I am new to Linux and this may sound very dumb but I need to make a desktop icon on centos 7 but I don't know how to do it. I tried googling but I can't even find Launcher. Need help

  • centos7 comes with gnome3. The layouts are different. It doesn't have a old gnome2 like panel and launcher. You can configure a keyboard shortcut to minimize all windows- something like Super+D – WYSIWYG Sep 3 '14 at 8:33
  • On the left hand side you will see a panel. Or click on the activities tab on top left corner of the screen. Go to settings -> Keyboard -> shortcuts. There you can select the shortcut key for minimizing all windows. – WYSIWYG Sep 5 '14 at 4:59
  • You may not be interested in the program eclipse, but this video has been my source of knowledge. Note that you can also create desktop icons inside your Desktop folder in your home directory. – DJD Dec 30 '16 at 6:37

Use of GNOME3 is assumed.

Using a preexisting shortcut

Reference: How to add desktop shortcut icons in RHEL7 ? (2015) (registration required)

  1. Click on Home directory on desktop. The nautilus (file browser) window will open.

  2. Click the Computer tab in the left navigation panel, go to /usr/share/applications. All the applications icons will appear in the right browser window.

  3. Right click desired icon (Firefox, Contacts etc)

  4. After right clicking the icon, select Copy To in the context menu. A Select Destination will open up, pick Desktop folder in the left navigation panel (via left-click)

  5. Left-click the Select button on the bottom right of the window.

Using a symlink

This is an alternate technique that works as long as you know the path to the executable.

Simply create a symlink on the desktop pointing to the executable. For example:

$ ln -sv /full/path/to/executable ~/Desktop/
‘/home/someuser/Desktop/executable’ -> ‘/full/path/to/executable’

$ ll ~/Desktop/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 someuser someuser 57 Oct  1 19:31 executable -> /full/path/to/executable

The above step can actually also be done graphically using the Files application. To do it this way, browse to the executable, right-click, and select Make Link. Drag and drop the newly created link to the Desktop.

Next, graphically customize the shortcut's icon. It is not clear where this customization is stored since the shortcut is still just a symlink.

  • What if I need to run a program with an additional argument? e.g., /usr/local/MATLAB/bin/matlab -desktop ... Do i just have to create a small script that calls the program with the argument, and link to the script instead? – Elijah Rockers Apr 26 '17 at 14:43
  • 2
    Answered my own question: Go to /usr/share/applications and create a .desktop file there. You can copy one of the existing files and just replace the relevant information the program, including the command with arguments. Then you can make a copy of that to your desktop. This is the proper way, I believe. – Elijah Rockers Apr 26 '17 at 15:51

In this document Click means click twice


  1. Click on Home directory on desktop. The file browser window will open.

  2. Click the Computer tab in the left navigation panel, go to /usr/share/applications. All the applications icons will appear in the right browser window.

  3. Right click desired icon (Firefox, Contacts, Terminal etc)

  4. After right clicking the icon, select Copy To in the menu.

  5. Select Copy Destination will open up, pick Home folder in the left navigation panel (via left-click)

  6. Pick Desktop from the right hand panel - double click

  7. Left-click the Select button on the top right of the window.

Try this for creating short-cut/launcher on GNOME 3 Desktop

Note: I'm using CentOS 7 running Gnome 3 Desktop.

  1. Open a terminal
  2. Goto Desktop directory (/home/$yourname/Desktop/)
  3. Create a desktop file (touch appName.desktop)
  4. Open the file and add the following content to the file (vi appName.desktop)

[Desktop Entry]

Version=1.0

Type=Application

Terminal=true

Exec=/home/$YOURNAME/apps/scilab-6.0.0/bin/scilab

Name=scilab

Comment=

Icon=/home/$YOURNAME/apps/scilab-6.0.0/share/icons/hicolor/32x3/apps/scilab.png

Comment[en_US.utf8]=

Name[en_US]=Scilab 6.0

  1. Change file permission to 755 (chmod 755 appName.desktop)

Variable value:

Terminal= This is value is either true or false (depending on your application requirement). If it's a terminal dependency application, then true else false.

Exec=path to your application executable

Icon=path to your app icon file (.png or .svg)

Name[en_US]=The name that will display on your desktop under the icon

Shortcuts to panel do not work in CentOS 7.

As a work round I have been able to get something working but not ideal. Gnome 3 seems to be a backward step from user customability point of view.

Install gnome-shell-frippery which modies ~/.local and you can configure using Utilities -> Tweak Took from "Applications Menu".
Also you can copy /usr/share/applications .desktop file and copy to ~/Desktop for shortcut & ~/.local/share/applications to make it appear in "Applications Menu" for that user only /usr/share/applications for system wide in "Applications Menu" ~/.local/share/applications for local to that user only.
You can also modify *.desktop files in /usr/share/applications and put in users ~/.Desktop folder as a desktop shortcut.

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