Ubuntu’s Unity has become very stable and user-friendly since its early days. Most applications when installed using the Ubuntu Software Center will add their icon to the Unity Launcher (on the left). But this tip will help you add icons as you like.
Adding any Running Application to Launcher
Simply right click on the application’s icon that is shown in the Unity Launcher. A pop-up menu will be shown up. This menu although may slightly vary as it has undergone minor design changes over the last few Unity based distributions. The option labeled Keep in Launcher is responsible for this task. Clicking it will ensure that this icon remains their even if the program is closed.
Similarly, if you would like to remove it, just right click on the icon again and clicking on Keep in Launcher will remove it from the Unity Launcher.
Unity also allows you to easily reorder the items in the Launcher by simply dragging and dropping.
Adding a Custom Icon to Launcher
Although adding an icon to the Launcher is easy but at times a user defined icon or an application not installed from the Software Center with a custom icon. For that the following file needs to be created with the following contents (as a sample I will be creating this file for Komodo Edit):
[Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Name=Komodo Edit 6.1 GenericName=Editor Comment=Free multi-platform editor that makes it easy to write quality code. Exec=/home/user1/Komodo-Edit-6/bin/komodo %F Icon=/home/user1/Komodo-Edit-6/share/icons/komodo128.png Terminal=false Type=Application MimeType=text/plain; Categories=Application;Development;Editor;Utility;TextEditor;
The important lines are Name, Exec, Icon, Terminal and Type.
Now save this file with the name komodo.desktop and move it to the required application folder.
For system-wide access:
sudo mv komodo.desktop /usr/share/applications/
For user-only access:
sudo mv komodo.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
This will also enable your application to appear in the Dash, as shown below:
Finally, open your application from Dash and click on the Keep in Launcher option as explained above. That’s it!