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How can I add new programs to the launcher (or the dock in Ubuntu 17.10 and later) in Ubuntu?

85

The other portion if I understand you correctly should be pretty simple. Just launch the application you want to attach to the "start menu" or rather dock panel, side bar, but officially it is called the "Launcher" and right click the icon and select "Add to Favorites", or if you are running an older version of Ubuntu with Unity 7 select "Lock to Launcher".

Depending on your version of Ubuntu select the method below.

On Ubuntu 17.10 and later (with GNOME 3) select "Add to Favorites":

enter image description here

Alternatively, on Ubuntu 17.10 and later, click the "Show Applications" icon, browse to the icon of the program you want to add, right click the program icon and you will see the option "Add To Favorites". Selecting that option places the icon in the dock.

Before Ubuntu 17.10 (with Unity) select "Lock to Launcher"

enter image description here

Method 2:

You can also drag applications directly from the Dash (or the 'Show Applications' list / 'Activities' overview on Ubuntu 17.10 and later) into the launcher/dock.

  • 3
    There's a wrinkle here for applications that run in a terminal (e.g. iPython), since they appear in the launcher as a terminal rather than with their own icon. However, you can simply drag the icon from the dash into the launcher. – Ned Sep 12 '13 at 11:04
  • I tried this trick but when I closed the application, the launch button disappeared from launcher and I have to start my application from the terminal again. Please help. – Marta Cz-C Jul 29 '14 at 11:18
  • This didn't work for me. The icons didn't persist when I rebooted. The other answer fixed the problem – k_g Feb 3 '16 at 5:55
  • 2
    this fails on Ubuntu 18.04 – Scott Stensland Mar 4 '18 at 13:37
  • 5
    The only thing I see on Ubuntu 18.04 is a window list and Quit when I right-click. – Michael Mior May 17 '18 at 17:13
135

To add applications to the Dash (then you press the windows key), Go to ~/.local/share/applications and create your .desktop files there.

For example:

  • Open Nautilus (also called Files (the file manager))
  • Browse to ~/.local/share/applications (ctrl + h to show hidden folders/files)
  • Right click and choose create empty document
  • Name the file testing.desktop
  • Enter in a valid desktop contents (sample below)
  • Save it and now that entry will show when you press the windows key under applications.

A much easier way...

sudo apt-get install alacarte

Then run alacarte and create menu entries as you like. They will show in the unity launcher.


Sample desktop file (from sublime text 2)

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open  

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Name=Sublime Text 2
# Only KDE 4 seems to use GenericName, so we reuse the KDE strings.
# From Ubuntu's language-pack-kde-XX-base packages, version 9.04-20090413.
GenericName=Text Editor
Exec=subl
Terminal=false
Icon="/opt/Sublime Text 2/Icon/48x48/sublime_text.png"
Type=Application
Categories=TextEditor;IDE;Development
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewWindow
Icon[en_US]=/opt/Sublime Text 2/Icon/128x128/sublime_text.png

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=New Window
Exec=subl -n
TargetEnvironment=Unity

protected by Community Oct 3 '14 at 6:33

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