Create a desktop icon with attitude
Want to create a desktop icon on steroids ? The Windows XP Desktop offers some powerful customization possibilities that can highly automate your everyday tasks.
Here is a nice tip to create a desktop icon that writes an entire email message with one single click.
Note : This Windows XP tips and tricks technique has its limitations because the command line length cannot be longer than 255 characters, but nevertheless it can be a huge time-saver.
- Right-click an empty space on your desktop
- Select the option "new" and then "shortcut"
- In the "Create Shortcut" dialog, type mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Todays_Report
Of course you should change the email address and the subject into something more useful. Please note, however that the "create new shortcut wizard" is not smart enough to handle spaces. This is no problem, because you can edit the properties after the shortcut is created and then it's ok to use spaces. We'll get to that in a minute, but let's finish this step first :
- Click next
- Enter a descriptive name for the shortcut
- Click finish
The new shortcut will show up on your desktop. Double-click it to try. Windows fires up your email program with the addressee and subject already filled in. Of course you can complete the message before you hit "send".
Automatic email with message body pre-written ?
It's easy to create a desktop icon that pre-writes some generic text in the message body.
- Right-click the icon you created in the previous step
- Select properties
- In the input field enter mailto:email@example.com?subject=Todays Reportfirstname.lastname@example.org&body=Hi Mike, here is today's report. (without the quotes and it's ok to use spaces this time)
This is a powerful technique to create pre-written email message icons. You can create complete pre-written email messages with one single click.
Meaning of the special characters in the shortcut command line :
- ; is used to separate multiple email addresses
- ? is used to separate the email address field from other fields like "cc" and "subject"
- & marks the end of a field and the beginning of a new field
Create a desktop icon to open multiple documents with a single click
Maybe you have several documents that you always use together. It can be very convenient to pop them up with one single click. Here's how to create a desktop icon for that :
- Minimize all running programs so that your desktop is visible
- Click the start button
- In "all programs", navigate to the program of your choice (Let's say Word), right-click it and drag it to your desktop
- Select "copy here"
Word's shortcut is now on your desktop. Time to add your documents to your desktop :
- In Explorer, navigate to the documents that you want to open together
- Right-click the first document that you want to add and select send to -> desktop (shortcut)
- Repeat for every document you want to add
Ok, now that you have the necessary icons on your desktop :
- Step 1 : Right-click Word's icon and select properties. Leave this window open as you continue with the next step
- Step 2: right-click the icon of one of the documents that you want to open in group and select properties
- Step 3: The content of the "target" field is already selected in the properties dialog, all you need to do now is press Ctrl+C to copy the content to the clipboard
- Step 4: Click cancel and go back to the properties dialog for Word
- Step 5: In this dialog, click somewhere in the "target" field, hit the "end" button on your keyboard and then hit the space bar
- Step 6: Now press Ctrl+V to paste the document name behind the program
- Step 7: Repeat steps 2 through 6 for every document that you want to add
- Step 8: Windows always puts the complete path to the documents in the target field. If you notice that the total length for all the document paths is too much to fit in the Word "target" field, you can put the path in the "start in" field and leave it out from the "target" field.
- Step 9: When you are ready, click ok
- Step 10: Double-click the Word shortcut on your desktop to see if it works.
Return from this create a desktop icon tip to the Windows XP tips page.