Please can someone explain how to add a launcher icon in Unity (along the left side) for Vim - or any other terminal-based application?

I press alt+f2, type vim, and drag the icon to the left ... but the launcher does not accept the dragged item.

Assuming that to launch vim in a terminal I should launch gnome-terminal -e vim, my question is how do I get this command as a button in the Unity launcher?

5 Answers 5


Create Launcher for Terminal Application

Right click on the desktop and select Create Launcher from the menu:

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Choose Application in Terminal and give the desired name and command to run (in this case vim).

Then simply drag and drop this icon on the Unity Launcher:

enter image description here

  • It seems that the icon is always the terminal icon, is there a way to change it to the standard Vim icon?
    – Greg
    Apr 28, 2011 at 22:05
  • @Greg: for now I have not yet found a way to use another icon (edited my answer).
    – Takkat
    Apr 28, 2011 at 22:54
  • 1
    @Greg you can choose an icon by clicking the button with the bouncy launcher icon on it. A file dialog will open asking you to choose the image.
    – dv3500ea
    Apr 28, 2011 at 22:56
  • @dv3500ea: we do know that - this fixes the icon on the desktop but still on the Unity Launcher the bouncy icon keeps to be displayed. Replace Unity, reboot, change localization of .desktop file, using a different (svg) icon does not help. Unity Launcher seems to remember that this was a custom launcher and refuses to use another icon. :(
    – Takkat
    Apr 29, 2011 at 7:20
  • That's strange, it works for me. You should probably file a bug about this.
    – dv3500ea
    Apr 29, 2011 at 8:49

If you are still looking to set the icon, you can do that during 'Create Launcher' by clicking the default icon (the springboard) and selecting an image file from somewhere in the file system. If you've already created it (on the desktop), in the 'Properties' of the context menu you can still change the icon by again clicking on the default one.

I used this file, which I found by doing: locate vim|grep svg



Go to terminal and type sudo apt-get install vim-gui-common. After installing reboot computer. Icon must be in Standard applications.


This one should work

gnome-terminal -e vim

  • what do I do with that? How do I get it on the launcher?
    – Greg
    Apr 28, 2011 at 21:18
  • Yeah, it doesn't work apparently :/
    – Srphea
    Apr 28, 2011 at 21:24

Switch to a gui vim wrapper like Cream or gvim :)

Or you can try this one with gnome-terminal -e vim as the command to exectue

  • For gvim: install vim-gnome and search for gvim. Gvim's improved colour, font, and cursor shape support make it worth it!
    – idbrii
    May 5, 2011 at 22:22

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