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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Shortcut Icons

A shortcut is a link to a file, folder, disk, or program (see Figure 7-14). You might think of it as a duplicate of the thing’s icon—but not a duplicate of the thing itself. (A shortcut occupies almost no disk space.) When you double-click the shortcut icon, the original folder, disk, program, or document opens. You can also set up a keystroke for a shortcut icon so you can open any program or document just by pressing a certain key combination.

Shortcuts provide quick access to the items you use most often. And because you can make as many shortcuts of a file as you want, and put them anywhere on your PC, you can, in effect, keep an important program or document in more than one folder. Just create a shortcut to leave on the desktop in plain sight, or drag its icon onto the Links toolbar. In fact, every link in the top part of your Navigation pane is a shortcut.

Tip

Don’t confuse the term shortcut, which refers to one of these duplicate-icon pointers, with shortcut menu, the context-sensitive menu that appears when you right-click almost anything in Windows. The shortcut menu has nothing to do with the shortcut icons feature; maybe that’s why it’s sometimes called the context menu.

Among other things, shortcuts are great for getting to Web sites and folders elsewhere on your network, because you’re spared having to type out their addresses or burrowing through network windows.

Creating and Deleting Shortcuts

To create a shortcut, use any of these tricks:

  • Right-click an ...

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