How does one add an application icon to the desktop in verson 14.04?

Thank you for your time.

  • Using Avinash Raj's response, I simply used files to locate the app, right clicked, copied, and pasted. The created desktop file did not need to be edited at all.
    – Adam
    Oct 2, 2014 at 3:00

3 Answers 3


First copy your desired application's icon from the /usr/share/applications directory to Desktop,

sudo cp /usr/share/applications/filename.desktop ~/Desktop

Then change the permissions(give execute permission to the .desktop file) of copied .desktop file on the Desktop,

sudo chmod +x ~/Desktop/filename.desktop

Double click on the application icon to run it's corresponding application.

  • get rid of the lock with: sudo chown username:groupname ~/Desktop/*.desktop Jan 28, 2016 at 13:22
  • Don't think that you need sudo...
    – Gremlin
    May 4, 2016 at 13:59
  • Not sure whether this was already available in version 14, but now you can also put the .desktop in .local/share/applications/. Jan 2, 2020 at 14:58

Create a symbolic link in the desktop folder to the file you want to execute. Open a terminal session and change to your Desktop folder:

cd Desktop

To create the desktop icon use:

ln -sv "target file to execute" "filename to create for shortcut" (no quotes)

I tried it with Nautilus and it worked fine. So far all of the icons I have created work, but they don't get an identifying icon, just the AptURL icon.

Here's the example I created for Nautilus:

ln -sv /usr/bin/nautilus "File Manager"

The icon appeared on the desktop and it works fine, as have the others I made. You do need to be able to find the executable files, which means you need to know some Linux, but otherwise it's pretty easy.


Here's another easy way to do it:

1) Open Nautilus, navigate to "Computer".

$ sudo nautilus

-provide your password credentials

2) Navigate to folder /usr/share/applications

3) In that folder, select the program of your choice (for example, System Monitor).Now Drag it to your desktop or copy & paste it. That's it!

Your Desktop icon is created.

  • +1 this is the best way for 2 reasons: first of all it's easy to copy more then one program, and secondly because it copies also the icon.
    – Yagel
    Jul 24, 2016 at 8:16

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