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How To Find the Path to an Application in Ubuntu Launcher

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In this article, we will explore how to find the path to an application in the Ubuntu launcher. This can be useful in various scenarios, such as when you need to modify an application’s properties, troubleshoot issues, or simply understand where your applications are stored.

Understanding Ubuntu’s Application Paths

Before we dive into the methods, it’s important to understand that Ubuntu applications can be stored in different locations. The most common directories are /usr/share/applications and ~/.local/share/applications. The former is for system-wide applications available to all users, while the latter is for applications installed by the current user.

Method 1: Using the GUI

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) provides a user-friendly way to find the path to an application.


  1. Open the file explorer and navigate to the /usr/share/applications or ~/.local/share/applications directory.
  2. Locate the application you’re interested in. The application’s icon should be visible.
  3. Right-click on the application icon and select “Properties”.
  4. In the properties window, you will see the path to the application.

This method is simple and doesn’t require the use of terminal commands. However, it may not always provide the exact path, especially if there are user-specific .desktop files in different locations.

Method 2: Dragging the Icon into the Terminal

This method involves using the terminal, but it’s still quite straightforward.


  1. Open the terminal.
  2. Search for the application in the Dash or the application launcher.
  3. Drag the application’s icon from the launcher into the terminal. The terminal will automatically display the application’s full path.

This method is quick and allows for easy dragging and dropping of files/folders onto the application. However, it may not work in all versions of Ubuntu.

Method 3: Using the whereis Command

The whereis command is a powerful tool in Ubuntu that can help you find the location of an application.


  1. Open the terminal.
  2. Type whereis application-name (replace application-name with the name of the application you’re interested in).
  3. Press Enter. The output will display the path to the executable file, as well as other related files and directories.

In this command, whereis is a utility that locates the binary, source, and manual page files for a command, and application-name is the name of the application you’re trying to find.

This method provides a command-line approach to finding the application’s path, which can be useful for users who prefer using the terminal or when the GUI methods are not suitable.


Finding the path to an application in Ubuntu can be achieved through several methods, each with its own advantages. Whether you prefer using the GUI or the terminal, these methods should provide you with the information you need. Always remember to replace application-name with the actual name of the application you’re looking for, and note that some applications may be stored in different directories depending on whether they’re installed system-wide or for a specific user.

For more information on Ubuntu commands and file system, you can visit the Ubuntu documentation.

Can I use these methods to find the path to any application in Ubuntu?

Yes, these methods can be used to find the path to any application installed in Ubuntu, regardless of whether it’s a system-wide application or installed by a specific user.

What if I can’t find the application in the `/usr/share/applications` or `~/.local/share/applications` directories?

If you can’t find the application in these directories, it’s possible that the application is installed in a different location or it doesn’t have a .desktop file. In such cases, you may need to search for the application’s executable file using the whereis command or consult the application’s documentation for more specific instructions.

Can I modify an application’s properties using these methods?

No, these methods only help you find the path to the application. To modify an application’s properties, you would typically need to access its settings within the application itself or use specialized tools provided by the application developer.

Are there any other ways to find the path to an application in Ubuntu?

Yes, there are other methods as well. For example, you can use the which command followed by the application name to find the path to the executable file. Additionally, you can search for the application in the Ubuntu Software Center or use the dpkg -L command to list the files installed by a package.

Can I use these methods in other Linux distributions?

While these methods are specifically tailored for Ubuntu, they may also work in other Linux distributions that use the same underlying technologies. However, the exact file locations and commands may vary, so it’s always recommended to consult the documentation or support resources specific to your distribution.

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