How to Add Shortcuts to Windows Taskbar

The Windows 10 and 11 taskbar is always visible, giving you quick access to anything you add to it. But how do you create shortcuts to the Windows taskbar?

If you have essential programs, folders, files, and websites that you want to access whenever you want, you should link them to the taskbar. Programs and websites are easier to add, while files and folders are slightly trickier.

Go through the following tutorial to learn how to create shortcuts on Windows 10 taskbar and Windows 11 taskbar.

Pin Shortcut to Taskbar via Start Menu

If you want to create a taskbar shortcut for a program on your computer, the quickest way is to pin it through the Start menu.

To do this, simply open the The start menu and locate the app. In Windows 11, you may need to verify your All Apps list if it is not present among your pinned startup items. Then right click and select After > Pin to taskbar in the context menu.

The shortcut should immediately appear in the taskbar. Repeat for any other programs you want to add.

Pin running programs to taskbar

Another way to create a shortcut to a program is to pin it to the taskbar while it’s running. Simply right click on the icon in the toolbar and select Pin to taskbarand it should stay there even after closing the app.

Pin desktop shortcuts to the taskbar

If the shortcut to a program is already on the desktop, Windows lets you add it to the taskbar with just a few clicks. To do this, right-click an item and select Pin to taskbar.

Pin programs to the taskbar via the Applications folder

Windows 10 and 11 have a special Applications folder that lists all Microsoft Store and non-Store apps on your computer. The folder also lists apps that you won’t typically find in the Start menu, for example, Control Panel and Command Prompt Console.

1. Use the windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run box.

2. Type shell:AppsFolder and select OKAY.

3. Right-click the app you want to pin to the taskbar and select Pin to taskbar.

Pin apps to the taskbar via File Explorer

It is also possible to create taskbar shortcuts through File Explorer for a traditional desktop program after locating its main executable (EXE) file. It’s usually faster to pin apps from the Start menu, but sometimes you’ll come across an app that doesn’t appear there.

  1. Locate the program installation folder. Windows installs applications on the Program files and Program files (x86) default directories, so check those locations first.
  1. Locate the executable file that launches the program when double-clicked.
  2. Right click on the file and select Pin to taskbar. In Windows 11 you need to select Show more options first.

You can also visit the hidden WindowsApps folder and create shortcuts to Microsoft Store apps the same way. However, we recommend that you avoid this because it is difficult to distinguish between folders and files in the directory.

Pin folders and files to the taskbar

Unlike programs, Windows 10 and 11 don’t let you pin files and folders to the taskbar unless you perform a little “hack” on each item you want to add. You have several ways to do this.

Use the shortcut creation wizard

  1. Right-click on a vacant area and select New > Shortcut.
  1. Copy and paste the file or folder path or use the Browse button to add it.
  1. Add the word “Explorer” (without quotes) in front of the file or folder path. Make sure to keep only one spacing between the two.
  1. Assign a name and select Finish.
  1. Right-click the file or folder shortcut and select Pin to taskbar.

Create and edit a shortcut

  1. Open File Explorer and visit the location of the file or folder.
  2. hold it Other and drag and drop the item to the desktop to create a shortcut.
  1. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties.

Point: You can also drag files using the right mouse button. When you post the file to the target location, Windows opens a menu asking if you want to move, copy, or create a shortcut.

  1. Go to Shortcut tongue.
  2. Add the word “Explorer” (without quotes) in front of the file or folder path in the Target field. Make sure to keep only one spacing between the two.
  1. Select Apply > OKAY to save your changes.
  2. Right-click the shortcut and select Pin to taskbar.

To note: Folders pinned to the taskbar display the generic File Explorer icon. To change this, open the shortcut Properties dialog box and use the Change icon button under the Shortcuts tongue. Learn more about customizing icons in Windows 10 and 11.

Pin websites to the taskbar

If you use Microsoft Edge, you can use a built-in option to add websites to the taskbar. If you are using a different browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you must rely on a workaround similar to adding files and folders.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Load the website or app into Edge.
  2. Open the Edge Menu (select three dots in the right corner of the browser toolbar).
  1. Select More tools > Pin to taskbar.

Other browsers

  1. Open the Create Shortcut wizard.
  2. Copy and paste the website URL from your web browser.
  1. Add the word “Explorer” (without quotes) at the beginning of the URL, keeping a single space in between.
  1. Assign a name and select Finish.
  1. Right-click on the website shortcut and select Pin to taskbar.

Pin websites as apps to the taskbar

If you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you can “install” websites as Progressive Web Apps (or PWAs) and then add them to the taskbar without any modifications. PWAs also sport site favicons, making it easier to distinguish between websites.

Google Chrome

  1. Load the website in Chrome.
  2. Open the Chrome menu and select More tools > To create a shortcut.
  1. Check the box next to Open as window and select Create.
  1. Right-click the item and select Pin to taskbar.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Load the website into Edge.
  2. Open the Edge Menu and select apps > Install this site as an application.
  1. Select Install to confirm.
  1. Check the box next to Pin to taskbar and select Allow.

Instant access to apps, files and websites

Now that you know how to add your favorite apps, files, and websites to the Windows taskbar, don’t forget to rearrange them by dragging them. You can also unpin taskbar icons by right-clicking the icon and selecting Unpin from taskbar. Apart from shortcuts, you can also customize the taskbar in Windows 10 and 11 and do so much more.


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Steven L. Nielsen