My question is simple. Is there any fast and easy way of creating .desktop files for shortcuts?

For example, I think you can right click and create .desktop shortcuts in Linux Mint.

I already know how to create them from a text editor like this:

[Desktop Entry] Type=Application 
Name=Eclipse Comment=Eclipse IDE

So are there any GUI apps that can do this?


Have a look at Arronax:

enter image description here

It's available as a plugin for Nautilus and as a standalone application.

To install, open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install arronax
nautilus -q
  • How do I install this? I couldn't figure out the PPA stuff, and when I download the tarball all I get is a bunch of python files with no explanation. – Jack M Apr 16 '18 at 21:34

You can try alacarte (Main Menu):

Alacarte is an easy-to-use menu editor for GNOME that can add and edit new entries and menus. It works with the freedesktop.org menu specification and should work with any desktop environment that uses the spec.

By default, is not installed. From terminal, you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt-get install alacarte
  • 1
    This does not appear to be an application for creating .desktop files. – Jack M Apr 16 '18 at 21:41
  • @JackM - It seems Alacarte does create .desktop files, namely in ~/.local/share/applications, only with odd names like alacarte-made.desktop, alacarte-made1.desktop, alacarte-made2.desktop etc, as stated in a comment under this answer. – cipricus May 14 at 8:55

On Ubuntu 12.04 or 14.04 there's gnome-desktop-item-edit which comes as part of the gnome-panel package:

enter image description here

You could integrate this into your file manager with the following script:


gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/.local/share/applications

Generic installation instructions for Nautilus scripts: How can I install a Nautilus script?


For the Xfce desktop environment there is exo-desktop-item-edit, it works similar to it's Gnome counterpart:

exo-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/.local/share/applications


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