Run Google Keep on the desktop in its own window

Top tips for using Google Keep note-taking app

Store notes on your PC, Mac, phone using Google Keep. Run Google Keep on the desktop in its own window |

Google announced last summer that Chrome apps were being discontinued. What does this mean for users of Google Keep, one of the company’s best tools? Here are some top tips for the notes app.

For those that have not yet discovered this brilliant tool, Google Keep is a great note-taking app that replaces the sticky notes type of utilities on your computer.

It enables you to jot down things you want to remember like URLs and text copied from web pages, thoughts and ideas, to do lists, shopping lists, reminders and so on.

It is much simpler and more lightweight than Google Keep alternatives OneNote and Evernote. These apps are fine in their own way, but Keep’s strongest features are speed and simplicity.

Notes entered into Keep are stored online in your Google account.

This means that they are available on any computer and device that runs Keep.

This is pretty much everything and you can use a PC, Mac, iOS and Android phones and tablets.

The end of Chrome apps

Go to the Chrome Web Store and there are three categories of items – Extensions, Themes and Apps. The categories can be selected in the left sidebar.

Search for Keep and then select the Apps category on the left and you will find the Google Keep app and it can be installed into Chrome. Not for long though.

Google Keep app in the Chrome Web Store

Google is removing support for Chrome apps and sooner or later the Apps category and all the apps in it will disappear. It turns out that Chrome apps was an experiment that didn’t work and Google is abandoning it.

It is still possible to install the Keep app into Chrome and it is possible to add a shortcut to the desktop to run the app in its own window, separate from the Chrome browser. However, it does not seem to work properly.

Apps installed in Google Chrome

Create a shortcut on the desktop to run Google Keep

Either I have a bug or Google has already begun to remove support for the Keep app. All I get are the titles of notes, but no content in them. The notes are empty.

There is a Google Keep extension in the Chrome Web Store, but this is not the app, it is a simple way to grab stuff off web pages and store them in notes. It is different to the app itself.

Use the Google Keep web app

This does not mean that Keep is being abandoned. Chrome apps will disappear, but they can be turned into web apps that run in any browser instead.

For example, instead of running Keep on the desktop as an app, you just go to and it runs in the browser – any browser and not just Chrome. It works the same, but one difference is that there is no offline use. If you are offline you can’t access Keep on the web.

Run Keep on the desktop

The app has been abandoned, or soon will be, and if you have it on the desktop it might continue to work for a while, but eventually it will stop working. I’ve been using accessing it in a browser tab and when I tried to install the app again, it didn’t work.

However, there is a work-around.

Chrome can be made to run in a window without tabs, without the address box, without the menu and without the toolbar with extension icons.

Press Windows+R and in the Run box enter:

Chrome.exe –app=

Google Keep opens in a neat little window on the desktop exactly the same way it used to as an app.

It is not very convenient typing in that complicated command and you might make a typing slip. Let’s make a shortcut for the desktop or taskbar that will open Keep in this window.

Create a Google Keep desktop shortcut

Right click the desktop and select New, Shortcut.

Click the Browse button and find and select Chrome. It will be in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe


C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

Add a space and then the –app= to the end of the path so it looks like this:

Create a desktop shortcut to run Google Keep in Chrome

Click Next, set the name to Keep and click Finish.

The icon used for the Keep desktop shortcut is a standard web browser icon instead of the Keep icon, but double clicking the shortcut opens Keep in a neat little window without all the usual browser clutter.

Google Keep running on the desktop like an app


Change the shortcut icon

There are two more things you can do. The first one is to change the icon.

Right click the Keep icon on the desktop that you created and select Properties.

Click the Change Icon button.

The Properties window for a desktop shortcut in Windows

There are several alternative icons and one looks a bit like notes in Keep. Select it and close the windows.

Change the icon used for a shortcut in Windows


Pin Keep to the taskbar

Now right click the icon again and there are two options. One is to pin Keep to the Start menu and the other is to pin Keep to the taskbar. Select them both.

Pin apps and programs to the Start menu or the taskbar in Windows

Now you can easily start Keep in its own window on the desktop separate to the Chrome browser.

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  1. This is the solution I was looking for and it works really well. Thank you for writing and sharing this clear step-by-step guide. Hopefully, Google will allow us to continue using Keep. It’s one of my most used apps.

  2. Glad I found this. I’ve been debating using Keep and one of the things I wanted was a sticky note feature. This just may do the trick.Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for this information! This process went very well, but after I changed the icon and pinned it to Start — the icon changed back to the default Chrome icon. How can I fix that? Thanks in advance!

  4. Wow, thank you so very much – that is the best tutorial I have followed in a long time! Simple, concise, just right amount of images.

  5. It’s not working for me. this is the link i have as the target:
    C:\Users\Joshua\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application –app=

    I was able to access keep with the ctrl R method but I can’t seem to make the shortcut work. instead the desktop shortcut is only opening the file location in a windows browser

  6. Update from previous comment. It works. i forgot to type Chrome.exe after i pointed to the folder. Thanks for the great post!

    • Your path to Chrome is different to mine. It could be wrong. Try adding an icon to the desktop to run Chrome, then right click it, select Properties and see what the path is. For me, it is C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

    • JUST replace all yours with

      “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=

  7. I keep getting an error…

    “The file C:\Program cannot be found.”

    I made no typos, I even browsed for the file and am still getting the same error. I am so confused!

    • Or in other case
      “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=

      • what a load of crap
        how all the other people found this helpful is beyond me. My chrome exists at “C:\Program Files(x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” but when I try to add
        –app= and click next it just says error cannot find program
        so I have given up, probably something that no longer works in the fall creators update, google and microsoft have never played well together, no surprise there!

        • I got the same thing, “The file C:\Program cannot be found” until I actually followed the instructions and “Browsed” to the file location, selecting > This PC > SSD C:\ > etc. Then it worked. However I then discovered that Lisette’s method, using the “add to desktop” feature in the Chrome tools menu, works just as well and gives you a Keep icon automatically. So no worries!

          Lisette says:
          2018/01/08 AT 14:00
          Isn’t the same without typing any command ?
          – Open Chrome browser
          – Go to the Keep Web Page (or any other)
          – Open Chrome menu (3 vertical dots)
          – Open “More tools” (approximative translation from french)
          – Choose “Add to desktop”
          – Modify the name if you want to
          – Check “Open in a window”

  8. Isn’t the same without typing any command ?
    – Open Chrome browser
    – Go to the Keep Web Page (or any other)
    – Open Chrome menu (3 vertical dots)
    – Open “More tools” (approximative translation from french)
    – Choose “Add to desktop”
    – Modify the name if you want to
    – Check “Open in a window”

  9. My Google Keep will not sync in Win 10. It was working but has stopped. I’m not running in Chrome (since I don’t like Chrome). Can anyone please help me out here. I would be most grateful. Sharon in Allentown ;0)

  10. This worked really well until a recent update to Windows. Now when I try to use the run command “Chrome.exe –app=” I get an error message on the Chrome page that opens: “This site can’t be reached
    xn--app%3Dhttps-lg3f’s server IP address could not be found.”
    Any suggestions?

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