Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Add Custom Applications to GNOME 3 Launcher

Ubuntu 2

In this article, we will guide you through the process of adding custom applications to the GNOME 3 launcher. This can be done using three different methods: using the Main Menu utility, manually creating a .desktop file, or using the gnome-desktop-item-edit command.

Quick Answer

To add custom applications to the GNOME 3 launcher, you can use the Main Menu utility, manually create a .desktop file, or use the gnome-desktop-item-edit command. Each method allows you to specify the application’s name, command, and optional icon.

Using the Main Menu Utility

The Main Menu utility, also known as alacarte, is a straightforward way to add custom applications to the GNOME 3 launcher. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Install Main Menu: If you don’t already have the Main Menu utility installed, you can install it by opening the terminal and running the following command: sudo apt-get install alacarte. The sudo command allows you to run commands with the security privileges of the superuser, which is necessary for installing software.
  2. Open Main Menu: Once installed, you can open Main Menu from your applications menu.
  3. Create a new launcher: In the Main Menu, select the category where you want your launcher to appear, and click on the “New Item” button. This will open a dialog box where you can create a new launcher.
  4. Enter launcher details: Provide the name of the application, the command to run it, and an optional icon. The command should be the full path to the application’s executable file.
  5. Save the launcher: Click on the “OK” button to save the launcher. It will now appear in the GNOME 3 launcher.

Manually Creating a .desktop File

If you prefer to work directly with configuration files, you can manually create a .desktop file to add a custom application to the GNOME 3 launcher. Here’s how:

  1. Create a .desktop file: Create a new text file with a .desktop extension, for example, MyApp.desktop.
  2. Edit the .desktop file: Open the .desktop file in a text editor and add the following content:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=My App
    Exec=/path/to/executable
    StartupNotify=true
    Terminal=false
    Type=Application
    Icon=/optional/path/to/icon.png
    Replace /path/to/executable with the full path to your application’s executable file. Optionally, you can also specify a path to an icon file for the launcher.
  3. Save and move the .desktop file: Save the .desktop file and move it to either /usr/share/applications or ~/.local/share/applications. The former location will make the application available to all users, while the latter will make it available only to the current user.

Using the gnome-desktop-item-edit Command

The gnome-desktop-item-edit command provides a graphical interface for creating .desktop files. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open a terminal: Open a terminal window from the applications menu.
  2. Run the gnome-desktop-item-edit command: In the terminal, run the following command: gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new. This will open a dialog box where you can create a new launcher.
  3. Enter launcher details: As with the Main Menu method, you will need to provide the name of the application, the command to run it, and an optional icon.
  4. Save the launcher: Click on the “OK” button to save the launcher. It will appear on your desktop, and you can drag it to the GNOME 3 launcher.

In conclusion, adding custom applications to the GNOME 3 launcher is a simple process that can be done in several ways. Whether you prefer using a graphical interface or working directly with configuration files, GNOME provides the tools you need to customize your launcher.

How do I install the Main Menu utility?

To install the Main Menu utility, open the terminal and run the command sudo apt-get install alacarte. This will install the utility on your system.

How do I open the Main Menu utility?

Once installed, you can open the Main Menu utility from your applications menu. Look for an icon or search for "Main Menu" in the search bar.

Where can I find the Main Menu utility after installation?

After installation, you can find the Main Menu utility in your applications menu. It may be located under a category like "System Tools" or "Utilities."

Can I add an optional icon to the launcher?

Yes, you can add an optional icon to the launcher. When creating a new launcher using the Main Menu utility or manually creating a .desktop file, you can specify the path to an icon file. Make sure to provide the full path to the icon file in the Icon field of the .desktop file.

How do I move the .desktop file to the appropriate location?

To move the .desktop file to the appropriate location, you can use the mv command in the terminal. For example, if your .desktop file is named MyApp.desktop and you want to move it to the /usr/share/applications directory, you can run the command sudo mv MyApp.desktop /usr/share/applications. Remember to use the sudo command to run the command with superuser privileges if necessary.

Can I make the custom application launcher available to all users?

Yes, you can make the custom application launcher available to all users by moving the .desktop file to the /usr/share/applications directory. This directory contains system-wide application launchers that are accessible to all users on the system.

Can I make the custom application launcher available only to the current user?

Yes, you can make the custom application launcher available only to the current user by moving the .desktop file to the ~/.local/share/applications directory. This directory contains user-specific application launchers that are accessible only to the current user.

How do I open a terminal in GNOME?

To open a terminal in GNOME, you can either search for "Terminal" in the applications menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T. This will open a new terminal window where you can run commands and execute the necessary steps to add custom applications to the GNOME 3 launcher.

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