i'm using gnome-shell, is there a way i can add a folder shortcut or custom launcher (the same way in regular gnome panels) to the gnome-shell favorites dock bar?

Gnome-shell favorites dock bar

1 Answer 1


To add a Downloads folder to the favorites bar in Gnome Shell:

cp /usr/share/applications/nautilus.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/downloads.desktop
nano downloads.desktop

I set the first 4 lines to:

Comment=Access and organize your downloads
Exec=nautilus Downloads

Now do one of the following:

  • Log out and back in. Or,

  • Run this in a Terminal window:

    nautilus -q

    Then open the Application Launcher with Alt+F2 and run:


Search for Downloads in the Dash and then drag the Applications shortcut (as you saw, the Places shortcut won't work) to the favourites bar.

You can browse for other icon names by looking in /usr/share/icons/Humanity/places/24/ for instance.

By default, Nautilus will attempt to open pathnames in your home directory. If you want to access a folder not in your home directory, just put the full path (like /etc/apt )

By the way, the favorites are stored in org.gnome.shell favorite-apps. I prefer to use dconf-editor to browse around and tweak stuff, but you can also use gsettings directly from the command line.

Thanks @fossfreedom for the assist!

  • 3
    Jeremy - if you copy from /usr/share/applications/ to ~/.local/share/applications and rename the file, you can add the new desktop shortcut to dconf-editor favourite-apps string. Thus you dont need an admin account.
    – fossfreedom
    May 19, 2011 at 21:58
  • This work great for me (Pop!_os 19.10) to add a recents folder using "con= folder-recent" and "exec=nemo recents:\\\". Basically, any of those *.desktop files in /usr/share/applications will come up in the applications shortcut and can be made a favourite.
    – tim
    Jan 31, 2020 at 0:28

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