I've come across this a few times, but I will use a specific example. When I downloaded the ADT bundle from Google it came with programs that just ran without needing to be installed, i.e. I can run Eclipse just by clicking on the eclipse file after I extracted the archived folders to the /home/ADT Bundle directory. There was no need to install anything. The problem is that I like using the Unity dash to quickly search for the programs I want to run and Eclipse doesn't show up. In fact, I can't even search for the eclipse file located in the /home/user-name/ADT Bundle/eclipse directory using the dash to start the program that way. What I'm hoping to learn is how to let the dash know that these folders, files, and/or programs exist on my system so that I can search for them if that is possible.

What I've tried: used sudo nautilus to move the folders containing the programs to the /usr/local directory (returned it to the /home directory when this didn't work)

Additional information: The dash will not find the folder ADT Bundle located in the /home directory or any file/folder contained within

running ubuntu 12.10

I installed my home, root, etc as separate logical partitions (don't know if that helps)


1 Answer 1


Short answer: You can add programs to your main menu easily by using a menu editor. The preferred tool is called alacarte, but there are also others. Beware, that you might have to log out and log in again to see any effects.

Long answer: Ubuntu uses two different application menus. There is a system wide one stored at /usr/share/applications and a per user one in ~/.local/share/applications. The entries in these menus are stored in .desktop files.

Really long answer: Read man xdg-desktop-menu

  • Alacarte worked for exactly what I wanted. Thanks for the extra information too. I've been using Ubuntu about a month now and I've been trying to learn as fast and as much as I can. The xdg-desktop-menu page really helped.
    – Mark
    Mar 29, 2013 at 23:38

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