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Let's assume you're using Windows, and, like us monkeys at Pinkeye Graphics, you also use Googlemail or Gmail for email. If so, you might well want to have a convenient shortcut to Gmail on your desktop - you know, just like the one that used to go to Outlook Express, all those years ago? In fact, for those changing over to Gmail from Outlook, Windows Mail or a similar desktop POP email client, having an email icon in the quick launch bar is a nice bit of comfort. Even if it just opens up a browser it still retains some of that offline look and feel which is reassuring and easy to use.
Find out below how to make this happen in a few brief clicks of the mouse.
If you don't know which browser you are using, find out at the "What browser am I using?" website.
First of all, if you're using the Chrome browser, it's almost all done for you. Just go to the Gmail home page, then choose 'Tools' from Chrome's drop-down menu. In the tools menu you'll see 'Create application shortcuts'. Just follow the instructions in there. Or install the Google Apps launcher which is easier still - although it does give you a different-looking icon.
If you're not using Chrome, don't worry! It's still easy. There are two stages, and you don't even have to do the second one if you don't want to. Here's the first.
You can put a shortcut to any webpage on your desktop or quick launch bar, so Gmail, being just a webpage, is a doddle. This will work with any website at all, but we're using Gmail as an example.
What's the address bar? It's the box at the top of the browser window that has the address of the webpage you are looking it. For this post, for example, it will read something like pinkeyegraphics.co.uk/blog/index.php/2009/
If you can't find that or it doesn't work, just type "http://mail.google.com" into the 'Create Shortcut' dialogue instead.
That's the basic bit done. It will now work, and if you don't care how it looks stop now.
But there's more! Still want more? OK, here's the second part. You'll notice that the icon is not the nice Gmail icon that you usually see. So you'll want to change that. Here's a file to download: Gmail icon file. If you know how to do that, go ahead. If not, follow these instructions (it's the same file, so you only need to do one). To download the file right-click on the icon file. In Internet Explorer, chose 'Save target as'; or in Chrome or Firefox 'Save link as'. Other browsers have similar options. Once you've downloaded the file, this is how to use it.
Your icon now has a real authentic Gmail look.
Ok, so if you got that working you can do some more. Why not make a shortcut to Facebook on your desktop? Or Twitter? Or your local newspaper? The first steps above will work for any website, so go ahead and try it.
If you want to change the look of your new shortcuts, you will need to download icons that look good though, as otherwise all the shortcuts will look the same. It's not hard to find them though, just use Google!
Make your own icon. Download and install Irfanview-very useful free program. Find a picture you ant to make into an icon, favorite cat, dog, person, car etc. Open it in Irfanview and save as .ico aka an icon. and use that for your shortcut icon.
Pinkeye responds: or dont. Use the one we’ve already made, link in article. Which is kinda the idea.
Everything works but when I change the icon, all it is is an Internet Explorer icon, I have Firefox too? Any help?
Pinkeye respond: you did save your gmail1.ico file to somewhere that wasn’t the desktop, didn’t you? Because if you left it on the desktop that’s what it could look like.
Thanks for these simple and effective instructions!
Thank you for your very useful and succinct instructions! Works beautiful.
I followed the instructions above for putting the gmail shortcut on my desktop. However, it did not work. When I double clicked on the new icon it gave me this message: “This file does not have a program associated with it to perform this action. Create one in Folder Options in the Control Panel". Any step by step instructions from anyone? Thanks a bunch.
Matt responds: there are a number of reasons for getting that error, but probably you’re clicking on the icon file itself rather than the shortcut. Just delete the new icon you made and try again from the beginning. Make sure you don’t save the icon file to the desktop - the step by step instructions are in the article above.
Thank you very much for info.
Great directions and what I wanted on the taskbar.
Awesome, thank you!
THANKS! i knew how 2 put it on the desktop, but didn’t know how 2 change the pic.
Wunderbar! Just had to reformat the hard drive, and lost EVERYTHING, this tute was a warm fuzzy!
Great !! thanks ,,, :-) .. it works fine .. one can try this ..
Thank you so much! It was very helpful and easy to follow! I really appreciat it =).
Bless you for creating this fab how-to!! It was driving me absolutely NUTS not to have the GMAIL icon.
Finally! Someone with clear, precise instructions! Thanks!
Nice work pinkeye but the larger icon is too blurry. I made one on my editor that is much clearer and nicer to me. But it won’t let me use mine!
Yes, that thing with shorcut is new thing/feature that it was introduced ad standalone aplication, ad it is not just schortcut, and it is not, but it looks like it, so many users where disapointed with this widget , I hope this helps :)
Good - I can now launch Gmail from my desktop but I can’t change the icon. The dialogue on Firefox isn’t quite the same as you have written it and in browsing/navigating to Windows/System32, I can only “open” but not “save” the icon. Your icon is allegedly saved in Windows Photo Gallery (by default) but I can’t see it even when I select “see all". Any ideas? thanks and kind regards - Rohan
Hi i was wondering how you can get the shortcut in to the bottom toolbar in your desktop.
my friend has it but she moved away recentlyy so i dont know how to do it :\
p.s i dont wish to be emailed anything thanks
Matt replies: just drag it from your desktop to the quick launch bar. It should stay there.
Thank you, Sarah. That was a quick and easy solution. You get 4 stars
from me. After suffering many attempts to get a gmail shortcut icon on my desktop, your suggestion
Use Chrome, click the create application shortcut from the page menu. It’s even easier.
Thanks for getting my gmail icon looking snazzy!
I wonder why Firefox doesn’t have an add-on that lets a user select icons - which crate a macro and set this up as you suggested. Perhaps, they have a relationship with Yahoo, and that would be contrary to Google.