse pointer over the shortcut icon, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the shortcut onto the desktop (in the left pane).
  7. Release the left mouse button, and a shortcut is moved to the desktop.

Alternatively, press Ctrl + Shift while dragging the file to the desktop to create a shortcut.

Right-click to add a shortcut

One method to create a shortcut works in both My Computer and Windows Explorer. This method requires you to right-click.

To add a shortcut by right-clicking:

  1. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer.
  2. Double-click a drive or folder.
  3. Right-click the file, program, or folder for which you want to make a shortcut.
  4. A pop-up menu appears. Choose Create Shortcut.
  5. Resize the window so you can see the desktop.
    Create Shortcut using right-click
  6. Hover the mouse pointer over the shortcut icon, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the shortcut onto the desktop (in the left pane).
  7. Release the left mouse button, and a shortcut is moved to the desktop.

Challenge!

  • Add a shortcut for your Shopping List to your desktop (created in the previous lesson).
  • Open My Documents.
  • When the folder opens, resize the window so you can see the desktop.
  • Create a shortcut for Shopping List on the desktop using one of the three methods described in this lesson.