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How to Create Desktop Icons with Ubuntu MATE 18.04

Updated: 14-Apr-2018

Create Application Icons From the Menus

Ubuntu MATE makes it very easy to add icons, also referred to as shortcuts or launchers, to your most frequently used application to your computer's desktop. We'll show you how to add the word processor icon to your desktop. The process is exactly the same for any application that appears in the Ubuntu MATE menus. The instructions, below, have been updated to reflect the new default Familiar Panel Layout introduced in Ubuntu MATE 18.04.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Locate the application in the menu. For the word processor application, select Menu > Office. (If you have chosen the Traditional Panel Layout, select Applications > Office.)
  2. Now locate, but do not click on the LibreOffice Writer icon.
  3. Right-click on LibreOffice Writer.
  4. From the context menu that appears, select Pin to desktop. (If you have chosen the Traditional Panel Layout, select Add to desktop.)
Pin an icon to the desktop.

Add an icon to the desktop.

The finished launcher will appear on your desktop as shown below. You can move it around and place it anywhere you want on the desktop.

The created application icon.

Note: If you are using the Brisk menu, the same context menu lets you pin the icon as a shortcut icon to the Favourites menu! You find the Favourites menu at Menu > Favourites.

Create System Icons Using MATE Tweak

If you want to create System icons for such things as your "Computer," your "Home" folder, the "Trash" icon, an icon to access locations on your "Network," or "Mounted Volumes" like USB drives and DVD drives, then Ubuntu MATE makes that easy for you, too. You simply use the MATE Tweak application, located in Control Center to select the icons you want to be displayed. The screenshot below shows your "Desktop" options. Ensure that the Show Desktop Icons setting is checked to be certain that the icons you've selected are visible on your desktop.

Using MATE Tweak to manage system icons on the desktop

For additional ways of customizing your Linux desktop, see our article on this topic. It details how to change background wallpaper, themes and desktop behavior with the Cinnamon, MATE and KDE desktops.

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