How to Add App Shortcut Icons to Desktop in Ubuntu 20.04

This is a beginner’s guide shows how to add application icons to the desktop in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Send app shortcut to the desktop is one of the most asked features in desktop PC, but Ubuntu does still NOT have the ability out-of-the-box. Though, it’s the duty of the default GNOME Desktop.

Here I’m going to show you how to do the trick in 2 different ways. Your may choose either method as prefer.

Option 1: Add Desktop icons via Gnome Extension:

There’s a GNOME extension that adds an ‘Add to Desktop‘ context menu menu. With it, you may just search for an app, right-click and choose the option to add it to desktop.

1. Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run command to install chrome-gnome-shell package:

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell

2. Next, click the button below to go to the extension page and turn on the slider to install it.

NOTE: the pre-installed Firefox is Snap that don't support installing Gnome Extension. Use another browser or install Firefox as Deb.

Click the link to install browser extension and refresh the page if you don’t see the toggle button.

After installation, search your app, right click and you’ll see the ‘Add to Desktop’ option.

Option 2: Manually copy & paste App Shortcut file to Desktop.

1. Open Files (Nautilus file browser) and navigate to Desktop folder.

2. Open a new Files by right-clicking on the app icon and selecting ‘New Window’.

3. In the new file browser window navigate to Other Locations > Computer > usr > share > applications. There contains the icon files for system wide applications.

Now drag and drop your desired app files from the file browser window to the Desktop folder.

4. The icons will appear immediately on Ubuntu desktop once you do the drag & drop actions.

Now right-click on the desktop icon, select ‘Properties’, and enable ‘Allow executing file as program’ in Permissions tab

Finally right-click and select “Allow Launching” will allows to click launching it.

That’s it. Enjoy!

Merilyn Ne
Hi, I'm Merilyn Ne, a computer geek working on Ubuntu Linux for many years and would like to write useful tips for beginners. Forgive me for language mistakes. I'm not a native speaker of English.