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I'm still a complete noob as regards Unix/Linux/Ubuntu. Per that earlier question, I tried installing Ubuntu 4 years ago, but gave up when I couldn't even manage to configure my screen resolution.

I now have a new PC that came with Ubuntu 16.4 LTS pre-installed, and which I successfully updated to 17.10 by following instructions I found online. I'm sure I'll have lots of really basic questions over the coming months as I try to get to grips with it, but I have one particular problem already where I can't find any help online for what looks like a trivial issue.


I have a Dropbox file /home/mini/Dropbox/Public/notes.txt that I also view/edit from other (Windows-based) machines. Currently I can only access this file by navigating to it using the Ubuntu "file explorer" (Nautilus?).

The only file/icon on my desktop at the moment is something that I think is called Chromium Web Browser.Desktop, which appeared after I followed online instructions to install that as my default browser. What I want is another file/icon that will invoke Gedit on my notes.txt file.

I can invoke Gedit on the Chromium...desktop file, but I don't understand any of the contents, so I've no idea if it's even meaningful to treat that as a starting point for creating my own "shortcut".

On my Windows machines, I can just right-click on a "target" file and select Send to -> Desktop (create shortcut) to create an *.lnk file, or I can create an *.bat file containing the command line notepad \Users\Fumblefingers\Dropbox\Public\notes.txt, but I just can't figure out how to do something similar in Ubuntu.


To repeat - all I want is a desktop file/icon to invoke Gedit on my notes.txt file. I still find it hard to believe I can't figure this out for myself, but I'm sure someone here can explain things (in really simple terms please! :)

1 Answer 1

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Create a new file and name it for example gedit-note.desktop in your desktop folder, then write the following inside

[Desktop Entry]
Name=gedit-notes
GenericName=Text Editor
Comment=Edit text files
Exec=gedit %U /home/mini/Dropbox/Public/notes.txt
Terminal=false
Type=Application
StartupNotify=true
MimeType=text/plain;
Icon=accessories-text-editor
Categories=GNOME;GTK;Utility;TextEditor;

This should open gedit with your specific file

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  • Thank you so much! I had to Trust and launch the first time I clicked on the file I copied your text into, but now it just does exactly what I'd expect when I double-click on it. Jan 10, 2018 at 16:05
  • @FumbleFingers As you are a relativelly new askubuntu user. Please do not forget to accept the answer.
    – Bruni
    Jan 10, 2018 at 16:09
  • @Bruni: Ooops! I've been around on SO English Language for years, so I should know better! Answer "accepted" now, and thanks for the reminder (I don't suppose there's any point in waiting for a "better" one! :) Jan 10, 2018 at 16:18
  • ;-) Maybe I should have bothered to look at the profile.
    – Bruni
    Jan 10, 2018 at 16:21
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers you can read the article from gnome developer, you'll find what's required for a desktop file to actually work. There is also a description of each line... [developer.gnome.org/integration-guide/stable/…
    – Adel Kihal
    Jan 10, 2018 at 20:29

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