How To Open A Website As A Stand Alone App In Chrome

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Back in October, Google released Hangouts as a stand alone application that could run in your browser. It was made well enough and could effectively substitute the Hangouts extension we all normally use. Some online apps, and there are very few of them, can launch themselves as separate stand alone apps in Chrome. Basically, it’s a web page open in a Chrome window sans any tabs. A common example is when you receive a desktop alert from Chrome for a new email, and reply to it from notification itself. Because Chrome can run a web page as s stand alone app, it begs the question, can you force it to do so for a particular app? The answer is yes, and all you need is simple switch.

Create a new shortcut to Chrome on your desktop. It’s a good idea to rename it later after the website it will launch. Right-click the shortcut’s icon, and select Properties. In the Shortcut tab, look for the target field and add the following at the end of  …\chrome.exe after adding one space,

–app=http://example.com

chrome_switch_app

You do not need to add ‘www’ before the domain. Enter whichever website it is you want to open as a Chrome app. Click Apply, and close this window. Use the shortcut to launch Chrome and it will open the website in a window all by itself.

chrome_app

In your taskbar, the app will appear with the website’s favicon used as the app icon. You can pin it to the Taskbar but it will be pinned with the Chrome icon. This works in the latest version of Chrome (tested on v. 39.0.2171.95) and doesn’t require any special flags to be enabled. You will have to use a different shortcut to launch Google Chrome as the one with this switch added to it will always open the website you entered, and nothing else.

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  • MrThermister

    What’s the difference between this and creating an application shortcut using the Chrome/Tools menu? Isn’t the end result the same?

    • yochanan

      No difference, end result is the same.

    • The application shortcut seems to have disappeared for me in Chrome, but creating a shortcut with -app still works. Thanks for the tip!

  • Tom Jones

    Would there be a way to edit the URL of bookmarks to open this way when clicked?

  • Lucian

    Can it be made to open multiple tabs?