Windows 8: Pinning Documents to the Start Page

Jan 06 2013 Published by under Windows 8

Before diving into all the stuff below (which still might be useful in some cases) you might want to look at this post:

If you’ve read past the post title and into this text, I’m going to assume you have some experience or at least some interest in Windows 8. Therefore you know that there’s a Start page with tiles of various applications installed on your system. You can rearrange these, remove and re-add them, and in some cases resize them. A lesser known fact is the ability to pin folders to the Start page – just right click the folder in Explorer and you’ll see a “Pin to Start” menu item.

What seemed to be missing for me though, was the ability to add documents to the Start page. For example, I have an Excel spreadsheet where I log all my running, with various charts, weekly and monthly tallies and other analysis all baked into it. I use it almost every day, so I thought it’d be nice to have it pinned to the Start page to bring it up as fast as possible. There doesn’t seem to be any automatic way to do this, but I did figure out a little trick. It’s not quite a single-click solution, but for those few documents you use all the time, it’s worth the minute or less that it takes to set up the one time. You could also probably create some kind of script or utility to do this, but not sure it’s worth the extra effort. Anyway, here’s what you do:

1. From Explorer, right click on the document you want to pin and choose “Create Shortcut”. This will create a new file next to the original, which is an alias pointing to the document.

2. Now you want to copy this shortcut into the following folder:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

It’s probably going to tell you that you need administrator privileges to paste it there. You can just click continue to acknowledge this, assuming you do have such privileges.

3. You may want to rename the file. By default it will be something like “Keith Running Log.xls – Shortcut”. This is what will show up on your Start page under the tile, so if  you want, change it to something like “Keith Running Log”.

4. Now go to the Start page. You won’t see the tile there, but start typing the name of the file and it should quickly filter it out. Now right click it and choose “Pin to Start” from the App Bar. Bingo! A pinned document. (You’ll see I got lazy and didn’t even rename it.)

Note that this is not limited to MS Office docs. As far as I can tell, any document with a registered extension that will open in some application can have this method applied.

I’d love to see a Windows update that makes this a bit more straightforward, but at least it’s possible.


8 responses so far. Comments will be closed after post is one year old.

  • Ricardo says:

    are you not afraid of windows 8 lack of security ? it has been mentioned quite a lot.

  • […] In a post last week, I gave a kind of convoluted solution to pinning a document to the Windows 8 Start Page. Jesse Freeman just pointed me to a Windows 8 app that does the same thing in a bit more of an elegant way: Tile A File. You simply start the app, browse to a file you want to pin, and tell it to create a Start Page tile. You can opt to use the default icon it picks, or choose a custom tile image. Nice solution. Tweet […]

  • Øyvind Nordhagen says:

    Just curious, Keith: what is it that you don’t get from Garmin Connect that makes you manually maintain a spreadsheet running diary?

    • keith says:

      I have all kinds of stuff on the spreadsheet – weekly, monthly, yearly totals, per-run and per-day averages, yearly goal, percent of goal, etc., etc. Plus, several different kinds of charts with trend lines, etc. It’s always evolving and changing as I want to visualize different parts of what I’m doing. I used to do a lot of work with Excel and I still enjoy going crazy with spreadsheets. 🙂

  • MR. Eden says:

    Quite disappointed that Microsoft din’t apply the tile theme to the overall os, and are instead using those tiles as frames around their old ugly icons (explorer, commands etc.). Even if i like the concept of having important information in a central location, they could have gone a step further by using thumbnails of documents instead of that exel icon. Metro have much that could yet be improved.

    • keith says:

      Yeah, it’s not beautiful, but they’re making a HUGE change and keeping it compatible with all existing files, file systems, apps, etc. There are still quite a few incongruities between legacy desktop and modern ui. I expect those will become less and less in the coming months and years.

      The tile a file app I mention in the next post after this one does offer more icon customization and is a lot easier to use.

  • Vishal says:

    It works very well!!
    Thanks a Lot!!