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I have searched here and elsewhere at length and found several good looking suggestions, but none of them have helped.

I use 11.04 and despite my efforts to line up my icons in a pleasing & neat line they are all up/down & right/left jagged instead of simply straight.

This is an annoyance which would be worth adding a separate program for if there is such a thing ?!


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marked as duplicate by Mateo, Eric Carvalho, Ravan, Charles Green, hg8 Nov 30 '15 at 8:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

So, does the "Keep aligned" option when you right-click on the desktop not do it well enough? – Marty Fried Jun 17 '12 at 4:11
It does not appear to work at all. The messiness stays the same. – mark Jun 17 '12 at 4:16
I see... it aligns them vertically, but not horizontally. One problem with horizontal alignment is that icons are different sizes, with different number of lines of text, so it's hard to standardize. You can align them on the first line of text, the top of the icon, the bottom of the text, etc. I can't even make it look aligned myself, much less expect the system to decide. :) – Marty Fried Jun 17 '12 at 4:20

Right-clicking on the background, you see the Keep Aligned option. Left-clicking on it toggles it on and off.

With it off, drag your icons where you want them. Toggling it on, the system will try to align them as best it can. Repeat until you are satisfied with the effect. Then leave it OFF and you will likely hold the effect the next time you log in. If you leave it ON, the icons will likely get all scrambled again.

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I'm facing this problem too. I have set my download manager to save all downloaded files on the desktop and when I look at the desktop, it's a mess! Currently the simplest solution I have came up with is that when you drag each icon just a little bit and then release it, then they will align fine!

Clearly this is not a fast and easy solution when the desktop is crowded with a lot of messy icons but if you only have a handful of mis-placed icons, this will do fine.

Hope it helps :)

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As my comment said, this only aligns them vertically, no horizontally. Also, it assumes you have checked "Keep Aligned". Why don't you use the Downloads folder for your downloads? You could create a single link on your desktop, if desired, and not worry about alignment. – Marty Fried Jun 17 '12 at 5:39

you can align/save/restore the desktop icons on 14.04 if you are using nautilus as your file manager ... There is a script/app to do this .. Just download Happy Desktop at The script can align the desktop icons to a grid that you define by setting the number of icons per row and icons per column you would like for your desktop. The icon positions are then adjusted to the nearest grid points. It's free!

This solution will not work on 11.04 or 12.04 ... but works very well on 14.04.

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