How do I create desktop shortcuts in Windows 8?

Windows 8 offers easy options to place a tile on the Start screen, “Pin to Start”, and to put an icon on the desktop taskbar, “Pin to taskbar”, but the method to create a desktop shortcut is not obvious at all. Here is how you can quickly put a shortcut icon on your Windows 8 desktop for any installed desktop program. This does not work for the Windows 8 style apps that only run in the non-desktop environment.


Press the Windows logo key to open the Start screen. Right-click on an empty space and click All apps in the bar at the bottom.

Find the program – you may have to scroll – and right-click its tile.

Now you get the options on the bottom for a number of tasks. Click Open file location (see the red arrows in the illustration). shortcuts-07This switches you to the desktop and opens File Explorer. The shortcut location for the program will already be selected. Right-click on the program name, move the pointer down to Send to then horizontally over to the sub-menu and down to Desktop (create shortcut). Click that.

That’s it. You will now have a desktop shortcut for that program on the desktop. You can position it as you like. The shortcut works as expected, double-click it to open the program.



© 2012 Ludwig Keck