Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Change Application Icons in Unity Launcher

Ubuntu 7

In this article, we will guide you through the process of changing application icons in the Unity launcher. This can be useful if you want to customize the look and feel of your desktop, or if you simply want to make your favorite applications stand out. The process involves locating or creating a new icon, copying it to the correct directory, and modifying an application’s desktop file.

Quick Answer

To change application icons in the Unity launcher, you need to locate or create a new icon, copy it to the appropriate directory, and modify the application’s desktop file. This allows you to customize the look and feel of your desktop and make your favorite applications stand out.

Prerequisites

Before we start, ensure that you have the following:

  • A Ubuntu system with the Unity desktop environment installed.
  • The icon you want to use for the application. It should be in a suitable format such as PNG.
  • Basic knowledge of terminal commands.

Step 1: Preparing the Icon

First, you need to find or create the icon you want to use. There are many resources online where you can find free icons, such as iconfinder.com. Alternatively, you can create your own using a graphics editor.

Once you have your icon, you need to copy it to the appropriate directory. In Ubuntu 11.10, the directory is ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor/. Inside this directory, you will find subdirectories for different icon sizes, such as 16x16/apps/, 32x32/apps/, and 48x48/apps/. Choose the appropriate size for your icon and copy the file there.

Step 2: Copying the Application’s Desktop File

Next, you need to copy the application’s desktop file to your local directory. A desktop file is a text file that specifies how an application should appear in the desktop’s menu. It also defines how the application should be launched.

Open a terminal and run the following command:

cp /usr/share/applications/appname.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Replace appname with the name of your application. For example, if you want to change the icon for Pidgin, the command would be:

cp /usr/share/applications/pidgin.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Step 3: Modifying the Desktop File

Now, you need to edit the desktop file to use your new icon. You can use any text editor you like, but for this example, we’ll use vi.

Enter the following command in the terminal:

vi ~/.local/share/applications/appname.desktop

Once again, replace appname with the name of your application.

Look for the line that starts with Icon=. This line specifies the icon that should be used for the application. Change it to the name of your new icon file, without the file extension. For example:

Icon=NewIcon

Save the changes and exit the text editor.

Step 4: Refreshing the Unity Launcher

Finally, you need to refresh the Unity launcher to see the updated icon. The easiest way to do this is to log out of your Ubuntu session and log back in. Once you’ve done that, you should see your new icon in the Unity launcher.

Conclusion

Changing application icons in the Unity launcher is a simple way to personalize your Ubuntu desktop. By following these steps, you can make your desktop look exactly the way you want it to. Remember, these instructions are specific to Ubuntu 11.10. If you are using a different version of Ubuntu, the directory paths or commands may vary.

Can I change the application icon for any application in the Unity launcher?

Yes, you can change the application icon for any application in the Unity launcher by following the steps outlined in this article.

What file format should the icon be in?

The icon should be in a suitable format such as PNG.

How do I find or create an icon to use?

You can find free icons online on websites like iconfinder.com. Alternatively, you can create your own using a graphics editor.

Can I use different icon sizes for different applications?

Yes, you can choose different icon sizes for different applications. The appropriate directory for each size can be found in ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor/.

Can I revert back to the original application icon?

Yes, you can revert back to the original application icon by deleting the modified desktop file from ~/.local/share/applications/ and refreshing the Unity launcher.

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