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How to Add Google Documents to the Windows Explorer “New” Menu

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We’ve already shown you how to create shortcuts to create new Google Docs easily, but what if you want total Windows integration? Here’s how to add them to the Windows Explorer “New” menu for easier access.

This should work for all versions of Windows, and you can modify it to work with Google Apps for your Domain as well. Keep reading for the full instructions.

Import the Registry Hack

The first step is to download and extract the package we’ve provided at the end of the article. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to import the registry hack file, since there are just way too many keys to manually create them all.

Just double-click on the AddGoogleDocsToNewMenu.reg file, provided in the zip file at the bottom of the article, and you’ll see a message saying it was successful.

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You aren’t done yet! Keep reading…

Copy the Icons and Runner Application

I’ve created a set of icons and a tiny runner application, which does nothing more than launch whatever your default browser is. In fact, it’s created in AutoHotkey and consists of nothing more than the following line:

Run, %1%

You’ll need to copy the 4 icons and the googledocsrunner.exe and put them all into your Windows directory. There should be 5 total files, and it’ll look something like this once you copy them in:

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If you’re using regular Google Apps, you should be done. You may need to use the Refresh option from the context menu, like this:

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Go ahead, test it out! Open up your New menu, and select one of them.

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If the icons aren’t showing up yet, you might have to log out and back in, or restart Explorer.exe.

Editing the Keys for Google Apps for Domains

If you’re using Google Apps for your Domain, unfortunately you’re going to need to modify a few keys. You can do this in the registry, or you can modify the .reg file that we imported earlier. If you choose to go the registry route, here’s what you need to do.

Open up regedit.exe through the Start Menu search or run box, and then browse down to one of the following keys, one for each type of document:

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.googledoc\ShellNew
  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.googledrawing\ShellNew
  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.googlepresentation\ShellNew
  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.googlespreadsheet\ShellNew

For each one, you’ll want to open up the “command” key on the right-hand side, which points to the runner application, and the only parameter is the URL.

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You’ll need to modify each of the URLs so that it matches your domain, in the format below:

  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/?action=newdoc
  • https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/ccc?new
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/?action=new_presentation
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/drawings/create?hl=en

Once you’ve done that, you should be done, and the shortcuts should work now.

Removing the Registry Hack

To remove the registry hack, use the provided UninstallGoogleNewMenu.reg file, and then delete the 5 files you copied into the Windows directory.


Download the Google Docs “New” Menu Package from howtogeek.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/29/10

Comments (17)

  1. iantendo

    Thank you so much for this hack it’s absolutely brilliant – As Google Docs becomes more integrated with Windows I’m starting to wonder if I even need Office on my PC any more. The only reason I even keep it installed is because of the rare occasions I’m without an internet connection and the current problems with Docs offline

  2. Umut

    Good thinking. I’ll use and it will make my life easier. Thank you.

  3. Gabe

    Is there any way to may the registry access the 4 icons and the googledocsrunner.exe from your My Documents directory vs. the Windows directory?

  4. segadc

    Cool! I use office docs more then google docs but will do this anyway.

  5. The Geek

    @Gabe

    Yes, if you feel like editing the path in the registry hack files.

  6. Dantv

    I’d us Google’s Apps BUT they read all your stuff…Big Brother at work.
    I’d stay away from Google’s crap!

  7. Camilo Martin

    @Dantv Do you know your ISP can monitor you at will right?

  8. yara regina da silva

    é tudo bem, estou praticando as aulas, gosto mt do instrutor, naada a reclamar, ensina bem, eu ´q ue
    demoro pra aprender, nem sei com quem estou conversando, tudo de bom pra voce, obrigado por ler
    este bilhete, fica com deus, um abraço
    yara.

  9. Jeff

    If you want to use the new document editor (with real time collaboration), the shortcut is:
    https://docs.google.com/document/create

  10. TJ Nugent

    This is the best tip/hack that I have used from Lifehacker. Excellent for people who depend on Google Docs.

  11. Dan

    Help! The googledocsrunner.exe file that came with the Zip file is the wrong size, (207,0758,) and 7 Zip says it cannot output the file???

  12. Dan

    Never mind.

  13. rino

    great tip! but how do we add them for the Open.. menu?

  14. AMT

    @Dantv It sounds like this is your first week on the Internet. How did you end up here? Try weather.com, that’s probably more your speed.

  15. magickaleva

    Thank you! I thought this would be difficult, but it was not. I find I’m using Google Docs more, once again, and this will be a terrific help.

  16. drhappy

    would be even cooler if it also created a short cut to the newly created google doc url in the windows folder where you right-clicked

  17. Evan

    This is fantastic! Just what I was looking for. I took it one step farther and edited the registry entries to open the links in Chrome’s “application mode” with no address bar, etc. Perfect!

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