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Create Application Icons On The Linux KDE 3 Desktop

Updated: 23-Oct-2007

On initial installation, Linux KDE 3 desktops look familiar to the user converting from Windows. The openSuSE distribution, for example, has the equivalent of the Recycle Bin (Trash), My Computer, My Documents, and various application icons. However, when you first install Kubuntu from a CD, there are no desktop icons at all! For former Windows users, this can be disconcerting. It's simply an unfamiliar sight for the average user switching from Windows to Linux. Certainly you can use either operating system, Windows or Linux, with a clean, icon-less desktop, but let's assume you like the icons and want to know how to create your own. Look at the empty Kubuntu desktop as an opportunity to choose exactly the icons that YOU want!

Linux, like Windows, lets you put icons for your favorite applications, documents and websites where you want them, including on the desktop. This article provides step-by-step instructions for easily creating desktop icons for applications--Linux calls them "application launchers"--on your KDE desktop. You can create desktop application launchers from the Gnome menu in a similar manner. (If you are looking for how to create a desktop link to a web page, see this article. If you want to create desktop "system" icons such as ""My Computer", "Trash" and "Printers" see this article.)

Create a desktop icon from the KDE 3 menu

  1. Click the K-menu and find the icon you want to add to your desktop.
  2. Right-click an icon and select Add Item to Desktop.

That's it. Hey, nobody said that all step-by-step instructions had to be difficult!

Create a desktop icon from the KDE desktop

  1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop wallpaper.
  2. From the menu that appears, select Create New, Link to Application. A "Properties" box opens.
    Select - Link To Application
  3. On the General tab, replace the words "Link to Application" with the name you want to give the icon. In this example, we type, "Firefox".
  4. Select the Application tab.
  5. Fill-in the description, comment and command for the application you want the icon to open for you. Note that the "Command" field should be the application's name as you would type it at the command line.
    Launcher - Application tab

    For example, to launch the Tunderbird mail application, you may need to enter "mozilla-thunderbird," not "thunderbird" as the command. It depends on your Linux distribution.
  6. To change the icon from the default blue gear, select the General tab, and click the existing icon. (It's actually a button!)
  7. Select the icon that you want, and click OK to finalize your selection.
  8. Launcher - Select an icon
  9. Click OK to finish creating your desktop application launcher.
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