Add Application Shortcuts to your Desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) 22

You probably already know that Ubuntu Desktop is pretty much empty. There are no application icons on the desktop when you first install Ubuntu. And adding desktop icons wasn’t easy in previous versions of Ubuntu with Unity installed. Today I’m going to show you how to add your favorite icons to the desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 easily. You can do this by just dragging icons from Dash to your desktop, but doing that won’t always work. When you try to launch the icons, you’ll get errors like ‘Untrusted application launcher’ , ‘the application launcher has not been marked as trusted’.


  • Add desktop icons in Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin)
  • Enjoy!

To get started, open Dash and begin dragging your favorite apps to your desktop as shown below.




Next, press Ctrl – Alt – T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the commands below.

sudo chmod +x ~/Desktop/*.desktop




Next, run the commands below to assume ownership of all the icons on your desktop.

sudo chown <username> ~/Desktop/*.desktop




That’s it!





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22 thoughts on “Add Application Shortcuts to your Desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin)

  • Chpit

    Yep. support ubuntu for many years. But frankly the did wrong thing on the new version.
    I ma not ready to go back to MS but sure they will have to correct the crappy bad iseas they had.

  • confused dot com

    why? cant do anything with that bar on the left and you cant drag anything on the desktop without… well read the insanity above.

    How to lose all your novice users in one easy step:

    1) Install a gui where usability wasn’t even an afterthought during design.

    Please leave the people who designed this in 1976 and get some people who at least read a book on user experience.

  • Yamikonoichi

    While I agree that it could have been a little more user friendly, this is far from a deal breaker for me as a new user. And to those going back to winblows after what amounts to a minor inconvenience, well, good riddance.

  • war maiden

    Whoa, why all this complaining? Okay so it takes longer to make icons…and?? You forgot how much time and money you spent dealing with windows maintenance-updates that take ages to download and slow down your pc, new antivirus every year, de-frag, clean-up, new versions of ms word that takes hours to re-learn, the nightmare that was vista, and then every few years you’re buying a new pc because windows slows down no matter what you do. Fuggetaboutit.

    Seriously, I use a second-hand computer that cost me $100 and it runs super fast on Ubuntu. No way you can beat that. There’s very little I need to know to run this OS, and certainly less than I needed to know dealing with windows.

    I love Ubuntu!

  • Antony

    Thank you so much for this info. I’m still relatively new to Linux (Ubuntu to be more especific). I agree that they could have been much more user friendly in this sense but Ubuntu is a great piece of OS and best of all, it’s free! I will post this on my website, I am trying to make it computer resourceful! I hope that you don’t mind and I will put a link to this guide as well since I can’t find your name on here. If you wish me not to put it just fill out the form on my website and let me know. :) Although I don’t see why you wouldn’t want me to drop it there. Again, thanks!

  • Madruga

    You do not need all these steps. After dragging the link to your desktop, right-click on it and select “Properties”. Go to the tab Permissions and check the box “Execute: Allow executing file as program”.

  • Terry

    Running 12.04, kernel 3.8.0-35 and all I had to do was right click and drag from Unity Dash Home to desktop, when I double click the respective icon the program runs. Checking file permissions and ownership old fashion UNIX way (command line) permissions are correct (for x) and ownership is me (logged in user) as per the steps in this article. Right clicking on desktop icon and looking at properties also reports same.

  • Abraham Singh

    Im using ubuntu 13.10. I tried your steps. But I got an error message as “The specified location is not supported” while draging item to the desktop.
    Please Help.

  • dave bashaw

    Very helpful.

    Now if there were a way to modify an instance of that icon to take a default action.
    Say add a terminal icon and set its properties, (ala windows style) to execute a command.