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Manage files and URLs using their default applications.

Process: Main, Renderer (non-sandboxed only)

The shell module provides functions related to desktop integration.

An example of opening a URL in the user's default browser:

const { shell } = require('electron')


Note: While the shell module can be used in the renderer process, it will not function in a sandboxed renderer.


The shell module has the following methods:


  • fullPath string

Show the given file in a file manager. If possible, select the file.


  • path string

Returns Promise<string> - Resolves with a string containing the error message corresponding to the failure if a failure occurred, otherwise "".

Open the given file in the desktop's default manner.

shell.openExternal(url[, options])

  • url string - Max 2081 characters on windows.
  • options Object (optional)
    • activate boolean (optional) macOS - true to bring the opened application to the foreground. The default is true.
    • workingDirectory string (optional) Windows - The working directory.
    • logUsage boolean (optional) Windows - Indicates a user initiated launch that enables tracking of frequently used programs and other behaviors. The default is false.

Returns Promise<void>

Open the given external protocol URL in the desktop's default manner. (For example, mailto: URLs in the user's default mail agent).


  • path string - path to the item to be moved to the trash.

Returns Promise<void> - Resolves when the operation has been completed. Rejects if there was an error while deleting the requested item.

This moves a path to the OS-specific trash location (Trash on macOS, Recycle Bin on Windows, and a desktop-environment-specific location on Linux).


Play the beep sound.

shell.writeShortcutLink(shortcutPath[, operation], options) Windows

  • shortcutPath string
  • operation string (optional) - Default is create, can be one of following:
    • create - Creates a new shortcut, overwriting if necessary.
    • update - Updates specified properties only on an existing shortcut.
    • replace - Overwrites an existing shortcut, fails if the shortcut doesn't exist.
  • options ShortcutDetails

Returns boolean - Whether the shortcut was created successfully.

Creates or updates a shortcut link at shortcutPath.

shell.readShortcutLink(shortcutPath) Windows

  • shortcutPath string

Returns ShortcutDetails

Resolves the shortcut link at shortcutPath.

An exception will be thrown when any error happens.