Ubuntu – GNOME Shell – how to add a custom favorite app / change favorite’s path


Due to a bug/glitch, I can't use GNOME Flashback for a while. I am forced to use the new GNOME Shell layout. I'm finding it a large leap back in usability. I am not able to customize it the way I can with Flashback. It tries to pretend I am on a tablet. But that's a different story.

I have 2 versions of IntelliJ IDEA installed. When I find "idea" in the screen under Windows key ("Activities" overview), only the older version is found. I can add that through context menu. However, I haven't found a way to add the newer one. Or change the old one's path. I have tried various combinations of Alt, Shift, Ctrl and Super with both mouse buttons, but none gave me the "edit" menu item to change what the icon launches.

How can I add a custom command, or how can I change the path of an existing one?

Best Answer

If the application appears in "Activities" overview, then it probably has an associated .desktop file either in /usr/share/applications/ or in ~/.local/share/applications/.

Look for the asociated .desktop file in those two locations. If you find it in /usr/share/applications/ first copy it to ~/.local/share/applications/. Then edit the copied file using a text editor. Look for an Exec= line inside the .desktop file. Change it to a command you prefer.

If you just want to add another command without replacing the current one, you may add a custom [Desktop Action] in the .desktop file. Then the second command will be accessible from the context menu (right-click menu). See this answer for reference.

Alternatively, you may create a new .desktop launcher for the second command which will appear as a separate entry in "Activities" overview. One simple example:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=A comment to describe the application
Name=Application name to be shown
Exec=command (with full path) to launch the application

If you wish to use a GUI tool to edit application launchers, you may try alacarte (aka "Main Menu"). You can install it by running

sudo apt install alacarte
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