I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with Gnome classic and am trying to create desktop shortcuts for applications on the Applications menu, so I can drag them to the bar on the bottom of the screen. This should be a fairly straight forward process but apparently not. Could anyone let me know how to do it?


You should be able to do it this way: Add desktop icons to KDE and GNOME

  • Right-click an empty spot on the desktop.
  • Select Create Launcher.
  • Select Application from the “Type” drop-down.
  • Give the launcher a name.
  • Click the browse button and search for the application you want to launch (or you can just enter the full path to the executable).
  • Click the Icon button (see Figure 1 – the “spring board” button) and search for an icon to use for the launcher (these will most likely be found in /usr/share/pixmaps).
  • Optionally, give the launcher a comment (for the mouse over).
  • Click OK
  • That’s it. After you click OK the launcher will be placed on the desktop for you.

Or as explained here: GNOME desktop basics


Gnome uses the free desktop specification. You need to create a desktop entry file and place it in the correct directory: http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Specifications/desktop-entry-spec

Update: the directory structure is here: http://standards.freedesktop.org/menu-spec/latest/ar01s02.html, more information on the XDG directory structure is here: http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Specifications/basedir-spec?action=show&redirect=Standards%2Fbasedir-spec

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    This covers the .desktop files themselves, but not where they should be placed in order to appear in the menu. Jul 25 '12 at 4:13

In Gnome-Legacy of Ubuntu 14.04, you can select a program from the menus, then Ctrl-click and drag it to the desktop or one of the panels.

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