How can I make a bash script executable by double clicking just like .exe files in Windows? I tried creating a launcher and assigning the script to it, but there are two consequences:

  1. the terminal twinkles, disappears, and nothing is done.
  2. you must specify to run in terminal in order to work.

I have a script that installs tomcat on an offline PC, including all dependencies of tomcat in the script. I need to make the script work on double clicking like windows since most who use the script will not be familiar with Ubuntu.

Forget the above explanation. I want to make a script that can be run by double-clicking on it, without using the terminal. Anybody knows how?

10 Answers 10


I tested this and it worked fine. Ensure your script begins with the correct shebang, e.g. #!/usr/bin/env bash .

Then follow these steps:

  • Hit Alt+F2 to run a command.
  • Type dconf-editor and hit Enter.
  • In dconfg-editor go to: org ➤ gnome ➤ nautilus ➤ preferences
  • Click on executable-text-activation and from drop down menu select:

    launch: to launch scripts as programs.
    ask: to ask what to do via a dialog.


  • Close dconf-editor. Thats it!

Alternative way, using terminal: Run:

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences executable-text-activation 'launch'

Note: The file should be executable. You may also need to change permission of file. Right click and set "Allow executing file as program"



  • This worked great. Just a note, the "drop down menu" is reached by clicking on the value listed to the right of executable-text-activation (default value is display). – ryanjdillon Aug 14 '13 at 10:50
  • 5
    for those who cannot call the app, you need to install it first with sudo apt-get install dconf-editor – whale_steward Mar 14 '15 at 6:35
  • 1
    This works everywhere except on the Desktop. How can I make it work on the Desktop as well? I'm using Xubuntu 14.10. – shrx Mar 28 '15 at 17:17
  • Is there a way to do this in LXDE (for Lubuntu)? – childofsoong May 2 '15 at 20:05
  • This works great under slax unix to -- see slax.org for the really great Unix system you can boot off of a thumb drive. – raddevus Dec 5 '15 at 22:42

On Nautilus (AKA Files)

  1. Go to Files (Edit on Unity (17.04 or below)) > Preferences > Behavior tab


  2. Change the settings for executable text file.


  • 3
    Now 'Files -> Preferences'. (17.04) – niry Sep 27 '17 at 20:23
  • Sweet! The way to go imho. – codepleb Oct 12 '17 at 6:11
  • How to see output ? – Amr Lotfy Aug 29 '18 at 1:00

In Ubuntu and all Unix based OSes, afaik, nothing is set as executable by default. There are two ways of doing this.

  1. Right click on the script or file you want to execute. Go to Properties then to the Permissions Tab. Click the check box that says Execute.

  2. Open a Terminal cd into the directory where the file is found. Type chmod ugo+x filename. This will set the file to execute.

Now your users can double click to their hearts content.

  • 2
    It still will ask you what to do with run in terminal or display or run ... So its not what i need – user61928 May 19 '12 at 6:34
  • Only this answer worked on Gnome Ubuntu 17.04 for making desktop file executeable – Kunok Apr 14 '17 at 21:06
  • This is for executing file on terminal, not by double clicking it. – DimiDak Mar 26 at 14:37

I think creating a *.desktop file is missing here:

$ cat shortcut-for-my-script.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=gnome-terminal -e "bash -c './script.sh;$SHELL'"

If you create more than one *.desktop file for one script you are able to create multiple configurations by passing different parameters, which is a very comfortable and user-friendly way.

  • 1
    This the best answer for Ubuntu. Note that you may not (or probably do not?) need to specify Terminal=True and Exec=gnome-terminal unless you are literally creating a shortcut for a script that you want to see the output of within a terminal window... Also note that you can point Icon to whatever custom png you might want... – BuvinJ Mar 20 at 12:52

If you're using XFce then you can make script executed in Thunar by executing this command:

xfconf-query --channel thunar --property /misc-exec-shell-scripts-by-default \
             --create --type bool --set true

or by using gui xfce4-settings-editor and creating the same properties.

Run xfce4-settings-editor, then enter:

  • /misc-exec-shell-scripts-by-default

  • Boolean

  • TRUE

picture of xfce4-settings-editor

  • Here on how to achieve the purpose with custom actions in Thunar (without re-enabling that "risky" feature). – cipricus Sep 2 at 12:38
  • Also here on how to use Zenity and get a question "Edit or Run?" – cipricus Sep 2 at 13:14

You have to check 3 points :


When you create a launch in Desktop to a SHEL script or Whatever, in command line, don't forget to signal the script, to be executed in background.

The script will die when he finished is job.

  • 1
    i did that but what prob is the terminal just twinkles and nothing happens – user61928 May 19 '12 at 6:36

Based on umask defualt value, you haven't execute permissions for files by default and must change mod to gain execute permissions, something like this:

chmod u+x filename
  • 1
    Broth Ali sure i did it its obvious to do that – user61928 May 19 '12 at 6:35

As a complement to the answer about Thunar: that answer would re-enable a previous feature of Thunar to execute scripts on double click. But that feature was considered a security risk.

To avoid that, maybe the most elegant solution is to get a pop-up window with a question like "What do you want to with that file: Run or edit?" (similar to what you have in other file managers like PCManFM and Nemo) when clicking that file - by using Zenity: here.

An alternative would be custom actions, perhaps the best feature Thunar has.

The command that I use for running an executable text file is sh -c %f, for a custom action called "Run/Execute script".

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The appearance conditions are simply "text":

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A similar command can be used for running in terminal a such script ("Run in terminal"), while keeping the Xfce4 terminal open:

xfce4-terminal -H -x %f

enter image description here

Optionally, and maybe preferably, in order to hide such options for all text files except the executable ones, a way is to restrict appearance use to .sh files (or .py files if the case, etc), under "Appearance conditions":

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-- before renaming the executable files accordingly.


Specially for Android Studio You can follow my original answer here:

To Create Desktop Launcher:

  • Click on Create Desktop Entry.. from Tools menu.

enter image description here

  • It will be prompt for password, enter password of your current login.

  • Finally it will be display notification in Android Studio screen like:

enter image description here

  • You can see in Applications => Programming => Android Studio, and you may see on desktop also after restarting system.

Thank you. :)

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