Some of my colleagues place shortcuts of frequently used files right on the desktop—some of which may be confidential. Although I can see how placing shortcuts there makes them easy to access, I don’t like the idea of permitting passersby to see shortcuts to the files I work on. I somehow feel it’s unprofessional. What are your thoughts, and can you suggest alternatives?
I can well understand your hesitancy, and I agree that access to such files should not be so publicly displayed. There are several things you can do to both maintain privacy yet allow easy access. One is to simply camouflage the target file and name it something vague or uninteresting. The downside to that solution is that multiple alternative desktop identifications can get confusing.
I think the most effective way, and it’s my favorite, is to put the shortcut right in the Start menu so all you have to do to access the shortcut is click on the Start menu. The procedure takes a few seconds. Start by placing a shortcut to the target file (or files) on the desktop and then drag it (right-click+drag) into the Start button. Now delete the shortcut on the desktop. When you click on the Start button, your shortcuts will be right there, ready for action (see screenshot below).
You can adjust the lineup of the shortcut by dragging (again, right-click+drag) up or down the menu.