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I'd like to know which folder the Unity Launcher .desktop files are stored in, as they're not anymore in /.gconf/desktop and I need to add a custom application to the launcher bar (adding it in /usr/share/applications doesn't seem to be enough).

Where are the Unity Launcher .desktop files?

179

Globally in

/usr/share/applications 

Locally in

~/.local/share/applications

If you want to add a custom launcher, create it in ~/.local/share/applications, make it executable, drag and drop it on the launcher*, and finally pin it (right-click on the launcher item → Keep In Launcher).

* Opening it using Nautilus doesn't seem to do the trick.

  • Actually, this way the custom icon is not shown but the application icon is instead. Any ideas on how to fix that? I also tried adding the .desktop through gconf-editor but I haven't found the Unity entry. – Tigull May 7 '11 at 8:24
  • You are right, that's probably a bug. Instead you can just drag and drop the .desktop file onto the launcher. To find the favorites list, install the dconf-tools package and run dconf-editor. The list is stored under desktop → unity → launcher. – htorque May 7 '11 at 8:32
  • 1
    You can manually specify the icon to use by adding the following line to the desktop file: Icon=/absolute/path/to/image.png – Dunes May 19 '15 at 12:19
  • Just a note that those using snaps may find them in /var/lib/snapd/desktop/applications/xyz.desktop – Jon Aug 3 '18 at 9:38
14

Unity 2D looks for .desktop files in the /usr/share/applications directory. This can be found by using the following in the Terminal:

locate firefox.desktop

For me it worked by adding one of the launchers that was already there (eg. gimp.desktop) using the following in the Terminal

gconf-editor

to add an entry to the favorites list under desktop/unity-2d/launcher.

  • I forgot about locate , thank you! /usr/local/share/applications/ that'where the culprit was! – variona Nov 12 '16 at 7:53
5

cd ~/.local/share/applications is the 1st place that is look in.

Examples from my directory that I used to add quicklists:

~/.local/share/applications$ ls
banshee.desktop           gnome-terminal.desktop
chromium-browser.desktop  mimeapps.list
firefox.desktop           nautilus-home.desktop
gedit.desktop             ubuntu-software-center.desktop
4

Besides globally in /usr/share/applications, locally in ~/.local/share/applications, it also has in /usr/local/share/applications/. It has similar effects as globally. Some applications choose to put their desktop file in this folder.

  • 1
    The tip about /usr/local/share/applications/ was spot on! Thanks! – smac89 Aug 1 '16 at 6:08
3

I actually found a fix myself! It is necessary to create an entry in alacarte. To customise the icon you must manually edit the icon again from alacarte.

  • That doesn't sound like the right solution, but more a workaround for a bug in either the launcher or the original .desktop file. – JanC Jun 9 '11 at 10:37

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