|Learning About Computers and the Internet|
One way to use Windows XP better and more efficiently is to have a quick path to your most common tasks. Here's how to create useful shortcuts.
A discussion of each approach to creating shortcuts is given in the sections below. Examples of useful shortcuts are discussed here.
Drag and drop
The drag and drop method can be used in several ways. Either the left or the right mouse button can be used for drag and drop with somewhat different behavior. I prefer the right-click method and this will be the basis for the rest of the discussion. Dragging with the right-click brings up the context menu shown in the figure. One way to employ drag and drop is to use the menu entry "Copy Here" to make a copy of an existing shortcut in a different location. For example, an entry in the Start-All Programs menu can be dragged to the desktop or to the Quick Launch bar to place a copy of a shortcut in a more readily available spot. This method is probably already familiar to many. Shortcuts can also be made from files or folders by using the menu entry "Create Shortcuts Here". Open the folder containing the object whose shortcut is desired, hold down the right-click, and drag to the desired destination, such as another folder or the desktop.
The right-click “Send To” function
For making shortcuts specifically on the desktop, the Send To function of the right-click can be used (figure on the left). Simply right-click on the desired file or folder and select "Desktop (create shortcut)" from the "Send To" menu.
The right-click “New” function
The most general method for creating shortcuts uses the "New" function of the context menu that appears when a vacant spot within a folder window or on the desktop is right-clicked (figure on the left). Right-click in the folder where the shortcut is to be placed and select the entry "Shortcut" from the menu. The dialog box shown below will open. The location of the target item can be entered or the "Browse" function can be used to locate it.
If the "Browse" button is selected, the dialog shown below will open. Here you can select the file or folder that you wish to create a shortcut for (the target). Once the desired folder or file has been selected, Click the "OK" button.
The Create Shortcut window will reappear, this time with the desired file or folder entered as shown below. In this example, the folder "C:\Library" has been chosen.
Click "Next" and a window where the shortcut can be named appears. After entering a name or accepting the default, click "Finish".
Executable files and switches
Many PC users are not very familiar with the capability of some program
and other executable files to have what are known as "switches".
A switch is some additional code that modifies the behavior of a file when
it is opened. It is added to the file name after a forward slash (or sometimes
a dash) when invoking the file. The typical fornat is:
Switch for shortcut to command-line executable
Another example where a switch is needed is a shortcut to run one of the many command-line executables. In this case, the entry for the shortcut is
Other functions in shortcuts
The "New" function is also the method for making shortcuts using the methods of rundll32.exe (discussed here), control panel applets (discussed here), and Windows Explorer commands (discussed here). It is also possible to set up shortcuts to email addresses and to Internet links.
Icons for shortcuts
When you create a shortcut, Windows will assign an icon from the target program or for some functions a generic icon. If you wish to use an icon of your own choice, use the methods discussed on another page.
Examples of useful shortcuts are discussed on the next page
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