I installed the Dolphin File manager when Ubuntu 13.04's file manager stopped supporting expandable folders in the file pane. Sometimes I like to have separate Dolphin instances running in my various Unity work spaces. As it is, I can open an existing Dolphin instance, open the file menu, and select "New Window" to create a new Dolphin instance. I can then move the new Dolphin instance to the appropriate workspace.

I would rather, from appropriate workspace, right click the Dolphin file manager icon in the Unity launcher bar and select an option that says, "New Window". Unfortunately, that option does not exist.

I tried opening a terminal and entering the following commands:

gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites
cd /usr/share/applications/
gksudo gedit unity://expo-icon

My effort failed; Dolphin is not launched from a *.desktop file. Can someone please tell me how to add a "New Window" option to the Dolphin icon in the Unity launcher?

1 Answer 1


You can create a custom dolphin launcher with a quicklist entry to open a new window.

Create the launcher in ~/.local/share/applications:

gedit  ~/.local/share/applications/dolphin.desktop

Copy and paste the following text into the file:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Dolphin (custom)
Exec=dolphin %i -caption "%c" %u
GenericName=File Manager


[OpenNewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=Open New Window
Exec=dolphin %u

Save the file, exit gedit and search for your new launcher from the dash. Then simply pin it to your dock.

If you aren't too keen on creating a new launcher you can edit the existing one as well and simply add X-Ayatana.. and all following lines to the file:

gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/kde4/dolphin.desktop

(Note: On 13.04 you might have to install gksudo first (sudo apt-get install gksu))

I would advise against modifying the original launcher though, as it will get set back to the original on each Dolphin update.


How can I edit/create new launcher items in Unity by hand?

What Custom Launchers and Unity Quicklists are available?

  • Thank you for your excellent response. I followed the your first set of steps and achieved the desired results. I found you sources to be informational. May 1, 2013 at 18:42
  • (Darn that 5 minute edit rule!) Thank you to Glutanimate for the excellent response. I followed the the first set of steps and achieved the desired results. I also found the sources to be informational. Just in case I want to mess around with this particular launcher later, is the Dolphin command line documented anywhere? EG, what does ' Exec=dolphin %i -caption "%c" %u ' mean? Can I add a line to my dolphin.desktop to open a new window in directory /MountedDrive/DataDirectory/? Or should this be a separate question? May 1, 2013 at 18:55
  • Hi Alan. I am glad I was able to help you. Unfortunately I am not an expert on the .desktop specification and dolphin's documentation (dolphin --help) doesn't really provide an explanation for the command line options you ask about. Concerning setting a custom directory to launch in, that's pretty easy. You will just have to replace %u in the launcher with the path of a directory of your choice. Just make sure to put it in quotes in case there are any special characters that could be a problem. May 2, 2013 at 8:51
  • What do you mean by "search for your new launcher from the dash. Then simply pin it to your dock." ???
    – Louis
    Jul 18, 2018 at 12:18

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