How to create custom application launchers in Gnome 3

Back in Gnome 2, we can simply right-clicked on a panel and chose “Create custom launcher” to create custom application launchers. But since the advent of Gnome 3, the panels where we add our frequently-used applications have been replaced with the Dash.

Alacarte is a graphical menu editor that lets you edit, add, and delete menu entries. It follows the freedesktop.org menu specification and should work with any desktop environment that uses this specification.

Alacarte is the same menu editor that was available in Gnome 2. The only difference is the way we open it. In Gnome 3, we now select it from the App List.

But first we need to install Alacarte. As root, execute the following command in your terminal:

yum install alacarte

Run Alacarte by searching and clicking it from the Applications menu (it shows up as Main Menu) or executing it from the command line. Doing so should show you this familiar window:

Alacarte - Main Menu

Alacarte - Main Menu

Choose the menu where you want your application to fall under and then click the New Item button.

Alacarte - Create Launcher

Alacarte - Create Launcher

In this example, I used the details for the SpringSource Tool Suite, which I just installed, replacing the icon with that of STS (icon.xpm), and pointing the Command to the STS executable file. Then click OK.

Alacarte - Create Launcher with details

Alacarte - Create Launcher with details

That’s it. We’ve created our application launcher. To verify, we can search the STS application launcher we created from the App List.

Gnome 3 Application Search

Gnome 3 Application Search

If you think you’re going to use the launcher frequently, you can simply right-click on it and select Add to Favorites to add it in the Dash.

Gnome 3 - Add to Favorites

Gnome 3 - Add to Favorites

Voila! The launcher is now available from the Dash.

The Dash containing the new application launcher

The Dash containing the new application launcher

18 thoughts on “How to create custom application launchers in Gnome 3

  1. Thanks for an advise, but how to add this application in context menu of nautilus? Because in case of mplayer it doesn’t work. I just want to use mplayer without any gui. I meen as before in gnome 2 — right click on a file and open it with custom command or a program.

  2. How can I get a favorite entry as a view of the desktop or a view of other than the home directory.

    If favorites can have a direct view to the desktop or any other folder, it will disuade me from dropping gnome 3.

    There are important reasons for quick access to a folder, particularaly if the folder contains source code and a makefile, while the other folder contains documentation

  3. This works and is a great help. But one thing that is odd and I wish it could be fixed is the shortcuts you create with this don’t show up in the frequent app list.

  4. I searched, off and on, for this simple explanation for several months. For the life of me I cannot understand why gnome.org doesn’t put this in a ‘Getting Started Users Manual’.

    Thanks,…no,… really really,…thanks! :-)

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