How To Create Desktop Launchers in Ubuntu 11.10(Oneiric)

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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 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    How about a tutorial on how to add “create launcher” back to the right-click menu, like in previous versions?

  2. lonetree says:

    Why go trough the hassle? I don’t understand why Ubuntu make it this way. What’s the point of having a desktop space then?

  3. Goeldi says:

    Ubuntu is so braindead to introduce such a bullshit without any option. Up to and including 11.04 I promoted Ubuntu to beginners and windows users without any doubt.

    It’s a shame that now one has to go to a shell script class again to handle the desktop. Linux as in the nineties.


  4. csola48 says:

    How it is possible to remove an entry, a program from the Unity?

  5. drdec says:

    @csola48, if you mean the launcher bar, right-click the item. On the right-click menu will be a ‘Keep in launcher’ choice. Select that menu choice to uncheck it.

    If you want to uninstall a program completely, use the software center.

  6. ace says:

    I agree that it is totally braindead. There’s no way to just drag an icon onto your desktop from either the unity bar or the unity applications menu. This is stifling and extremely annoying. it is a total pain in the…

  7. Vasil Svetoslavov says:

    Having to install extra packages and typing at the command line (with no parameter auto completion!!!) just in order to create a shortcut? In 2011? You can’t be serious, Canonical! What the…

  8. DjBacon says:

    Totally agree. Since arrival of Unity, Ubuntu has mostly regressed for beginner users. I also consider to switch to other distro.

  9. beachcombe says:

    me too

  10. bard says:

    Me too.

  11. clombard says:

    What is with Ubuntu…11.10 has to be the worst distro I have seen in almost 10 years with Linux.
    Take aways, programs and menus that don’t work, plenty of glitches, etc. Also let’s remove a ScreenSaver and a “network” that can connect to a network and not see all connections (10.04 had no problem)…duh!!!!!!!!!
    11.10 is the “Vista” of Ubuntu!

  12. Tevano says:

    I just created a launcher on my desktop in a very easy way: Rightclick on the application and select “Make link”. In the same folder there will be a file named “Link to …”. Drag this file to your desktop.
    Done !

  13. Mauricio Inguanzo says:

    Ubuntu rocks! I like how they simplify the user experience without making it impossible. Great job and design I love it!

  14. Hanynowsky says:

    I myself use a lot the shortcut thing a lot. It will be reintegrated in Unity soon. 12.04.
    It is all about Unity philosophy that aims to optimize Desktop experience! Unity is now only 50% complete. Don’t be in a rush guys! It’s all coming!

  15. godfrey says:

    I’ve started using ubuntu two months ago with 11.04. I loved it and recommended to everyone. Now I hate 11.10. Just doesn’t allow me to do very basic things like swithcing from one application window to the other with one click, as I used to do in windows and 11.04. Why preventing me from creating quick launch icons? I found this version frustrating and fascist. sorry, I love people who devote their time to developing ubuntu, but please think of users as well! maybe this wordks fine for 5 year olds, but don’t forget the millions of people who are used to windows and previous versions of linux and who’d like to use it to WORK, not just playing games!

  16. Peter says:

    I tried to create a Launcher for the Launcher Creator, but nothing happens when I double-click on the icon. So how do I do this?

  17. Luis Villa says:

    Well having worked with Unix and Linux distributions including early ubuntu distros I cannot believe that in 2011 MS-Windows still kick every one back side. What is the matter with this ubuntu people. As soon as a distro approaches to a competitive product to MS-Win they bring a new version full of irritating asumptions a desktop (unity) which mut be product of some developers that lost touch with reality. Oneric must be the worst of all bad distros about. Will I recommend it to as alternative to Windows? definitely no. what a pity.

  18. tevano says:

    Hanynowsky, if it’s only 50% complete, why is it included in the distro? How can I tell people that Ubuntu is better then Windows when all kinds of halfbaked programs are released, when the old one worked perfectly? If we ever want to get rid of windows, we cannot afford for Ubuntu to be less then perfect. At the first not working as expected program people will run back to windows. I have seen this several times now. On top of that, the choice between Gnome and Unity is a matter of taste. I do not like that this choice is made for me and not by me.

  19. 7egazy says:

    gr8 🙂 worked with me

  20. Brian says:

    I have this brand new 11.10 car to sell you. It doesn’t have a steering wheel or tires yet, but marketing says that it’s time for its scheduled release.

    So please enjoy touring the countryside in it. The missing parts will be available next year in model 12.04 or 12.10.

    I promise.

  21. For internet says:

    The problem of these launchers is that you cannot use them from the web browser (e.g. Firefox), for example to attach files to email messages or to upload archives to sites like

    There is an easy solution:
    1. Open a terminal window
    2. Run ln -s /folder/of/destination ~/Desktop/nameofshortcut

    for example) ln -s /mystuff/music ~/Desktop/songs

    This way an icon appears at the desktop, with the image of a folder with an arrow below it, meaning a shortcut, instead of the spring or rocket of the launchers.

  22. ksh says:

    Make link to application is different from application launcher as it does not allow to pass parameters to application.

  23. Ed says:

    Worked through this tonight. The process involves understanding a few key issues.

    1) Creation of a valid .desktop file for your application in /usr/share/applications. The required format of the file is specified here:

    Note the required values in the table.

    2) Location of the actual executable under what is somehow seen as a “valid” path by the system. I’ve had success with /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin.
    The executable should have 731 permissions, (chmod 731).

  24. Ed says:

    Issues involving command line arguments can be resolved by using a script to launch the actual end-application.

  25. Ed says:

    This all assumes you have a custom application to add. The methods to manage standard, downloaded applications to the system are probably preferable.

  26. Ed says:

    Found out the “valid path” issue was not in fact the case.

    Here’s a script for the application case. Run the script with the name of the executable as the single argument.

    echo “[Desktop Entry]” > $1.desktop
    echo “Type=Application” >> $1.desktop
    echo “Name=$1” >> $1.desktop
    echo “Path=$PWD” >> $1.desktop
    echo “Exec=$PWD/$1” >> $1.desktop
    echo “Terminal=true” >> $1.desktop
    sudo cp -f $1.desktop /usr/share/applications
    sudo chmod 644 /usr/share/applications/$1.desktop

  27. Ed says:

    You can drop the Terminal line if it’s a non terminal application.

  28. Transisto says:

    You think I’ll have people run a command line to make a shortcut ?

    OMFG ! ,,,

    And BTW this side menu is close to useless, Right clicking on it = NOTHING , no option no nothing.

    Try right-clicking on windows taskbar.

  29. krivine says:

    [OT]Just downloaded 11.10 and installed in a VM. What a stinker! Slow, memory-hungry, and hard to find a shortcut even to open a terminal. I switched from Windows to Ubuntu when Hardy was out. I doubt I’d have come over if Unity had been out. When support for Lucid ends, I’ll probably switch again.

    I’ve looked at the latest Mint, which seems preferable to Oneiric, even if it’s not as good as what I’ve got now. [/OT]

    This page shows how to restore the ability to create a launcher by right-clicking the desktop:

    Written for Mint 12, it worked in my Oneiric.

  30. Dan says:

    Canonical? Are there any grownups over there? It’s only half finished? Now I understand why it’s only half as useful. Sadly I have a whole job to do and have given up. I had to go make up with MS. I hope Ubuntu slips and falls in the s… they’re shoveling. Lets see, in the last six weeks you deleted my samba users, changed my static Ip back to DHCP, shoved on me a new useless GUI, and now remove basic commands and features. I can’t spend a hour playing grab ass to create a simple icon. Really? Really? They need to hire some folks old enough to shave and maybe have worked in a real office somewhere. This isn’t just bad choices. It’s silly and childish. I would be willing to pay for a version if it worked the first time. You know, was finished I mean.

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