Creating a Desktop Alias (Mac)

If you are a PC user, please refer to the previous entry: Creating a Desktop Shortcut.

Would you like to be able to create a desktop icon that would bring you directly to a website or computer program that you use daily? On Mac computers this is called an “Alias” and it is relatively easy to create one yourself!

Note: Before you start this process, make sure that you can see your desktop. If you cannot, make sure to minimize or close the windows that are obscuring your desktop before you proceed.

To Create an “Alias” to a Website:

  1. Open up the website in your preferred web browser (at ITS we suggest Chrome)
  2. Select the URL (web address) by clicking on it once

    URL selected in Chrome Address Bar

    URL selected in Chrome
  3. Click and drag the URL to the desktop
    URL is Dragged from Address Bar to Desktop

    URL dragged to desktop

To Create an Alias to a Computer Program:

  1. Open a Finder Window
    • Right click on the finder icon (ctrl + click if there is no right mouse button)
    • Choose “New Finder Window”
  2. Click on the Applications in the sidebar, then hold down Option and Command as you select the application for which you want to create an alias

    Icon is dragged from Applications folder to desktop

    Drag icon to desktop while holding down the option and command keys

  3. Drag it to the desktop

Fun Fact: Aliases are  used quite often in Mac OSX. The icons in the sidebar of the Finder windows and the icons in the Dock are also types of aliases.

About Kristina Zimmerman

Kristina Zimmerman is an ITS Support Specialist at Augustana College. Her main duties are training, software support, and general Mac support. To contact Kristina, send email to
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