Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Let's say that, for example, I want to have Firefox on my desktop. Due to this bug, I can't just search for Firefox in the Dash and drag it onto my desktop. The proposed solution was to simply copy/paste the file. However, I just can't figure out how to do that.

I can search "Firefox" in the Dash and see the "Firefox Web Browser" application. However, when I right click it, it just opens a little dialog with an "uninstall" and "launch" option. I see no way to actually find out where the file is in order to copy and paste it to my desktop.

How can I find the path of an item (or open the item's location) that was found by searching the Dash?

share|improve this question
I can tell you where it is, not necessarily how to find it from the dash though.. Take a look in /usr/share/applications. It should be a .desktop file. Probably firefox.desktop. But then I must ask, why do you want desktop icons? Those are so Windows :P – Seth May 25 '14 at 3:23
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Directly from the dash you can't, in fact there's no call in place that allows you to do this. GNOME 3 doesn't either. So, where are these values stored? They are normally called "application.desktop" so to copy these to the desktop you only need:

➜  ~  locate gparted.desktop ## Find where it's
/usr/share/applications/gparted.desktop # This is the default path for installed applications 
➜  ~  cp /usr/share/applications/gparted.desktop ~/Desktop # Done

This will make a copy on the desktop of the .desktop file, and should be interpreted as a "shortcut" to the program.

More about this in the specification page for .desktop files:

share|improve this answer

Did some searching and came to the conclusion that this is, in fact, a bug in Unity and has been acknowledged by the Ubuntu developers - however, it doesn't seem as if anyone is currently working on it. Read more here.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.