How to create desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish Linux

The objective of this tutorial is to show you how to create a desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish Linux using the default GNOME user interface.

Ubuntu mostly relies on its sidebar app launcher, but desktop shortcut launchers can allow you to open applications or websites super fast, since they live right on your desktop and make the targets only a click away. They are also easy to drag around the desktop so you can organize them any way you want to.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to create desktop shortcut launcher from existing .desktop files
  • How to create desktop shortcut launcher from scratch
Desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish Linux
Desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish
Software GNOME GUI
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Create desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 step by step instructions



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Create desktop shortcut launcher from existing .desktop files

  1. Start by opening a command line terminal and executing the following command. This will open a list of shortcuts for all of your installed applications. For all Snap installed applications use /var/lib/snapd/desktop/applications/ directory instead.
    $ nautilus /usr/share/applications/
    
  2. In the file browser window that just opened, find an Application you wish to create a Launcher for on your desktop. Perform right click and Copy action.
    Right click on any of the applications listed and press copy
    Right click on any of the applications listed and press copy
  3. Then, right click on your desktop and press Paste.
    Right click on desktop and paste your shortcut
    Right click on desktop and paste your shortcut
  4. The last thing we need to do is right click on the newly created desktop shortcut and click on Allow Launching. Otherwise, the new icon will not be usable.
    Right click on desktop shortcut and click Allow Launching
    Right click on desktop shortcut and click Allow Launching
  5. That’s all there is to it. Your new Desktop application shortcut is ready to use.
    The new desktop shortcut is usable to quickly launch an application
    The new desktop shortcut is usable to quickly launch an application

Create a desktop application shortcut launcher manually

In case the desktop shortcut for your application is not available with the /usr/share/applications/ directory you have an option to create the Desktop launcher manually. In this example we will create and Desktop application shortcut for Skype application.

  1. Obtain the following information for any given application you wish to create shortcut for. Below you can find an example:

    Path Application Icon: /snap/skype/101/meta/gui/skypeforlinux.png
    Application name: Skype
    Path to executable binary:: /snap/bin/skype

    To obtain a full path to executable binary of any program use the which command eg.:

    $ which skype
    /snap/bin/skype
    

    In regards to the application icon, the choice is yours. You can either head over to /usr/share/icons/hicolor/ directory and search for any relevant icon to use, or simply download new icon from the web.



  2. Now that we have all the necessary information, create a new file Skype.desktop within ~/Desktop directory using your favourite text editor and paste the following lines as part of the file’s content. Change the code where necessary to fit your application specific details.
    $ gedit ~/Desktop/Skype.desktop
    
    #!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
    [Desktop Entry]
    Version=1.0
    Type=Application
    Terminal=false
    Exec=/snap/bin/skype
    Name=Skype
    Comment=Skype
    Icon=/snap/skype/101/meta/gui/skypeforlinux.png
    
  3. Now that the desktop icon is created, right click on the new desktop file located on your desktop and select Allow Launching.
    Right click on desktop shortcut and click Allow Launching
    Right click on desktop shortcut and click Allow Launching
  4. That’s all there is to it. Your new Desktop application shortcut is ready to use.
    The new desktop shortcut is usable to quickly launch an application
    The new desktop shortcut is usable to quickly launch an application

Closing Thoughts




In this tutorial, we saw how to create a desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish Linux. As you can see, the process is quite simple, and the icons nicely complement the sidebar app launcher as an alternative way to open some of our most used applications.