I have manually installed a software to /opt and I wanted to add it to the Applications menu.

Although Ubuntu makes it dead easy to add it to my user's menu, how do I add it system wide, so that all users will see the application in their menu?

2 Answers 2


You can create the proper .desktop file and place it in /usr/share/applications which is the global place for applications.

It would like something like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Sample Application Name
Comment=A sample application

Name will set the name that appears in the menu, and Category will place it in a certain category in the menu. Exec is the command to start the program, it uses full paths and can also take parameters. You can open the other .desktop files in /usr/share/applications with a text editor to get an idea.

For more info: desktop-files

  • you were a bit faster :)
    – Takkat
    Mar 1, 2011 at 18:08
  • 1
    This was also what I have tired but after a reboot the newly added entry is gone. Mar 1, 2011 at 18:16
  • @Octavian Is the new .desktop file in /usr/share/applications gone as well?
    – ændrük
    Mar 1, 2011 at 19:28
  • @ændrük: No, thats what makes it so funny. Mar 1, 2011 at 19:30

To add an entry of a program installed manually system wide you need to create a .desktop file in /usr/share/applications.

Desktop files have the following syntax:

[Desktop Entry]
Version=0.0 # Program version if applicable
Name=nameof-application # as it appears in the desktop entry
GenericName=generic-name # as it is named for real
Comment=What the application does # textual explanation
Exec=/opt/programfolder/program  # path to the program
Icon=/opt/programfolder/icon # path to the custom icon
Categories=AudioVideo;Audio; Network; # Category for Menu-Entry

Edit the file to your needs and save it as root as nameof-application.desktop. Full specification of desktop entries can be found at Freedesktop.org


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