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Creating shortcuts is pretty straightforward, once you figure what the urls are. You can even use a shortcut of your browser’s executable to have new documents open in a new window, if you want. I’m considering doing a tutorial post on it, but one of the blue notes in the article (near the bottom) contains a link to a shared Google doc that has the urls you need.

When you drag a file in, it should keep its regular format. That could change if you have your Drive set to convert files to docs formats. You can even have it set to pull the text out of pdfs — but i don’t know how accurate that is, as i haven’t tried it.