I'm not sure what commands are issued when trying to launch a program from the dash. How can I determine this and modify the commands of these short cuts?

For example, I would like to change the command to launch skype from:



LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

I'm not sure which command is issued when I click on the icon in the dash and I'm not sure how I would change it. Changing it using gnome menu editor does not seem to have any effect.


2 Answers 2


While I couldn't find the shortcuts, we can use the .local/share/applications folder.

You can create a file this way:

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

Then paste something like this into it:

[Desktop Entry]  
Name=My Skype
Exec=env LD_PRELOAD="/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so" skype

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=Open a New Window
Exec=env LD_PRELOAD="/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so" skype

Save and exit.

  • 1
    Sorry. Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. I want to change the command for a particular program that I launch from the dash. I've adjusted my original question accordingly.
    – astjohn
    May 2, 2011 at 16:28
  • @desgua, thanks for your quick replies! As I understand it, the dash is the interface that appears when you hit the super key... not the unity side bar thing.
    – astjohn
    May 2, 2011 at 17:00
  • I'm very sorry for that. You are absolutely right.
    – desgua
    May 2, 2011 at 17:13
  • 1
    @desgua Copy the .desktop into .local/share/applications like we do on the other quicklist questions, otherwise an upgrade will overwrite his customizations. May 2, 2011 at 20:15
  • 1
    @CetinSert Welcome ;-)
    – desgua
    Jul 15, 2013 at 11:56

I suspect you can edit the file /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop Make a backup copy first. You probably need to edit the line that reads Exec=skype to include the changes you want.

[Edit] Just tried this for myself and the syntax for .desktop files doesn't allow the = sign in the Exec command so you may need to create a shell script with your command in and point the Exec line at that.

Here is some background about the .desktop files: http://standards.freedesktop.org/desktop-entry-spec/latest/ar01s06.html

  • Thanks for your help. It's because you need the env command. Please refer to my last comment directed to desgua. I'm going to give the answer to him because of his quick response and patience. Cheers.
    – astjohn
    May 3, 2011 at 2:45
  • @astjohn: this is actually the correct answer, because it explains where to find the shortcuts for the items in the launcher. Desgua's answer creates a new shortcut on the desktop. Jun 9, 2016 at 3:52
  • Copying a .desktop file and modifying details works, but with some caveats... for example, trying to launch wine foobar2000.exe results in two launcher icons, and none of them pick up the icon from foobar2000.exe. Jul 27, 2016 at 1:23

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