November 9, 2011 · General · Email This Post

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In previous version of Ubuntu, you can create shortcuts to your favorite applications and system locations right on the desktop. These shortcuts are the desktop launchers to quickly launch your favorite applications and system locations such as firefox,Home folder. But, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot does not allow you to create desktop launchers by right clicking on the desktop like in the previous Ubuntu versions.This tutorial will explain how to Create Desktop Launchers in Ubuntu 11.10

First you need to install gnome-panel package using the following command from your terminal

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-panel

Create new launcher

Open the terminal and run the following command

gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

This will open create laucher dialog box here you can give a suitable name for the launcher.In the Command field , type in the command to launch the application Then, click OK to create the desktop launcher.


We will create nautilus launcher open the terminal and run the following command

gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

This will open create laucher dialog box here you can give a suitable name for the launcher and in the command field enter nautilus and click ok

You can see it will create shortcut on desktop

If you want to add to launcher just Drag it on to launcher

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59 Comments to “How To Create Desktop Launchers in Ubuntu 11.10(Oneiric)”

  1. brianoh says:

    Well, I wont jump on the bandwaggon and complain, but how can I add to launcher and not have on desktop as well? If I add to launcher and remove from desktop, it also deletes from launcher.


    htunca Reply:

    move the launcher file from the ~/Desktop folder to some other folder. Then use nautilus, open the folder you put the launcher file in, drag and drop it onto the launcher.


  2. brianoh says:

    Thanks for the post on creating a shortcut. I previously had a shortcut on the desktop for Eclipse. I moved Eclipse, and could not alter the location, so I used your instructions and created a new shortcut. It does not however show the Eclipse icon which the previous shortcut did show. Can this be done (show icon)?


    papa Reply:

    if you click icon in the create launcher, it allows you to enter or browse to your icon file


  3. papa says:


    Exactly what I needed.

    Just one little thing. When I launch the shell script that strats the application it creates a second icon in the launcher. When the app closes it disappears again.

    Can I avoid this?



    BrianMCollins Reply:

    Yea, me too – at least with Eclipse.

    If there is an answer for this, I’d really like to hear it!


  4. luckyme says:

    Why would they delete this feature anyway?? This kind of annoying


  5. Brendan says:

    Why is Ubuntu choosing to go backwards by removing this deature?


  6. Stefan says:

    I can’t get this to work:

    gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ –create-new

    I get:

    file:///home/stefan/Desktop does not have a .desktop or .directory suffix


  7. dj_palindrome says:

    luckyme and Brendan:

    It’s upstream (GNOME) rather than Ubuntu (or Debian).

    Sadly, they really do believe that removing the ability to do things such as this is being faithful to the purity of their new desktop paradigm.

    Only when their corporate masters (Red Hat) think otherwise will this change.


  8. James says:

    You’re retarded. Why would I want an icon on my desktop AND on the launcher. MORON


  9. Bruno says:

    Linux for the masses, huh?

    THIS is what makes my and my clients job so much more difficult (i try to sell new computers with open source alternatives preinstalled). The absence of features like this just scares people away.

    I unlike many others like unity, thou it took a whilr to get used to, but many things became so much more difficult…


  10. cfcdaz says:

    Hi every time i try to do this it asks for my password and then it wont take my password the cursor just flashes ? can you help.


  11. dyrby76 says:

    Right Click on Applications

    Edit Menus

    Find the place you want to add the new Launcher

    Click New Item

    Enter the information for your new Launcher

    Click Close

    Open Applications and browse to the Launcher you added.

    Drag it to the Desktop


  12. ashish says:

    when i run this:
    # gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ –create-new

    i found:
    # gnome-desktop-item-edit: file:///root/Desktop does not have a .desktop or .directory suffix

    i could not creat my own shoortcut on desktop,
    plz reply if any one knew the solution of this problem


    donovan Reply:

    look at it this way:


    where ^ is a space

    those who left out the space overlooked that.


  13. ashish says:

    when i run this:
    # gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ –create-new

    i found:
    # gnome-desktop-item-edit: file:///root/Desktop does not have a .desktop or .directory suffix

    i also fed up with this problem


    sufleR Reply:

    It’s because you don’t have ~/Desktop/ (name of your desktop) folder.
    I think that you have Ubuntu installed with your national language. In my system it’s called ~/Pulpit/ for example.


  14. Ulysses28 says:

    Thank you.


  15. rahul says:

    thank u so much now ,onwards i will be an die hard linux-UBUNTU follower .


  16. Kechla says:

    On Ubuntu 13.04 Gnome Fallback, clicking and dragging the shortcut from the Applications onto the panel worked just fine.


  17. JoeH says:

    This method to create a launch icon works great! That is once I find out where the item is that I want to run. ;-)

    I would like to go one step further and create an object to run this as well, so I don’t have to open a terminal and type in that long string.

    The best I have been able to do so far is create something that flashes a terminal window and then closes, but I don’t get the entry window.


  18. JoeH says:

    Apparently, when I tried to add my question earlier and then correct my email address, I ended up with only a comment about the earlier incorrect address. So I’ll try to get it right this time.

    The description of how to create the launcher works just fine. I would like to go one step further, and create a launcher object on the desktop without having to switch to terminal and typing in the string which is prone to typos.

    I tried creating a file with that string in it, and created a launcher for it, first with no extension, and then later with .sh and .desktop extensions. I also tried it simply by typing in that string as the command to be executed.

    But so far I either get a message about not being able to start the application or I get a brief flash of a terminal window and nor new create launcher window.

    I’m very new to Ubuntu Linux, so I’m not familiar with where things belong and how to access them.



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