How to Open the SHS File Extension

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A SHS -- or shell scrap object -- file contains fragments of a document that a user previously created using either Word or Excel. You can import the contents of a SHS file into a Word document or Excel spreadsheet by dragging it to the program that generated it.

SHS File Description

Shell scrap objects files contain text, graphics or objects that a user dragged from Excel or Word to her Windows desktop. After a user drags data from Word or Excel to her desktop, Windows creates both a desktop shortcut icon on the desktop and the actual SHS file -- which contains the original data from the Office program -- in the user's C:\Windows\Desktop folder.


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Deleting the desktop shortcut also deletes the corresponding SHS file from your hard drive.

Supported Operating Systems

When Microsoft released the Windows Vista operating system, the Redmond company opted to remove the dedicated handler file that allowed users to drag-and-drop SHS files to the desktop or to Word and Excel.


Consequently, the following Windows versions are unable to handle SHS files:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012

The following versions of Windows, on the other hand, support the handling of SHS files:


  • Windows 95
  • Windows NT
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows Server 2003


  • If you do not own a computer running one of the versions of Windows that supports SHS files, consider using a friend's or family member's computer or a public computer running on an older version of Windows, such as a PC at your workplace, at the library or at a cybercafe.
  • If you do not have access to a PC running an older version of Windows, consider running an older version of Windows in a virtual machine. Virtual machines are software emulators that let you create a copy of a full PC running in a window inside your regular operating system. Using a virtual machine, you can therefore, for example, boot into your regular Windows 8 desktop and open a window containing a virtual PC running Windows 95.

Opening a SHS File

Accessing the contents of a SHS file requires you to drag that file from the desktop to the application that created it. For example, if the SHS file contains a fragment of a Word document, drag the file to Word.



To prevent compatibility or formatting issues, consider importing the SHS file into the same version of the Office program than the one that created it. For example, use Word 97 to import a SHS file you originally created by dragging text out of Word 97.

Step 1

Launch either Excel or Word and resize the window so that both the Office program and the SHS shortcut on your desktop are visible at the same time.

Step 2

Drag the SHS file to a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. The program then automatically imports the contents of the file.


Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft