A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader who wanted to know if there was any chance an article published on TechRepublic in 2012 could be updated for Windows 10. The article, Add Google Docs to the Windows 7 New menu (revised), showed how to perform a complicated and convoluted edit of the Windows Registry file that would add entries for common Google Docs to the context menu of Microsoft Windows 7.
Without going through the process and testing it first, I suspect the process outlined then is similar for Windows 10. The problem is that the URL links in that technique are hardwired and will, therefore, break when Google changes the Doc link system—which they do fairly often. I think Microsoft Windows 10 offers an easier and more flexible way to accomplish much the same thing, without resorting to a risky edit of the Windows Registry.
Users can add various applications to the Microsoft Windows 10 Taskbar at their own discretion and they can also pin shortcuts to those applications for easy access. We can take advantage of this feature to pin links that will create any new Google Doc we want. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to do it.
SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)
Add to the Windows 10 taskbar
To add an application to the Windows 10 taskbar, all you have to do is drag a shortcut pointing to the desired application to the taskbar and drop it. Since we are looking to add links to Google Docs, it only makes sense that the application we should add is Google Chrome. When you finish you should see the Chrome icon in the taskbar, similar to Figure A. Note, I have lots of icons in my taskbar—it is my preferred manner of Windows 10 navigation.
When you right-click the Chrome icon in the taskbar you will be shown a Windows 10 Jump List. As you can see in Figure B, my jump list for Chrome is lengthy. Any website, or sub page of a website, can be pinned to a jump list by dragging the link to the Chrome icon in the taskbar and dropping it.
SEE: Windows 10 hack: How to beef up your jump lists to show more pinned items (TechRepublic)
To add links that will start a new Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation we will need to add the appropriate links to our Chrome jump list. Unfortunately, Google does not really make this as easy it seems it should be. When you click New in Google Drive, for example, the system creates a new document, but the URL in the address bar is of the new document, not the link that created the new document. We are going to have to construct the "creation" links ourselves.
Right-click in an empty space on your Windows 10 Desktop and navigate to New | Shortcut. In the location request box that appears (Figure C), type in one of these links:
Click Next and give the shortcut an appropriate name. Follow the procedure for all three links and you should end up with a group of working shortcuts (Figure D).
Now, just drag each one to the Chrome icon in the taskbar to pin them to the jump list. The next time you right-click Chrome you should see three new entries that you can use to start new Google Doc pages (Figure E).
The "creation" links for other Google Docs should work the same as the three examples here, however, keep in mind that if your organization is a subscriber to the Google productivity suite, it is possible the links will have to include a reference to your domain. In that case, the links would take this form:
If you ever want to remove the links from a jump list, just click the pin icon next to the link. Nothing could be simpler.
SEE: Windows 10: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
Simple and elegant
Adding links like this to the jump lists of your favorite applications is a much more elegant solution than performing a complicated and somewhat dangerous edit of the Windows Registry. The Microsoft Windows 10 taskbar is one of the more powerful features of the operating system and users should take advantage of it when they can.
- How to use the new Show App List In Start Menu feature in Windows 10 Creators Update (TechRepublic)
- How to get the most out of Windows 10's Sticky Notes app with a Task View desktop (TechRepublic)
- How to clear the Recent items list in Windows 10 (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 tip: Learn the secret shortcuts to jump straight to system folders (ZDNet)
Are you taking advantage of jump lists in Windows 10? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.