Some people, including myself, see Chromebook as a great alternative to a heavy and rather expensive Windows laptop. Given the overlap of the target audience of both platforms, it’s easy to see why Chromebook can be a fantastic choice for light work and document editing.
However, the minimalist nature of ChromeOS means some features that seem to be unnecessary are stripped down or even eliminated altogether to maintain a simple operating system environment. One of the victims is the ability to customize the desktop screen with shortcut icons.
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Can I put a shortcut on the Chromebook desktop screen?
Chromebooks do not have the capability to add icons to the desktop because ChromeOS is designed to be a more streamlined and efficient operating system. A minor personalization like that is unfortunately not available on the platform.
Instead, ChromeOS has put all the program icons in the Launcher, located at the screen’s bottom-left corner. Additionally, it’s also possible to pin a shortcut app on the Shelf to make the access always one click away.
These two features allow users to quickly and easily access their apps and files without cluttering the desktop.
Granted, they are not exactly like having a proper icon sticking on the desktop, but they do serve more or less the same goal. In the next sections, you can learn how to use them as alternatives to traditional desktop icons.
How to add a shortcut to ChromeOS Launcher
If you install an app from Google Play Store, the app icon will appear automatically on the Launcher screen. The following guide is for adding a website shortcut to the Launcher menu.
1. Open the Launcher menu in the bottom left corner. Then, open Chrome.
2. Visit the website you want to add as a shortcut. For instance, I want to make a shortcut that will open Wikipedia.
3. Click the three-dot icon on the top right corner of the browser. Hover above More tools and click Create shortcut…
4. Name the shortcut and hit Create.
5. The new shortcut would appear on the Launcher menu.
How to pin a shortcut to ChromeOS Shelf
Do you want to make a shortcut even easier to access? Try pinning it to the ChromeOS Shelf — a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen. Check out the steps below!
1. Open the Launcher menu.
2. Right-click on an icon and select Pin to shelf. I have covered a complete guide on how to right-click on any Chromebook.
3. The icon now has a shortcut on the ChromeOS Shelf.
Although ChromeOS does not have the capability to add icons to the desktop, users can quickly and easily access their apps and files by using the Launcher at the bottom-left corner of the screen or the Shelf for even faster access.
ChromeOS is pretty much still in the rapid development stage, so it could let users creating a shortcut to the desktop someday later. But, given the nature of the platform, I bet this kind of feature may not happen at all. Perhaps in their eyes, Launcher and Shelf should be fine for the vast majority of Chromebook users.