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How to add new menu items to XFCE menu

Just create a simple text file and you're done.

Do you have the need to add a new application to my XFCE menu? Unfortunately, there are many confusing ways of doing it. In this article I want to tackle my favorite one: simple, easy, no-bullxxxt.

Suppose you want to add a new program, say CLion (which is a pleasant IDE, even if I can't stand such tools) to your XFCE menu. First of all, you have to prepare a simple .desktop file that contains some information on the executable and the program itself.

Writing the .destkop file

Open your text editor and type something like the following:

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Name=<name-of-the-app>
Exec=<path-to-executable-file>
Icon=<path-to-icon-file>
Categories=<list-of-;-separated-categories>

What to change in the above template:

  • Name — put here the name of the application. This will be displayed in the menu;
  • Exec — path to the executable file. For example /opt/clion-2016.2/bin/clion.sh;
  • Icon — path to the icon file. Example: /opt/clion-2016.2/bin/clion.svg;
  • Categories — semicolon-separated list of categories. Here is a list of what you can choose from.

There are several additional parameters you can add, but what you see above should be enough. The last step: put that file somewhere useful, so that the system can be aware of it and update the menu accordingly.

Place the .desktop file in the right place

You can place that file both in /usr/share/applications or in [your-home]/.local/share/applications. What's the difference? The former will enable the menu entry for every user, the latter only for you.

Sources

Xubuntugeek - Add items to Xfce Applications Menu (link)
FreeDesktop - Desktop Menu Specification (link)

comments
nux on April 12, 2018 at 14:06
Very neat little thing those .desktop files. Thanks for the hint.