Windows 10 Tip: Create Shortcuts for Universal Apps

Posted on August 16, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0

Windows 10 Tip: Create Shortcuts for Universal Apps

While Windows 10 makes it easy to pin shortcuts to universal apps to Start and the taskbar, there’s no obvious way to create shortcuts for these apps on the desktop, or elsewhere in the file system. Here’s how you can do so.

Note: Thanks to Joe M. for this tip. This was news to me. –Paul

As you become more familiar with Windows 10, you will likely appreciate how easy it is to access the universal apps and desktop applications you use every day … assuming you do so from either Start or the taskbar. But one thing Windows 10 doesn’t provide is a way to create a shortcut to these apps so you can launch them from the desktop or elsewhere.

Or, at least an obvious way.

But as it turns out, all of the applications installed on your PC—including the universal apps that come with Windows 10 or are downloaded from Windows Store—are accessible from a hidden shell view called Applications. And once you open this view in File Explorer, you can create shortcuts for any of them.

So open the Run dialog (WINKEY + R), type shell:AppsFolder and then click OK to view this folder.


Find an app you wish to create a shortcut for, right-click (or tap and hold on) it, and choose Create shortcut from the pop-up menu that appears.


You’ll be prompted that the shortcut cannot be placed here, and Windows will recommend placing it on the desktop instead. Click Yes. A shortcut with the name App-Name – Shortcut (like Microsoft Edge – Shortcut) will appear on the desktop. You can leave this as-is, or rename it (I usually remove the – Shortcut bit). And you can of course move the shortcut to any folder as needed.

Now, just repeat for all the app shortcuts you need.

UPDATE: As a number of readers have noted, you can also find apps in the Start menu and drag them to the desktop directly from there. 🙂 Nice. –Paul

Thanks again to Joe M. for this tip.