Desktop Shortcuts

Sample of Desktop Shortcuts

Ever noticed when you install a program an icon appears on your desktop? These icons are desktop shortcuts, which when clicked, open the program associated with it.

You can create your own desktop shortcuts also.

In this article we will cover:

Uses for Desktop Shortcuts

A desktop shortcut can be used to:

  • Save time getting to a specific folder on your computer.
  • Be a direct link to your favourite website.
  • A link to a specific program, folder or file on a network.
  • Create an email to person you send emails to regularly.
  • A link to a specific program on your computer or on the network you are
    connected to.

Those are a few ideas what a desktop shortcut can be used for.

Parts of a Desktop Shortcut

There are different parts to a desktop shortcut:

  1. The icon

    The shortcut icon is the picture you see on the desktop. A program specific icon will be specific to the program it is associated with. For example, the desktop icon for Outlook Express looks like an envelope. Internet Explorer’s desktop icon is an e.

    Windows also places icons on the desktop:

    • My Documents looks like a folder with papers going into it.

      This is the desktop shortcut to your My Documents folder on the computer.

    • My Computer is an icon with a monitor and computer tower.

      When double clicked you will see a folder icon for your shared documents, your documents, the hard drives on the machine and hooked up to the machine, the devices attached to the machine which contain or can be used for removable storage and any printers, scanners or cameras attached to the machine.

    • The My Networks icon is a computer monitor with a globe tucked in behind it.

      When the My Networks icon is double clicked, you will see all the computers within your home or office network you have access to. You could possibly also have network connections to the computers at work, if you are working from home or on your laptop.

      If you create your own custom desktop shortcuts,

      • the icon will appear as a folder when associated with a folder
      • the program icon that opens the file if it is a shortcut to a specific document
      • a browser icon with the web page title underneath if a shortcut to a web page
    • The shortcut arrow.

      The desktop shortcut may or may not have an arrow in the bottom left of the desktop icon.

    • The desktop shortcut name.

      Underneath the desktop icon is the name of the program, file or folder the shortcut will open.

    • The path the shortcut uses to access the program, file or folder the shortcut is associated with.

      To see the path of the desktop shortcut, right click the icon and select Properties from the list that appears.

Why Use Desktop Shortcuts?

Desktop shortcuts are quite useful. They:

  • Save time when you use a program, folder or file a lot.
  • Saves you remembering where on the computer, network or net a file is located. You can use the shortcut, instead of searching your computer for the item you wish to open.

The Downside of Desktop Shortcuts

The downside of using desktop shortcuts is that people tend to add too many to the desktop, creating desktop clutter.

To combat desktop clutter, you can:

  1. Arrange the desktop shortcuts into groups manually.

    Group the desktop shortcuts which are related together in a group on the desktop.

  2. Delete the shortcuts you no longer need (or don’t really need).

    When a shortcut is to a specific project file or folder, once the project is complete the shortcut can be deleted.

    Desktop shortcuts to programs on the computer you do not use often can be deleted also.

    The program is still accessible from the Programs list under your Start menu.

Desktop shortcuts are great little helpers when using your computer. Just be careful you don’t end up suffering from desktop clutter.

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2 Responses to “ Desktop Shortcuts ”

  1. carrie jablonski says:

    how do i clear the whole desktop at once of items>

    • Carrie,
      If you want to not show any icons on the desktop,
      1. Right click the desktop
      2. Select View from the menu that appears
      3. Click the checkmark in front of Show desktop icons

      This will hide all the icons. It doesn’t delete them.

      To undo this, just repeat the above only this time click the blank spot in front of Show desktop icons.

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