A native desktop is preferred for frequent web browsing. However, not all web apps are available as standalone desktop apps. If you use a web service frequently, you can turn the websites into desktop apps on Windows.
By default, Microsoft Edge features a built-in feature for installing websites as apps on Windows. You can do the same on Chrome. In addition, there are third-party tools to convert a website into a desktop application.
Why use a web app as a desktop app?
Desktop applications are easier and faster to access than web applications that require you to use a web browser. You can also add these apps to the Start menu and taskbar for quick access.
These apps are free from the clutter that web browsers bring, including bookmarks, menus, and more. Then there’s the advantage of full-screen, which allows you to use all that real estate for a distraction-free experience.
1. Install the website as an application using Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge has a handy feature for turning a website into an application. This is the easiest way to install a website as an app on Windows.
To install a website and app using Microsoft Edge:
- Start Microsoft Edge And open the website or page you want to add as a desktop app.
- Click on Three point menu in the upper right corner.
- Choose Applications And choose Install this site as an app.
- in the Install the application dialog, enter a name for the application. It is important to enter a custom name because Edge uses the site name and not the site name by default.
- To change the application icon, click Edit button and select the icon from the local drive.
- Click Install And wait until the application is installed.
Once installed, the app will automatically launch with a few options to customize. The app now runs securely in its own window. You can launch it from the Start menu, the Windows taskbar, or your desktop.
in the Allow this app section, select all the options you want to activate. For example, you can pin or unpin the app to the taskbar, Start, add it as a desktop shortcut, and enable auto-launch on device login. Select all the options you want and click Allow.
You can open the installed applications from the Start menu. Use the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of the app to access print, zoom, cast, and share options.
Uninstall the app on Microsoft Edge
go to edge://apps Using your web browser to manage all installed apps and permissions. Click on Three point menu And choose Shake it off To remove the application. You can also remove the app from the Settings page by going to Settings > Apps > Installed apps.
2. Install websites as applications using Google Chrome
Google Chrome has a Create Shortcut feature. From Edge’s Install, this site works like an app and lets you run apps in their own window. This is an OS-independent feature as you can run web apps on a macro using Chrome shortcuts.
To add a shortcut to a website as an app in Chrome:
- Start Google Chrome.
- Click on Three point menu in the upper right corner.
- Next, go to Additional equipment And choose Create a shortcut.
- in the Create a shortcut In the popup, type a name for the app. Again, if you leave the default, Chrome will use the app’s default website name.
- Next, select Open as a window Optional.
- Finally click Create to create A shortcut to the website as an app.
Your new app will automatically launch in a new window. You can launch the app from the Start menu, taskbar, and Windows Search. Also, open the three-dot menu in the app to access important features like zoom, print, and more.
How to assign an icon to a website application
Both Chrome and Edge can fetch and assign the appropriate icon based on the website logo. But if the application icon is missing or you want to change it, you can do it from the properties.
To change the app icon:
- Right click on the application shortcut and select Properties.
- in the Properties Connection, open shortcut Tab.
- Click on Change icon button below.
- Click explore and select a custom icon from the local drive. To use an existing icon from the Windows library, paste the following path in Change icon Dialog and click explore.
- of Imageres.dll The file contains default icons for Windows. Select an icon from the library and click all right.
3. Convert websites to desktop applications with WebCatalog
WebCataglog is a platform for desktop web applications. It comes with a library of web apps that you can install with a click. You can also create custom apps using the website URL.
WebCatalog uses the Photon rendering engine based on the Chromium framework to run its applications. You can also organize your work and play applications into different locations and easily switch between multiple accounts for web services.
To install a website as an application using WebCatalog:
- Go to Web catalog page And download the installer.
- Once installed, launch the app.
- Search for an existing library to install an application. If an app doesn’t exist, you create a custom app.
- Click on Create a custom app Optional.
- Enter a name for the app and then add the URL to the website.
- Next click Select a local image and select an icon for the application.
- Select the Add shadows and rounded corners Optional.
- Click Install.
- WebCataglog downloads the necessary files and creates a web application. This may take some time depending on your internet connection.
- open Installed applications tab to see your recently installed apps. You can also close existing apps to run two instances of the same app for different accounts.
You can also customize the app’s appearance, pin the window to the system tray, and enable Always On Top to keep the app window on top of other apps.
Conversely, WebCatalog takes up more space than an Edge or Chrome app. Also, the free version allows you to use ten apps with two sessions per app.
take down: Web catalog (Free, Premium $5/month)
4. Convert websites to Windows applications using Web2Desk
Web2Desk lets you turn your favorite websites into desktop apps. You can use it to create native application packages for desktop platforms including OSX, Windows, and Linux.
To create a desktop application using Web2Desk:
- Go to Web2Desk page.
- Enter your website URL and app name in respective fields.
- It automatically fetches the website logo for the app icon. Click Change To add a custom icon from a local drive.
- Next, type your email address.
- Select Windows as the platform.
- Next click on Create a desktop application Button.
- Web2Desk will start building your application. This may take some time, so wait for the process to complete.
- Click on take down Button to download the app package. It creates a portable installer, so you don’t need to install the app.
- Extract the downloaded package zip file and double click on it app.exe File to launch the application.
Applications created using the service have a Web2Desk splash screen. You can get rid of it for a $45 premium.
Install websites as desktop applications on Windows
Microsoft Edge and Chrome make it easy to install websites on Windows as desktop apps. You can also add it to Start, taskbar, or create a shortcut for quick access.
That said, if you need to work with multiple web applications with multiple accounts and sessions, WebCatalog is a good choice. You can choose from the app library or create your own custom app and organize it into different locations.