How to Make a Website an App: Create Chrome Shortcuts

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Updated 3/7/2024

It’s easy to create make an app from a website using Chrome shortcuts. Follow the steps in this simple guide to improve your app workflows.

how to make a website an app - webpage and app icon

Sometimes it can be nice to access a website outside of a typical browser window. For example, it can be nice to have AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini as dedicated apps. This allows for easier window management, navigation, and other benefits.

Follow the steps in this guide to create a desktop app for any website.

Requirements

This tutorial provides instructions for Google Chrome and macOS users. You can likely follow the same process in Windows, but the steps and visuals might slightly differ.

Method 1: Create Shortcut

This process will apply to most sites. If you see “Install” options, choose them, but they are not that common.

1. Open The Site

Navigate to the site you want to make an app. In our example, we’ll use ChatGPT because it’s a great candidate for a standalone app.

ChatGPT homepage

2. Create a Shortcut

In Chrome, click on the three dots at the top-right.

three dots icon

This should open a tall menu. Go down to Save and Share, then click Create Shortcut.

Create Shortcut menu steps

Note: If you see an “Install” option, go ahead and choose that.

3. Save the app

Name the shortcut. Using the site name should be fine.

Make sure to check “Open as window“. If you leave this unselected, it will open a regular Chrome window. That can be fine, but isn’t as useful in most cases.

Click Create.

Create Shortcut window

Chrome should automatically open the app for you. You’re all set!

Method 2: Install (If Available)

Some app-centric sites like Instagram and TikTok offer direct install options.

If this is available, an Install Icon will appear next to the Favorites star in the URL bar:

Install app icon

Go ahead and choose this option! It accomplishes the same thing, but the process is a tiny bit smoother.

Result

Now you should be able to treat the website like other applications. This includes certain benefits like being able to select the app in the dock:

Websites as apps in the dock

Or make it so you can easily manage a well-labeled window:

ChatGPT as a window

This is a simple change, but one that comes with nice UX benefits.

Bottom Line

It’s quite easy to create a shortcut app using Chrome. If you follow the steps in this guide, you should be able to create more flexibility with your app workflows. 🌎

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