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Creating a Desktop Entry to Launch a Python Script in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 19

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating a desktop entry to launch a Python script in Ubuntu. This can be a handy way to run your Python applications directly from the desktop, without having to open the terminal.

Quick Answer

To create a desktop entry to launch a Python script in Ubuntu, you need to create a .desktop file with the necessary metadata and command to execute the script. The file should include details such as the name, version, icon, and path to the Python script. After creating the file, make it executable and you’ll be able to launch the script by double-clicking on the desktop entry.

What is a Desktop Entry?

A desktop entry in Ubuntu is a file with a .desktop extension. It provides a convenient shortcut for launching applications from the desktop. A desktop entry file is a plain text file that specifies the metadata about an application such as the name, icon, and the command to execute the application.

Creating a Desktop Entry File

First, we need to create a new file with a .desktop extension. You can name this file according to the Python script you want to run. For example, if your script is named, you might name the file MyApp.desktop.

To create this file, open your terminal and navigate to the Desktop directory with the command:

cd ~/Desktop

Then, use the touch command to create the file:

touch MyApp.desktop

Editing the Desktop Entry File

Next, open the newly created file in a text editor. You can use any text editor you prefer, such as nano or gedit. For this example, we’ll use nano:

nano MyApp.desktop

In the file, you’ll need to add the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/python3 /path/to/
Comment=Description of MyApp

Here’s what each line does:

  • Name: The name of your application as it should appear on the desktop.
  • Version: The version number of your application.
  • Exec: The command to execute your Python script. /usr/bin/python3 is the path to the Python interpreter, and /path/to/ should be replaced with the actual path to your Python script.
  • Icon: The path to the icon for your application. Replace /path/to/MyApp.png with the path to your icon file.
  • Comment: A brief description of your application.
  • Type: The type of the desktop entry. In this case, it’s an application, so the type is Application.
  • Terminal: Whether the application should run in a terminal window. false means it will run without opening a terminal.
  • StartupNotify: Whether the desktop should show a notification when the application starts. false means no notification will be shown.
  • Categories: The category or categories under which the application should be listed in a menu (if applicable).

Making the Desktop Entry Executable

After saving the file, you’ll need to make it executable. You can do this with the chmod command:

chmod +x MyApp.desktop

The +x option tells chmod to add execution permissions to the file.

Wrapping Up

Now, you should be able to launch your Python script by double-clicking on the MyApp.desktop file on your desktop. If you encounter any issues, make sure the paths in the Exec and Icon lines are correct, and that your Python script is executable.

Remember, this is a basic example. Depending on your specific needs, you may need to customize the desktop entry file further. For more information on desktop entries, check out the Desktop Entry Specification on the website.

Creating a desktop entry to launch a Python script in Ubuntu is a great way to make your scripts more accessible and easier to run. With this guide, you should be able to create your own desktop entries and start launching your Python scripts from your desktop.

What is the purpose of creating a desktop entry for a Python script in Ubuntu?

Creating a desktop entry allows you to run your Python script directly from the desktop without needing to open the terminal. It provides a convenient shortcut for launching applications.

How do I create a desktop entry file?

To create a desktop entry file, you can use the touch command in the terminal. Navigate to the Desktop directory (cd ~/Desktop) and use touch followed by the desired filename and the .desktop extension. For example, touch MyApp.desktop will create a file named MyApp.desktop.

What should I include in the desktop entry file?

In the desktop entry file, you should include metadata such as the name, version, icon, and the command to execute the Python script. You can also add a brief description, specify the type as "Application," and customize other properties like whether it should run in a terminal or show a startup notification.

How do I make the desktop entry file executable?

After creating the desktop entry file, you can make it executable using the chmod command. In the terminal, navigate to the directory containing the file (cd ~/Desktop), and then use chmod +x followed by the filename. For example, chmod +x MyApp.desktop will make the file executable.

How do I launch the Python script using the desktop entry?

Once the desktop entry file is created and made executable, you can launch the Python script by simply double-clicking on the desktop entry file. This will execute the command specified in the Exec line of the desktop entry file and run your Python script.

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