I’m late to the Mac platform, having recently changed over from Windows. One thing I really miss is the ability to create shortcuts to web pages on my desktop. Is that something you can do in Chrome for Mac?
In the early days of the web, it was all about creating desktop shortcuts for favorite websites. Then bookmarks became a thing and browser developers spent a lot of time designing different ways that you could manage dozens, hundreds or even thousands of website shortcuts. Enter shortcut toolbars, shortcut menus, shortcut submenus, etc. It all works pretty well unless you actually want to have a Website shortcut on your desktop. On the Window side it’s probably something that would get lost in all the other shortcuts on your desktop, while on the Mac side no one seems to ever put any shortcuts at all on their desktop! 🙂
Neither approach is correct, of course, it’s just a matter of preferences. But what most MacOS X users don’t realize is that there is indeed a slick way that you can add Desktop shortcuts for favorite Web sites or Web pages from Google Chrome. Since they’re just files, you can also tuck them into folders along with groupings of other files for a specific project, client or report too. Handy, actually.
Google doesn’t seem to be able to decide whether this is an important feature for the Mac, however, because it actually vanished for a while from Chrome and then resurfaced just recently. It’s kind of awkward to find the first time, but here’s the scoop…
Yes, I’m a member of this group and participate in lots of cinematic discussions about classic movies, modern releases, the industry, etc. Quite the fascinating topic and given that I’m a film critic no surprise at all, right?
But let’s say that I want to actually create an icon on my Desktop that would let me click and jump right back here at any time (or share the shortcut with others so they can jump here too). That isn’t done by dragging the site’s favicon picture off the address bar (the old school approach from years ago), but by finding the buried “Create Shortcut…” option off the “More Tools” menu:
Notice that to get to this submenu I started out at the main Chrome menu, accessed by clicking on the “•••” button on the top right of the browser.
Here’s what the Create Shortcut window looks like:
Reddit offers a pretty useless default name so I’ll definitely replace it with a descriptive one that will help me understand where the shortcut icon actually leads. More interesting is that humble little “Open as window” feature. This is a feature that the Chrome development team seemingly can’t decide if it’s useful or not: Choose this feature and when you double-click on the shortcut, it will open in a version of Chrome that has no controls, no navigational elements, just the page and the narrowest of borders. It’s like a “kiosk” version of the page and is most interesting. It would be ideal for demos, trade show exhibits, freestanding survey systems, etc. But why is it so unheralded? There’s not even an explanation offered!
If you’re curious, create two shortcuts, one with “open as window” and the other without, then compare them when you do open ’em up from your Desktop.
I choose a regular shortcut and here’s what’s created in the “Chrome Apps” Folder on my Mac:
Easy enough to drag and drop this onto my proper Desktop or anywhere else, and now I have a handy Web page shortcut courtesy of Google Chrome. A bit Byzantine but once you know where the create shortcut menu item is hidden, it’s pretty easy to accomplish!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about the Mac since Steve Jobs worked at Apple the first time, and have a substantial archive of Mac help tutorials. Please check it all out while you’re here!