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Monday, March 3, 2014

Organizing Tips - Shortcuts

Most users are familiar with Shortcuts.  These are icons that may be created to point to a file or program or folder.  They use very little memory and may be placed in any other folder or the desktop.  Often we want to be able to run a program or launch a specific document easily and have often placed a shortcut for this program on the desktop.  And the tiles on the Start screen actually point to shortcuts.

The great thing about shortcuts are we are able to create many shortcuts of a single file or folder and place them in different locations on our computer, to be able to reach the same associated program, file or folder from a multitude of locations.

Normally, shortcuts are created by right-clicking on the file and selecting Create Shortcut. A new icon with appearance like the original with an arrow and the word "- Shortcut" appended to the name will be created in the same folder.

What you may not know is there are additional ways to create a shortcut:
  1. You may right-click on the file and select Send To: Desktop  and the shortcut will be created on the desktop.
  2. You may hold the alt key and click-drag the original file.  A shortcut will be created to wherever you drag.

Adding Files to the Start screen using Shortcuts

If you want to add a program or a folder to the Start screen, all you need to do is right-click on the desired icon and select Pin to Start.  If, however,  you want to add a document or other file, you must first create a shortcut and add that to the Apps Drawer folder described in How to Love Windows 8.1 under Adding Web Shortcuts. Create the Apps Drawer, as described, then:
  1. Create a shortcut of the desired document on the desktop as described in #1 above.
    - You may first wish to rename this without the "- Shortcut" suffix, since the Tile you create will be named the same as the shortcut is named.
  2. Drag this shortcut to the Apps Drawer. Permissions will be requested and should be granted
  3. Go to the Apps View (from Start screen, click the Down-arrow or press Ctrl-Tab)
  4. Find the shortcut you dragged into the Apps Drawer, right-click, and select Pin to Start
  5. Return to the Start screen (Up-arrow or Ctrl-Tab) and the new tile will be at the right. Click-drag where you want it.

Automatically Removing - Shortcut Suffix from Shortcuts

I find I never really want the word "- Shortcut" added to shortcuts. I can always tell it's a shortcut with the arrow on the icon.  There is a simple way to always create shortcuts without this suffix. It requires a small change of a special file on your computer called RegEdit. This can be dangerous to modify, so  I've created a small script which will take care of it for you.  You may:
  1. Download Shortcut.reg  and save on your desktop 
  2. Once downloaded, double-click on the file. It will ask you for permissions... grant them.
  3. Once it is complete, Sign out (Win-X:Sign out), then Sign in to your computer account. 
From now on, the name of your shortcuts will be the same as the original, without "- Shortcut" added.
Now that you know how to easily make Shortcuts, we can talk more about Organizing Your Windows 8.1 Computer further in upcoming posts.