Add Web Links to Ubuntu Launcher

Newer versions of Ubuntu use Gnome desktop.  Although Gnome is really well designed adding items like URL links to the launcher bar is not straightforward.

You can not just drag and drop a link onto the launcher bar. However, you can turn a URL link into an executable icon that can be pinned to the launcher.

Open Gedit or another text editor and compose a .desktop application launcher file. Note that this file will start Chrome, but can be modified to launch any other browser.

  1. [Desktop Entry]
  2. Encoding=UTF-8
  3. Version=1.0
  4. Type=Application
  5. Terminal=false
  6. Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable
  7. Name=Skifactz
  8. Comment=This will open the Skifactz page in Chrome
  9. Keywords=skifactz;hacks;
  10. Icon=/home/[username]/.local/share/icons/some-icon.png


Let’s go over some of the elements in this .desktop file.  The Exec directive is used to launch Chrome and open this website. Obviously you’d substitute any other link of your choice as well as the string in the Name directive.

The keywords are useful if want to press the Super key and search for the launcher by typing in a keyword.

The icon file can be a small PNG file saved anywhere. You can use the existing icons directory as in the example above.

Save this desktop file as :


Substitute your user name. You may need to press CTRL + H in the save dialog box to be able to see the hidden .local directory.

Once the file is saved you should be able to find it in your applications menu (Super + A). If it fails to launch it may need an executable privilege. To make the file executable, right click it, select Properties and add executable permission for yourself and any additional users.

Now, that we have an executable icon we can right click it in the applications menu and add it to favorites. This will pin the link to the launcher bar.

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