How to create a Mac desktop shortcut. Creating a Mac desktop shortcut is the same as making an alias on a Mac. Read through the steps below to create macOS keyboard shortcuts: Use Finder to locate the file that you wish to make a desktop shortcut of. Click the file or folder. On macOS and iOS, it enables users to quickly find and open apps, files, documents, and more. Here is the keyboard shortcut to access Spotlight. One of my favorite keyboard shortcut in Mac. When you download an app on Android or Windows, you get an option, or it automatically creates a shortcut on the home screen or the desktop. On Mac too creating a folder or app shortcut is extremely easy. It hardly requires four clicks. We first make an alias and then move it to the desired location.
The Mac OS X Lion Finder helps you access and organize most of the important Mac OS X functions while you work. Use Finder keyboard shortcuts to display windows, copy and move files, and launch applications. These keyboard shortcuts help you get things done more efficiently. Key Function Command+A Selects all items in the active.
You might sometimes lose track of the files you've downloaded with your web browser. The tips on this page help you keep track of your downloads, and find the downloaded files on your computer.
Press Ctrl+J to view browser downloads
First, try pressing Ctrl+J (or Command+Option+L on a Mac). On many browsers, this shortcut opens your Downloads interface. You can see downloads that have completed, and any downloads that are still in progress. If you double-click a file in the list, it opens or runs. You can also click a button to open the folder on your computer where the file was downloaded.
In the example pictured here, a downloaded file is shown in the Firefox downloads window (called the 'Library').
For additional information about finding downloaded files in your operating system, continue reading the sections below.
View downloads on Microsoft Windows
Using your web browser
The Internet browser you use when downloading a file can determine where the file is saved. Most browsers save a file to a Downloads folder in your User profile folder on your computer.Tip
The fastest way to view your recent downloads in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, is to press Ctrl+J on your keyboard. After the shortcut key combination is pressed, a downloads tab or window (shown below) appears.Tip
In the Internet browser options or settings, you can find where your download files are saved. You can then change that download location or leave it alone.
Using the Start menu
To access your downloads outside the browser, press the Windows key, type Downloads, and then press Enter.
In some cases, when you download a file, you may be presented with a pop-up dialog box asking if you want to Save the file or Run the file. If you select the Save option you can specify where to save the file including the desktop, Documents folder, or any other location.
In an Explorer window
You can also find your Downloads folder in any File Explorer window.Open a new explorer window by pressing Windows key+E.
Or, as pictured below, you can click the File Explorer icon on your Taskbar.
In your File Explorer window, you can navigate to your Downloads folder using the shortcut in the left pane or by clicking on Downloads under other headings such as Frequent Folders.
Keyboard Shortcut Open FolderBonus Tip
New Folder Shortcut
Create a shortcut to your downloads folder to quickly get access to it from the desktop. See: How to create a Windows shortcut.
View downloads on an Apple Mac
From the Finder, you can open the Downloads folder by first clicking File → New Finder Window, or pressing the Command+N. Then, click Downloads in the left pane.
You can also access your downloads using the link on the Dock. In the lower right side of the dock, click Downloads. Your most recent downloads will spring out of the dock.
Click on any icon to open that file.
View downloads on an Android phone and tablet
Android phones and tablets include an app called Files or My Files, depending on the brand. The app displays all files on the device, including those downloaded, listed in chronological order.
The Files or My Files app is found in the app drawer. Open the app and tap the Downloads option to view downloaded files on your phone or tablet.
If you don't like the default file manager app, another option is to download and install the Files by Google app, available in the Google Play store. The app helps you organize all files on your Android phone and tablet, and gives you easy access to downloaded files. It also includes features for clearing app cache and deleting junk files, which helps to regain storage space on the device.
View downloads on an iPad and iPhone
On the iPad and iPhone, downloaded files are not saved or stored in a single location. Instead, downloaded files are associated and accessible through compatible apps.
For example, if a picture is downloaded, it's found through the Photos app. If a PDF file is downloaded, it can be viewed through Safari or a PDF app. If a song is downloaded, it is available to listen to through the Music app. To find a downloaded file on your iPad or iPhone, open the compatible app and use it to view the file.
Another option is to install a file manager app on your iPad or iPhone, such as the File Manager & Browser app. Using a file manager app, you can organize all files on the device, making it easier to find them. If your iPad or iPhone has iOS 11 or later running on it, you can install the Files app to organize and manage files. The Files app also allows for syncing of files with the iCloud Drive and third-party applications, like Box and Dropbox.
- See the download definition for further information and related links to this term.
When you download an app on Android or Windows, you get an option, or it automatically creates a shortcut on the home screen or the desktop. On Mac too creating a folder or app shortcut is extremely easy. It hardly requires four clicks. We first make an alias and then move it to the desired location.
You can add shortcuts for folders and apps to the desktop or Dock of your Mac. The first method below is the one I prefer. The second method is also quick, but it at times copies the folder instead of making the shortcut. Anyways, here are two easy ways to create desktop shortcuts on Mac running macOS Big Sur or Catalina.
How to Create Desktop Shortcuts on Mac
Step #1. Decide which folder’s or app’s desktop shortcut you want to create. Find where the folder is located. If you cannot find it, see the end for instructions.
Step #2.Right-click on the folder or app name and click on Make Alias.
Step #3. You will see that a shortcut is immediately created for that folder or app. Press enter key. It has the word alias at the end of the name.
Step #4. Drag this shortcut to your desktop or Dock. You may also copy the shortcut and paste it on the desktop.
This is it!
You have successfully created the desktop shortcut for a folder or app. Now you may quickly use this to open that folder, or launch the app. You may repeat this with as many folders and apps you like.
If you wish, you may select the shortcut, press the enter key, and rename it to remove the word ‘alias.’
Finally, if you wish to see the original folder, right-click on the shortcut icon and click on Show Original.
Note 1: Even if you move the original folder to some other location, the shortcut you created still works. Beautiful! Isn’t it.
Note 2: You may use this method to create shortcuts even for files like image, document, zip, music, movie, etc.
Not able to Find the Folder Location?
Finding applications is clear. You click on Finder → Applications, and there you have all your applications. Knowing the location of the Folders you create is also straightforward.
But for some folders, especially system folders like Downloads, Documents, etc. it may be a bit tough to know the path. Here are some ways to know it.
#1. From Sidebar: Launch Finder, place your pointer on the folder name in left Sidebar, and then right-click. Finally, click Show in Enclosing Folder. Now follow the above steps.
#2. Using Path Bar: Be inside Finder and click on View from the menu bar. Now click Show Path Bar. A tab will be added to the bottom of the Finder. It has the location/path for the folder you click or select.
#3. Use Spotlight Search: Launch Spotlight Search by clicking the search icon in menu bar or press Command (⌘) + Space Bar. Now type the folder name and then scroll to the bottom of the search result and click on Show all in Finder… Click on the folder and follow the above steps to make its shortcut.
#4. Use Siri: I do not like Siri on Mac, notably older Macs. Anyways, you may ask Siri on Mac to ‘Show Download Folder’ (or any folder) and then go to the bottom of the result and click on Show all results in Finder… Now you may follow the above steps. Please note that this does not always work.
Create Desktop Shortcuts on Mac Using Drag and Drop
The above method is swift and simple. It is the one I prefer. However, there is an additional way to create folder and app shortcuts on Mac.
Step #1. Be at the location of the folder or app you want to create the shortcut of.
Step #2. Press and hold Option (⌥) + Command (⌘) key together. Do not leave the hold. Now click on the folder or app and drag it to the desktop.
Note: When you use this method, there are chances that you may unwillingly and unknowingly copy or move the folder instead of making its shortcut. Don’t worry. Press Command (⌘) + Z to undo and try again, or use the first method.
Add Folder Shortcuts to Dock on Mac
I recently wrote a post where I explained how to add website shortcuts to Dock on Mac. It is an interesting article. Similarly, you may add shortcuts to your Dock too.
Follow any of the above methods and make the shortcut of the folder or app (you may directly add an app to Dock, but anyway). Now drag that shortcut from Desktop to the rightmost part of Dock (Second left to the Trash icon).
These were two easy ways to create shortcut icons on Mac. There is a third method that I know of, which requires Terminal and some command lines. However, it is tricky and beyond the simplicity of the average user. Also, if you change the folder location, the shortcut stops working. So I did not mention this method.
Secondly, on Macs running OS versions before Catalina, you may also click on a Folder or App and then press together Command (⌘) + L. It will instantly make the alias. It works on my old MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra, but on a different MacBook Pro running the latest version of macOS Catalina, this quick method does not seem to work.
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What are your thoughts regarding shortcuts on Mac? Have you used it on Windows? How was the experience there? Share your opinion in the comment section below. January .
Suraj is a digital marketing expert on the iGB's team. He contributes to the social media section along with tips and tricks for iPhone, Apple Watch. Apart from blogging, he likes to work out as much as he can in his gym and love to listening to retro music.
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