Create web apps from a browser

Why keep your favorite websites or services held up in your browser? Creating web apps allows easy access to these locations and splits them away from the regular browser. These will open in a new window that seems almost like an application. With no access to an URL change or back button, web apps mimic literal programs to make them seem just that much more special.

We’ve previously looked at how easy it is to convert any tab to a dedicated window while using Chrome.

In this post, we’ll cover creating web apps in both Chrome and Internet Explorer.

In Chrome, select the menu icon and choose “Tools > Create application shortcuts….


A simple options window will appear. Here, you can choose to create the app shortcut on the Desktop, Start menu, and/or to pin it to the taskbar. Notice these are similar options for when installing an actual application.


Launch the new web app and notice there the slim appearance. There is no navigation menu or address bar.


Internet Explorer also has this option for web apps. Launch Internet Explorer and drag the icon for the website right onto the taskbar.

To create an app on the start menu, choose the settings icon and select “File > Add site to Start menu.”


Another simple window will prompt, giving the option to change the URL.


Create pinned apps within a browser

Firefox and Chrome allow windows to be pinned in the browser. This allows always active pages that will always open when the browser launches – similar to having multiple homepages. It’s like having a pinned app on the taskbar or Desktop but it’s located in the browser itself. These are actually a little more difficult to remove than a regular tab, which makes it just that much more permanent.

With a page open in Firefox, right-click the tab and choose “Pin Tab.”


The tab will shrink to the leftmost position. Notice there is no exit on the tab.


Though a pinned app is more permanent than one that’s not, removing it doesn’t take much. Right-click the app and choose to “Unpin Tab” to revert it back to a regular tab.


Chrome’s pinning feature isn’t that much different. Right-click the tab as well and choose to “Pin tab.”


To note, pinned tabs cannot be moved to the right of a regular tab – only to the right of another pinned tab.

Some apps in Chrome can even continue running when a network connection is unavailable. Not all apps can do this but there are quite a few available from Chrome’s Offline Apps collection.

Take Quick Notefor example.


After adding this app open a new blank tab to access it.


Notice there is no URL for accessing this app. It’s all contained offline in Chrome.


Web apps can also combine both the pinned availability as well as the offline capabilities. Right-click the app and choose to “Open as pinned tab.”



Web apps are vastly different than just regular bookmarks, which make them more versatile and appealing.