How can you create desktop shortcuts for folders in Ubuntu 20.04? I can't see the "Make link" button when I right-click on it.

  • Right click a folder. Select "Star". Then when you need to go there quickly use any Nautilus window and click "Starred" on the left menu. It will show you your favorites.
    – H2ONaCl
    Feb 9, 2021 at 3:33

3 Answers 3


Took a while to figure it out. But try these four easy steps.

  1. Search for a program called "Files" and open it twice.
    To open the second window, right click the Files icon and choose "New Window".
    You should now have two windows open showing your home directory in both of them. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here
  2. In the first window, head to your Desktop.
  3. In the second window, go to the directory that has the folder that you want to create a shortcut with.

    Below, my Desktop is to the left and the folder that I want to copy to the desktop is to the right. (Movies) enter image description here
  4. Two ways to do this from here...
  • In the second window (Movies), while holding down the Shift and Ctrl key together, click, drag and drop the folder into the first window. (your Desktop window)


  • Just hold down the alt key only and then click, drag and drop the folder into the Desktop window.

  • The only difference between the two is that the first choice will create the shortcut link automatically. [Ctrl + shift]
    The second choice will bring up a menu and you click on 'Create Link'. [alt only, no shift]

  • Done. You should now see the shortcut to that folder on your Desktop. enter image description here
  • 2
    Thanks Bro! It works perfectly! Oct 4, 2020 at 0:32
  • 3
    Much more helpful than the accepted answer. Thanks!
    – Peter
    Apr 25, 2021 at 23:27
  • 1
    its work for me, thanks ! Apr 30, 2021 at 17:21
  • 1
    Works fine. Thanks Jun 15, 2021 at 0:01
  • It's 2021 and we can't create a shortcut easily in Ubuntu. This is crazy !
    – Aminos
    Dec 5, 2021 at 20:23

I managed to create the Link to folder. Select a folder for which you want to create the link. Hold Alt (left Alt in my case) button and drag this folder to Desktop or any other location you want. I had two File Manager windows side by side. After you complete you action a dialog window will appear with actions to select from: "Make link", "Move" or "Copy". Select the "Make link" and you done. Good luck.


In Ubuntu 20.04, a (rather new) Gnome Shell extension "Desktop Icons" manages the desktop instead of the file manager, Nautilus. The extension still is limited and offers basic functionality. Another current limitation is that you cannot yet drag and drop from Files to the Desktop and vice versa.

For now, create your desktop items in the File Manager, in the Desktop folder. You can place your links there. They will appear on the desktop, and there you can move them to the place you want.

When working with program launchers, they will appear in first instance as white text icons on the desktop. To make them functional, right-click the icon on the desktop and select "Allow launching".

  • How can I add a link to a folder from a separate partition to the desktop?
    – VidathD
    May 5, 2020 at 14:14
  • Same method if you can write on the separate partition. Then move the link where you want it (and eventually rename it). If you do not have write permissions: Hold Ctrl+Shift pressed and drag to the target location.
    – vanadium
    May 5, 2020 at 16:01
  • Sorry. I don't know how to make a link!
    – VidathD
    May 5, 2020 at 16:47
  • Still you referred to the "Make link" option in your question? That is one way to make links, using the "Make link" option in the right-click menu. That option needs to be enabled in the options: the option is not there by default.
    – vanadium
    May 5, 2020 at 19:12
  • Wow... Just "wow". Ubuntu 20 and this is still not implemented. It's small things like this that all together make Linux unusable.
    – anton1980
    Apr 19, 2021 at 4:13

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