Updated: 12/05/2021 by Computer Hope

A shortcut may refer to any of the following:

1. A shortcut is an abbreviated form of a keyboard shortcut.

Windows shortcut

2. In Microsoft Windows, a shortcut is a link that points to a computer program. Shortcuts allow you to create links to programs in any folder, Start bar, Taskbar, desktop or other locations on the computer. A shortcut in Windows has a small arrow in the bottom left corner of the icon. Shortcut files end with a file extension of .lnk. The picture shows an example of a Windows shortcut that links to the game SimCity.

A shortcut is useful for accessing software programs or files more easily. Having a shortcut on the Windows desktop eliminates the need for users to look through the Start menu Programs list to find a specific software program. A shortcut also makes it quicker to open a file and not have to dig through folders on the computer to find a file.


If the shortcut is pointing to a program that was deleted, uninstalled, or has moved the shortcut stops working.


If you are more familiar with Linux, you can think of a shortcut as a symbolic link.

3. Shortcuts is an app for Apple iPhones and iPads that allows users to create home screen widgets that link to specific in-app actions.

Mnemonic, Operating system terms