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How to quickly create a Launcher entry for a certain command, e.g. sudo <command>?

I remember older Linux (Ubuntu and others) distributions where I could right-click the panel (or desktop) and select "Create Launcher".

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Do you mean add a second command to a pre-existing Launcher entry or a new entry? – Dennis Feb 16 '13 at 12:18
Adding it for a new command is sufficient. – Mike L. Feb 16 '13 at 12:24

Unity Launcher editor

You can use Unity Laucher Editor to create and modify launcher icons using only a GUI. Keep in mind that the status of this application is experimental; expect some glitches.

To install it, run the following command from a terminal:

sudo apt-get install bzr && cd && bzr branch lp:unity-launcher-editor

Once installed, you can run it by pressing Alt + F2 and executing



Traditional approach

Create a new launcher item

  1. Install gnome-panel using the Software Center or with the command

    sudo apt-get install gnome-panel
  2. Press Alt + F2 and execute the command

    gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/.local/share/applications
  3. Depending on the application, choose either Application and gksudo <command> or Application in terminal and sudo <command>.

  4. Open Nautilus, press Ctrl + L and go to

  5. Drag the newly created .desktop file to the launcher.

Add a command to an existing launcher item

  1. Search for the launcher icon's .desktop file; it's usually in one one these two folders:

  2. Press Alt + F2 and execute the command

    gedit <.desktop file>
  3. Add the following line to [Desktop Entry].


    If an Actions= line already exists, append sudo; to it.

  4. At the end of the file, add the following:

    [Desktop Action sudo]
    Name=Run as Root
    Exec=gksudo <command>
  5. Save the modified .desktop file in ~/.local/share/applications. If the original file is in a different folder, remove the old launcher icon (right-click, Unlock from Launcher) and drag the new file to the launcher.

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Thank you very much. One related question: ~/.gnome/apps also seems to contain similar .desktop files. Is this for backward compatibility? – Mike L. Feb 16 '13 at 15:25
I've tried to create an item with the command gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/.local/share/applications, but unfortunately, it fails to launch. :( Other commands like gksudo truecrypt work. – Mike L. Feb 16 '13 at 15:30
1. Do or did you have GNOME installed? I don't even have a ~/.gnome directory on my computer... 2. Try to run it from a terminal to see why it fails. – Dennis Feb 16 '13 at 15:31
Regarding Gnome - I have the standard Ubuntu 12.04 installed, so I guess, that Gnome is not installed. Launching the command from the Terminal works fine. – Mike L. Feb 16 '13 at 15:49
Interesting. I have Ubuntu 12.04 as well. Maybe some application you installed had that path hardcoded... I've edited my answer to add a GUI-based approach. – Dennis Feb 16 '13 at 15:53

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