An alternative for simpler files is to use Nautilus file manager to create a link and move it to the desktop.
For your word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents you can navigate using Nautilus to the directory containing the file. Then right click on the the file and select
Make Link a new icon appears called
Link to filename. Grab this and drag it to your desktop.
Below is an animation for a word processing document called
eyesome.odt and a desktop link created for it:
After the link is dragged to the desktop, simply double click on it and the application associated with it automatically opens it.
Keyboard shortcut method Ctrl+Shift+Left-Click
A quicker method is to use Ctrl+Shift+Left-Click on the file and drag a copy to the desktop.
The subtle difference is the Desktop name is no longer "Link to filename" but simply "filename".