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How to Create Shortcuts for Files/Folders/Apps/Websites on Mac Desktop

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

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Summary: You may want to create shortcuts on your Mac desktop to access the wanted item quickly. This post provides detailed steps to create desktop shortcuts on Mac for files, folders, Apps, and websites.

create desktop shortcuts on mac

It is time-wasting to find a wanted item by opening directories one by one in Finder. For the frequently used files, folders, apps, and websites, you can make shortcuts for them on your Mac desktop, in this way, you can quickly access them on the desktop.

Keep reading to learn how to create desktop shortcuts on Mac:

Options to create shortcuts on Mac desktopApplicable items
Add shortcuts to right-click menu with iBoysoft Magicmenu Files, folders, apps, websites, drives.
Create desktop shortcuts with the Make Alias optionFiles, folders, apps.
Create desktop shortcuts using keyboard shortcutsFiles, folders, apps.
Create desktop shortcuts by dragging-droppingApps, websites.
Add desktop shortcuts via Finder settingsDrives.


An all-in-one solution: iBoysoft MagicMenu

If you want to quickly access the wanted items such as files, folders, apps, and websites on your Mac desktop, you can try the third-party right-click enhancer iBoysoft MagicMenu. With its Quick Access feature, you can add all the desired items to your Finder context menu to quickly access them there. It also tidies your Mac desktop with all the shortcuts contained in a menu. 

Steps to create desktop shortcuts on Mac with iBoysoft MagicMenu:

  1. Download and install iBoysoft MagicMenu on your device.
  2. Right-click the desktop and you will see the preinstalled Quick Access feature on the drop-down menu.
  3. Hover the cursor on Quick Acess to display the secondary-level menu. It contains some common folders and websites for you to access.quick access
  4. If you want to add new items to Quick Access: click the iBoysoft MagicMenu icon on the top toolbar and choose Open Main UI.
  5. Choose Quick Access on the left sidebar.
  6. Click the + button under the list on the right pane.add item to quick access
  7. Click the file icon and browse on your Mac to find the target file, folder, app, or hard drive, or copy the URL there.
  8. Enter a name for the added shortcuts.
  9. Click the Import button.
  10. Then you can right-click the desktop and access the added item from Quick Access. 

What's more, this versatile tool adds many others function to your Finder context menu, it enables you to create a new file, move and copy files quickly, uninstall unwanted applications, compress files, find duplicate files, convert images, etc. 

Download and try the powerful iBoysoft MagicMenu now!

Share this powerful right-click tool with more people!


How to create desktop shortcuts for files and folders on Mac

Making desktop shortcuts can save you from digging into the depths of your folders on Mac. After you create shortcuts for the desired files/folders, you can directly access them on the desktop without locating them in Finder each time. Here's how:

Method 1. Use the right-click option 'Make Alias' 

Apple makes it easy to create shortcuts for a selected file/folder from the right-click context menu's option "Make Alias." When you create an alias for an item, the original item doesn't move. Clicking the alias will open the original item. If you move/rename the original item, the link between it and the alias remains, which is different from moving and copying files on Mac.

  1. Open Finder and search for the file/folder you want to create a desktop shortcut for it.
  2. Right-click the selected file/folder and the context menu appears.
  3. Choose the Make Alias option and it will create the alias in the same location, with the same name and icon, but a ".alias" suffix.
  4. Drag and drop the alias to your desktop.

make alias

Method 2. Drag-drop while holding Command-Option 

There is a quicker way to create desktop shortcuts on Mac for files/folders. That is to use keyboard shortcuts. Similarly, you should locate the original item in Finder, then press and hold Command and Option, and drag the item directly to your desktop.

How to create desktop shortcuts for applications on Mac

Perhaps, you want to create desktop shortcuts for frequently-used apps on Mac, you can also make it with the two methods above applied to files and folders by making alia or using the keyboard shortcuts.

Besides, there is an exclusive way for apps to create desktop shortcuts on Mac, you just need to straightforwardly drag the app from Finder/Applications to the desktop. However, if you directly drag files/folders to the desktop, it will move the files on Mac, changing the location, instead of creating shortcuts.

create desktop shortcuts for apps

How to create desktop shortcuts for websites on Mac

In addition to files, folders, and applications, you may also want an easy and quick way to access your favorite websites, indeed, you can add website shortcuts to your Mac desktop. Follow the steps below to make it:

  1. Open the website you want to build a shortcut for.
  2. Highlight the whole URL in the address bar.
  3. Drag and drop the URL from the address bar to the desktop on the Mac. 

create desktop shortcuts for websites

Help others to create desktop shortcuts on Mac!


Fixed! can't create desktop shortcuts for items in Finder's sidebar

Finder is the built-in file management tool on macOS. The items in Finder's sidebar are already shortcuts to your Home folders on Mac. Some Mac users still want to access these items quickly on the desktop instead of opening Finder. 

But you may find that you can't create desktop shortcuts for items in Finder's sidebar: no Make Alias option when right-clicking the items in Finder's sidebar, the keyboard shortcuts not working, and dragging-dropping just delete the item from the sidebar. There are some workarounds:

Show hard drive on Mac desktop via Finder settings

If you want to access the internal/external hard drive on the Mac desktop, you can do it by changing Finder settings, here's how:

  1. Open Finder, click Finder on the top menu and choose Settings.
  2. Choose the General tab.
  3. Under "Show these items on the desktop," tick hard drive and external hard drive.

show drive on desktop

Add Finder sidebar items to the context menu with iBoysoft MagicMenu

Similarly, you can edit the "Show these items in the sidebar" section from Finder > Settings > Sidebar to manage the sidebar items. And iBoysoft MagicMenu's Quick Access can help to add the items located there to the right-click menu. 

By default, it allows you to access the Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Movies, Applications, and Home folders, in addition, you can customize it and add items such as iCloud Drive, Shared folders, hard drive, etc to the context menu. 

Let more people know how to add Finder's sidebar items to the right-click menu.