This note describes two methods of how to create a desktop shortcut in Ubuntu from the command line.
The simplest method is to create the desktop shortcut as a symbolic link using the
The second method is a bit more complex but it allows to create much more customizable desktop shortcuts using the “Desktop Entry Specification”.
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Create Desktop Shortcut in Ubuntu
A simple desktop shortcut in Ubuntu can be created from the command line using
$ ln -s <source> /home/<user>/Desktop/<shortcut-name>
The Link is Broken: To avoid this error – provide the full path to the <source>.
For example, a shortcut of the Chromium browser on the current user’s desktop may be created as follows:
$ which chromium-browser /usr/bin/chromium-browser $ ln -s /usr/bin/chromium-browser ~/Desktop/Chromium
Much more customizable desktop shortcut in Ubuntu can be created as a “desktop entry” – the configuration file that describes how a particular program is to be launched.
To create such desktop shortcut in Ubuntu – create a file with the
.desktop extension, e.g.:
$ touch ~/Desktop/app-launcher.desktop
Open this file in your favorite text editor and type in (copy-paste):
[Desktop Entry] # "Application", "Link" or "Directory" Type=Application # The version of the Desktop Entry Specification Version=1.0 # The name of the application Name=sampleApp # A comment which will be used as a tooltip Comment=Ubuntu desktop shortcut demo # The path to the folder in which the executable is run Path=/opt/sampleApp # The executable of the application, possibly with arguments Exec=/opt/sampleApp/bin/start --debug # The icon to display Icon=/opt/sampleApp/misc/icon.png # Describes whether this application needs to be run in a terminal or not Terminal=false # Describes the categories in which this entry should be shown Categories=Utility;Application;
Make the desktop shortcut executable:
$ chmod +x ~/Desktop/app-launcher.desktop
A realistic example of how a
.desktop file looks like:
[Desktop Entry] Type=Application Name=Arduino IDE GenericName=Arduino IDE Comment=Open-source electronics prototyping platform Exec="/opt/arduino-1.8.12/arduino" Icon=arduino-arduinoide Terminal=false Categories=Development;IDE;Electronics; MimeType=text/x-arduino; Keywords=embedded electronics;electronics;avr;microcontroller; StartupWMClass=processing-app-Base
All possible settings can be found on the freedesktop site.