Someone once said, “To save time is to lengthen life.”  We have no idea who it was, but they probably didn’t own a computer running Windows.  If they did, that saying would probably go something like, “To use the Context Menu is to lengthen life.”

If you already know about the Context Menu, then you’re one of those people who found a faster way to do a lot of things on your computer.  If you have no idea what we’re talking about, then you’ll learn two time-saving tips today.

Windows 10 Context Menu

The Context Menu

The Context Menu in Windows 10 represents the best way to create a new file quickly and easily.  On the desktop or within any folder in File Explorer, you simply right-click.  The Context Menu that appears provides a variety of actions you can take within the context of where you clicked (thus… “Context Menu”).

Create New Files in the Context Menu

Within the Context Menu lies an option labeled simply “New”.  This menu expands and offers you a list of items you can create on the fly.  New folders or shortcuts are available, but there are a variety of files as well.  If you own Microsoft Office, options are available for installed Office apps.  Need a new Word document?  Now you don’t even have to open Word before creating the file.

Add New Files to the Context Menu

Adding new files to this menu should be easier.  For whatever reason, Microsoft opted not to give users easier access to this capability.  Be forewarned, this process involves editing the Windows Registry.  Doing so is completely safe if you follow our directions.  However, it is also completely possible to mess up Windows.

We have 3 warnings for you.


If you’re new to any of the following steps, you might start feeling like a hacker after you complete them (you’re not, but we won’t tell anyone).

Steps to Add File Types You Want

Context Menu Windows Registry

  1. Start by typing “regedit” within the search box on the desktop.  The Windows Registry editor should be the first result that comes up.  Click it to open the app.
  2. Once the editor opens, expand the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder.  Look through the list for the file type you’d like to add to the “New” menu.  I’m using .dotx, the extension for Word template files, for this example.
  3. Right-click on the file type entry, and select New->Key item.  Name the new key “ShellNew”.
  4. Right-click on the ShellNew key you just created, and select New->String Value.  Name the new value “NullFile”.
  5. Double-click on the NullFile item and give it a value of 1.  The final result should look like the image below.
  6. Close the Registry editor.

Create Files and Save Time

The file should now show up in the Context Menu the next time you pull it up.  If not, you either used a file type associated with a viewer, or that file type can’t be used in this way.  This procedure only works for file types that can be created and edited.  If you attempt to follow these steps for something like .pdf files, but you don’t have Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader), it won’t work.  It also doesn’t work well with Google Docs, etc.  Those files require a browser to function.

It may not seem like a ton of time saved using this method, but over the course of time, it all adds up.  Don’t forget… “To save time is to lengthen life.”

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