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How to pin applications and files to your Windows taskbar to make them easily accessible

  • You can pin applications and files to the Windows taskbar to allow you to access them quickly and easily. 
  • Pinning an application takes a few quick clicks while pinning a file is a more involved process.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you use specific applications or documents frequently, you want them to be easily accessible on your desktop. Windows 10’s programming allows you to pin applications and documents to the taskbar, allowing you to click on them instantly. Here’s how to take advantage of this useful feature.

How to pin applications to the Windows taskbar

Pinning an application to the Windows taskbar only takes a few clicks, and you can do it directly from the Start menu.

1. Click the Start button.

2. Locate the application you want to pin to the taskbar and right-click on it.

3. In the menu that appears, hover your cursor over “More.”

4. Click on “Pin to taskbar.”

You can pin an application to the Windows taskbar by right-clicking on it.
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How to pin files to the Windows taskbar

You can pin files to the Windows taskbar as well. However, it takes several more steps than pinning an application because you need to manipulate Windows’ programming slightly.

1. Open the File Explorer (the window that allows you to view where your files are saved.) Click on the “View” tab, and then click “File name extensions” so that a check mark appears in the box next to it.

When file name extensions are visible, they will appear at the end of the file names.
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2. Right-click on the document you want to pin to the taskbar. In the menu that appears, click “Rename.”

Right-click on the document and select “Rename” to change its name.
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3. Change the .doc or .docx file extension in your documents name to .exe and press enter. A small window will appear warning you about changing the file extension; click “Yes” to proceed.

Changing a file’s extension can change the file type itself.
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4. Right-click on the document, now a .exe file, and click “Pin to taskbar.”

After changing the file extension, you can pin the file to the taskbar by right-clicking on it.
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5. Your document will now appear in your taskbar as an application. Right-click on the application, then right-click again on the name of the file when it appears in the menu. A sub-menu will appear. Click “Properties” in this menu.

Right-click on the application in the taskbar, right-click on its file name, and then click “Properties.”
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6. In the “Target” field, change the file name so that .exe is replaced with whatever the file extension originally was — for example, .doc or .docx.

Change the file name in the “Target” field to match the original file extension.
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7. Click “Change Icon” and click on the icon you want to represent the document in the taskbar. Once you’ve chosen, click “OK” in the “Change Icon” window.

Pick an icon that you’ll associate specifically with this document.
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8. Before you click “OK” or “Apply” in the Properties window, return to the File Explorer and rename the original file so that its .exe extension matches its original extension — again, this will most likely be .doc or .docx, like you typed in the Target field in step six. When the warning window appears, click “Yes.”

You’ll need to change the file extension back to its original name in order for the process to be completed.
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9. Return to the Properties window. Click “Apply” and then “OK.”

After changing the file name, you can apply the changes in the Properties window.
Chrissy Montelli/Business Insider

10. Sign out of your Windows account and sign back in to complete the process.

If done correctly, the file will be pinned to the taskbar, represented by the icon you selected. Click on the icon to open it.

For a more simplified process, you can also drag and drop documents on to the taskbar. While this won’t exactly pin the specific document you selected, it will pin its respective program, like Word or Excel. This method will enable easy access by right-clicking on the icon in the taskbar, where your pinned documents will be listed under “Pinned.” You can do this for multiple documents by dragging a file into its respective program icon on the taskbar. 

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