The New Item menu in File Explorer allows you to create a new item for a specific program in the currently open folder. You can add items to this menu for other programs not included on it.

You’ll see this menu both on File Explorer’s Home tab, and on the right-click menu for any given folder, as shown here:

Some programs add entries to the New Item menu automatically, and some don’t. To add an item to the New Item menu for a program not on the New Item menu, we will use a combination of the Windows’ ShellNew folder and the registry. We’ll show you using a GIMP (.xcf) file as an example, though this should work with many other file types.

Step One: Add a Template File to the ShellNew Folder

The first thing we need to do is to create a new file in the program we want to add to the menu. For example, we created a new file in GIMP and set the size of the image to the size we want new images to be by default. We saved our GIMP file as template.xcf.

You can’t save your file directly to Windows’ ShellNew folder, so save it somewhere in your Documents folder, and then copy and paste the file into the C:\Windows\ShellNew folder. Click “Continue” on the Destination Folder Access Denied dialog box to give Windows permission to copy the file to the folder.

The file is pasted into the ShellNew folder. You may see other files there that were added automatically when you installed other programs.

Step Two: Add Your Template File to the Registry

Now that our new file is in place, we’re going to add a key to the registry that will use that file to create new files in the program we’re adding to the New Item menu.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

RELATED: Learning to Use the Registry Editor Like a Pro

Open the Registry Editor by hitting Search/Cortana and typing regedit . Click regedit under Best Match, or press Enter, to open the Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

In the Registry Editor, expand the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT key in the left sidebar.

Then, scroll down and look for the file extension that corresponds to the app you want to add to the New Item menu in File Explorer—in our case, .xcf for GIMP files. Right-click on the extension and go to New > Key.

Name the new key ShellNew.

Next, you’ll need to create a new value inside the ShellNew key. Right-click the ShellNew key and choose New > String Value.

Name the new string value FileName and then double-click on the new value.

Enter the name of the file you created into the “Value data” box and click the “OK” button.

Close the Registry Editor by going to File > Exit or clicking the “X” in the upper-right corner of the window.

To have this change take effect, you need to restart your PC, not just sign out and back in.

How to Use Your New Menu Item

Now you can create a new file of the type you added. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder in which you want to create the new file. Then, click the “Home” tab.

In the New section on the Home tab, click  the“New Item” button. You should see an option for the program you added on the drop-down menu. In our example, “GIMP image” was added to the menu. Select the new option to create a new file of that type.

You can also access the new option by right-clicking in the right pane in File Explorer and going to New > GIMP image (or the option for the program you added).

The new file you created is given a default name of “New” followed by the name of the option, but you can rename the file by selecting it and pressing F2.

To open the new file, simply double-click on it…

…and it opens in the associated program.

To remove an app from the New Item menu that you added, simply delete the ShellNew key in the registry under the appropriate extension under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.

NOTE: This procedure may not work for some programs, because not all programs support creating new files outside of the program. It worked for GIMP, but we also tested adding Snagit (.snag files) to the New Item menu and that did not work. You’ll have to experiment with programs you want to add. Don’t worry, though. If you try to add a program to the New Item menu and it doesn’t work, it won’t harm your system. You can simply delete the registry key you added and the file you added to the ShellNew folder.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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