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How do you create a custom application launcher in Gnome Shell?

I have a local Eclipse installation that I'd like to be to quickly launch. So I created a symlink to the eclipse binary and placed it on my desktop. If I open a terminal, cd to ~/Desktop and run ./eclipse it starts Eclipse perfectly. However, if I click the Eclipse icon on my desktop, and choose run, nothing happens.

Alternatively, I wouldn't mind being able to search for Eclipse on the "Activities" screen, but I can't find any documentation on adding or registering custom applications.

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up vote 70 down vote accepted

Try to create a eclipse.desktop file under /usr/share/applications (or ~/.local/share/applications or directly in ~/Desktop) with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Eclipse IDE

You can choose another category, too. For additional information:

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Thanks. The only problem I ran into, which the docs don't mention, is that the file has to be executable if you place it in ~/Desktop. Otherwise it just shows up as an ordinary text file and isn't launchable or rendered with the right icon. – Cerin Mar 12 '12 at 17:35
You might find that you need to restart gnome3 for this to take effect, especially the icon. If so, run Alt+F2, type r in the box, and press enter. – mlissner Nov 18 '15 at 23:33

If you want a list of custom launchers you can access from the panel you could use the MyLauncher extension. MyLauncher Gnome Shell Extension

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