[xubuntu-users] XFCE4 desktop menus

Chris Dunn chris at dunnz.org
Sat Jan 27 19:29:42 UTC 2018

> Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2018 18:22:06 -0500
> From: "Roger W. Broseus" <RogerB at bronord.com>
> Subject: Re: [xubuntu-users] XFCE4 desktop menus
> Chris and Ulli,
> Excuse the top post but this is the way *I* think.
> For some time I, too, was puzzled by menu editing. Now I don't find
> it particularly hard to edit drop items on the whisker menu, using
> Settings > Menu Editor.
> But, getting a click-able item on the desktop was a challenge. Once I
> found the method, it's just a bit tedious. I've had to do so with my
> preferred file manager, Nemo. After installing it, I found that I can
> launch it from the CLI merely by giving the command nemo. So, to
> create an icon to execute an app from the desktop,
> Right-click on a blank area on the desktop
> Select Create Launcher
> Give it a name, e.g., Nemo
> Type nemo in the "Command:" box
> click on the Icon dialog button
> Up comes a large number of candidate icons, one of which was for Nemo!
> Click on Create
> And the icon appears on the desktop. On first use, click on the Mark 
> Executable button.
> That's it.
> One can also drag this new icon to one a panel to make it more
> accessible. (Panel e.g., a "strip" along the top edge of the desktop
> where there are icons to initiate execution of apps.)
> More complicated is creating a launcher for an application which does
> not appear in Ubuntu software installer pool. For example, I installed
> gRi, an app to rip and create MP3 files, obtained from another
> source. grip was installed from in /opt so I had to enter
>     /opt/grip/bin/grip
> in the command box. Getting an icon was more of a challenge. I created
> a small image using The GIMP to do a selection from an on-line image
> and saving it as a .ico file.
> Hope this helps.
> -- 
> Roger
> linux.rog at gmail.com


Thanks for taking time to write this lengthy response. Regrettably my
problems lie in a different direction. Perhaps I should have been more
specific. I'm solely interested in getting my own formatted menu on a
right click on the desktop (although I think the menu available in
whisker menu has the same content}.

Let me quote the first example of a problem with what I'm trying to

I've come to understand that the default desktop menu (and whisker?) is
created by the script at /etc/xdg/menus/xfce/xfce-applications.menu
being run and populated by the *.directory and *.desktop files that it
finds, mainly under /usr/share/desktop-directories
and /usr/share/applications, but maybe from other locations as well.
This is the default before I attempt to make any changes to the menu. 

I want to add two sub-directories to the others (Settings,
Accessories, etc) in the main menu named "Terminals" and "Text
Editors". Since these sub-directories are not listed
in /etc/xdg/menus/xfce/xfce-applications.menu nor are there *.directory
files for them under /usr/share/desktop-directories, I need to create

So as explained at https://wiki.xfce.org/howto/customize-menu I firstly
copy /etc/xdg/menus/xfce/xfce-applications.menu to my ~/.config/menus/,
then I edit the copied file to include two extra sub-directory sections
for "Terminals" and "Text Editors". Then I add new Terminals.directory
and Text Editors.directory files to ~/.local/share/desktop-directories/.

According to my understanding, the new xfce-applications.menu will
take precedence over the same file in /etc/xdg/menus/ and it will add
my two new *.directory files to the menu as sub-directory items.

This is where things start to go astray.

A first running of the desktop right-click menu (maybe whisker too) has
the sub-directories properly listed. Subsequent selections of the menu
"lose" my two new sub-menus, so that I'm back to the default menu.

What is even more confusing is that at some point my new
~/.config/menus/xfce-applications.menu file has been converted from a
script to a fully populated menu file. That file includes my new
sub-directories and the applications that I would expect to see in
these sub-directories, and yet they do not show up when the menu is

All very confusing and I'm glad I've got it on paper and off my chest.
All of this before I get to editing individual menu entries (which
has it's own problems}. 

Chris Dunn


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