Is there any way to create Internet shortcut files that will work with all operating systems (including Mac, Windows, and Linux)? I often switch between Windows and Linux, and I haven't yet found a way to create an internet shortcut file (on the desktop or in a local folder) that is compatible with all operating systems.


4 Answers 4


I found a reasonable cross-platform solution. This HTML document could be used as a shortcut to stackoverflow.com, and it would immediately redirect to that site when opened from the desktop:

<script type="text/javascript">
    window.location.href = "http://stackoverflow.com"; //change this to the URL
                                                       //you want to redirect to
  • 1
    this is such a fantastically simple solution... thank you Jan 29, 2013 at 0:27
  • 25
    Why not use <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://example.com/"> in the <head> instead of relying on javascript? Sep 11, 2014 at 0:23
  • While most browsers will accept that bare-minimum oneliner .html file, @Evan or the reader can consider this more exhaustive answer. My answer here, where I provide a script that automatically generates .html-Files like this, builds upon that.
    – Cadoiz
    Oct 21, 2021 at 10:35
  • Note that the file extension must be .html for this to work. Mar 14, 2023 at 15:52

Credit to Evan Mattson from the comments.

From W3C, Technique H76: Using meta refresh to create an instant client-side redirect:

The objective of this technique is to enable redirects on the client side without confusing the user. Redirects are preferably implemented on the server side (see SVR1: Implementing automatic redirects on the server side instead of on the client side (SERVER) ), but authors do not always have control over server-side technologies.

Example from the link above:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">    
    <title>The Tudors</title>      
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL='http://thetudors.example.com/'" />    
    <p>This page has moved to a <a href="http://thetudors.example.com/">

Basically, a refresh is done after zero seconds (immediately) to the specified URL, before the page content is loaded, and without JavaScript.

  • You can consider my answer here, where I provide a script that automatically generates .html-Files like this.
    – Cadoiz
    Oct 21, 2021 at 10:33
  • You can also consider/compare this answer
    – Cadoiz
    Oct 25, 2021 at 10:00

You can define a file named as following - MyInternetShortcut.url.

It's content should be:


This works on Windows and macOS.

  • 1
    Maybe your Linux. Opens in text editor on my Linux Mint 17.3 Mate system.
    – kreemoweet
    Feb 10, 2019 at 19:10
  • I have Linux Mint 18.3 and it doesn't work as well. I guess my memory tricked me. It does work on macOS and Windows. I will update the answer. Thank You.
    – Royi
    Feb 10, 2019 at 20:58
  • 1
    Works well on MacOS Catalina 10.15.6 Jul 26, 2020 at 13:59
  • It does work well with many (graphical, modern) Linux distros - and if not, most usual browsers can intrepret it, so you can open the xyz.url with it. I wrote a script provided here that automatically generates url-links like proposed by this answer.
    – Cadoiz
    Oct 21, 2021 at 10:30

For ease of use, I wrote a script to generate .url-files like Royi suggested in his answer. Making this script runnable with e.g. chmod +x url_linkscript.sh makes things even more handy. This file contains:

echo "[InternetShortcut]
URL=$1" > "$2"

You can then run it like this: $ url_linkscript.sh "https://my.amazingsite.com/" "result.url". (Depending on your link and file name, this usually also works without the quotes ".)

  • This answer could be extended by a .bat-script that does the same thing from within windows (without the need for a bash compatibility layer).
    – Cadoiz
    Oct 21, 2021 at 10:28

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