Pinning a file shortcut to the Windows 10 taskbar

Pinning a file shortcut to the Windows 10 taskbar

Pinning a file shortcut to the Windows 10 taskbar is not as straightforward as it used to be in earlier Windows versions. At first glance it seems that you can do it by dragging a shortcut down there but what happens is the shortcut (despite what the initial tooltip says) actually points to the program and not the file. So definitely not so easy as it was but it can still be done.

The file you want to pin needs to be in a place where it will not be moved or else the shortcut will cease to work. It doesn’t matter where the file is as long as you don’t move it.

  1. Go to your desktop.
  2. If you do not have icons turned on then: Right click on the desktop and select “View” > “Show desktop icons.”
  3. Right click on the desktop and select “New” > “Shortcut.”
  4. Type “explorer” and then a space in the dialogue box that opens.
  5. Go to the file you wish to pin.
  6. Press and hold “Shift.” Select “Right click” > “Copy as path.”
  7. Go back to the open dialogue box and paste it in.
  8. Click: “Next.”
  9. Name it whatever you want.
  10. Click: “Finish.”

You will now have a shortcut on your desktop to the file you wish to pin. It will have the default Windows Explorer icon but you can change that if you wish.

  1. Right click the shortcut and select “Properties.”
  2. Select the “Shortcut” tab.
  3. Select “Change icon.”
  4. Select a new icon from what is shown or browse to one you want. It needs to be an “ico” file though. If you do choose one of your own rather than a system icon then it too should not be moved once selected.
  5. Click “OK.”
  6. Click “OK.”

You can now drag your shortcut down to the taskbar. This certainly works for Excel files which is why I wanted it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for other file types too. I recommend leaving the desktop shortcut where it is although everything will still work if you delete it.

If you don’t normally have the desktop icons visible then simply right click on the desktop and select “View” and uncheck “Show desktop icons.”

A couple of  notes…

Effectively you are fooling Windows Explorer into thinking your shortcut is a program. When you click on it it will open up your selected file in its parent program. In the case of Excel it means that a second Excel icon appears on the taskbar. This will be the one that gets underlined by Windows 10 .

If you wish to change the icon at any time you can do so but you will need to do it from the desktop shortcut. Right clicking taskbar icons no longer gives you “Properties” as a choice – hence my admonition above to leave it on the desktop. You will also have to unpin the existing shortcut from the taskbar and drag the amended desktop file shortcut down anew as changes to the desktop icon will not be reflected in the existing taskbar shortcut.

Disclosure: Triquetra Design features professional reviews and articles. As such I may receive compensation from the companies whose products I review or feature, or from the companies that sell those products.


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