I am using Ubuntu 10.10 and having trouble setting a custom icon for an application launcher that I created. I have created and SVG file and placed it in /usr/shared/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/ and when I try to select it as the icon for the application launcher, it just goes back to the gnome-panel-launcher.svg default.

If I put the SVG file on my desktop and then select it, all is well. I'm assuming this is some type of permission problem, but I cannot seem to figure it out. I have set the permissions to be identical to the other icons in /usr/shared/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/, but have no luck doing that either.

  • Did you verify that YOUR user has read/write permissions to the scalable/apps folder? i mean same user, group, chmod permissions, chown permission. just to be 100% sure. Jan 19, 2011 at 18:46
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    @CYREX Your user does not need to have write permissions to any icon folder to use the icon in a launcher.
    – Isaiah
    Jan 19, 2011 at 18:48
  • @CYREX all of the icons and folders are owned by root, which is the default, and I am able to set any of the other icons for the application launcher.
    – Jared
    Jan 19, 2011 at 19:00
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    @CYREX First time I did sudo cp myicon.svg /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/. Then I did gksudo nautilus and copied it that way. Neither way worked for me.
    – Jared
    Jan 19, 2011 at 19:15
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    It may have something to do with the icon-finding behaviour. If you specify an icon in /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/ (and possibly other folders under apps/), it will search for that icon name in your current theme; I don't know what happens if it can't find it. What happens if you put it in /usr/share/pixmaps?
    – zpletan
    Jan 19, 2011 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


I think you also need to Provide PNG versions in 16x16,24x24,36x36,48x48 ect. folders. Not just scalable! Maybe you can try the ubuntu-mono-light and ubuntu-mono-dark folders :)

  • 1
    That seems to have worked. I didn't verify that you must also provide the PNG versions, but by placing it in a different folder, I was able to set the custom icon. Thanks for your help!
    – Jared
    Jan 19, 2011 at 20:52
  • No Problem I like to help :)
    – megubyte
    Jan 19, 2011 at 20:54
  • FYI I also had to grant full read permissions in order to get this to work (gou+r)
    – Coder Guy
    Aug 2, 2016 at 16:04

I had no luck with .png, but a 64x64 .jpg worked! (Ubuntu Trusty, Gnome)

YMMV, so this is what my system is:


Linux *** 4.4.0-83-generic #106~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Mon Jun 26 18:10:19 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

GNOME Shell 3.10.4

I had to kill gnome-panel to see the new icons on the panel:

ps aux | grep gnome-panel

shows you the PID:

me        2397  0.0  0.3 738108 56688 ?        Sl   Nov30   2:39 gnome-panel
me       22210  0.0  0.0  18420  2100 pts/43   S+   13:16   0:00 grep --color=auto gnome-panel


kill 2397

does the trick. The killed panel automatically restarts in seconds.

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