How to edit application menus

John Jason Jordan johnxj at
Wed Nov 23 18:09:04 UTC 2011

On Wed, 23 Nov 2011 10:46:02 +0100
Christoph Wickert <christoph.wickert at> dijo:

>> After hours of googling none of the suggestions that I have found for
>> editing the application menus work. For example, apparently there are
>> desktop entries in /usr/share and in ~/.local/share/applications,
>> but I can't find desktop files for some of the items that appear in
>> the menu. I also can't find any place where the folders are listed.

That folder contains many text files, all with different names and
mostly the same content. However, most do not actually appear in the
XFCE menu. Looking inside each one with Gedit I don't see any reason
why some appear and others do not. Nor do I see any clear way to make a
new folder.

>> Alacarte ran briefly after the upgrade from 14 to 16, but after
>> nearly a thousand software updates it won't launch at all. 

>I doubt it was ever running because it is incompatible with GNOME 3.0:

Perhaps I misremembered. I actually installed XFCE a couple of years
ago shortly after moving from Ubuntu to Fedora. I installed it only as
an emergency desktop so I would have something to log in with in case I
messed up Gnome. I never actually used it. But I had already tried out
the Fedora 16 live CD and I knew that Gnome 3 was not for me, so before
the upgrade to Fedora 16 I started getting XFCE set up. It may be that
it was then that Alacarte ran. But, in any event, it did not display
the XFCE menu; it displayed the menu I had in Gnome 2.3.2. I never
actually tried to use it. 

>> I really need to edit the application menus. I hope someone here can
>> tell me the secret. I don't mind doing it manually; I just need clear
>> instructions.
>Did you already read ? I
>doubt you will have to edit, most things can be
>done by adding proper categories to the *.desktop files. When you add
>some, make sure to use the registered values from

Yes, I did read the wiki. I didn't understand most of it. I did try to
use LXMenuEditor, but it was not listed in the repos. A couple days
later, upon re-reading the wiki I googled on LXMenuEditor and
discovered that it is a Java application. I downloaded it and got it
running, so a lot of my problems are now resolved.

However, LXMenuEditor doesn't have the ability to created, delete, or
edit a folder; it can only operate on application entries within a
folder. I have some folders that are mis-named, and
the /usr/share/desktop-directories folder doesn't help.

I am especially confused about the application desktop entries. First,
I find them in my home folder, but not all the application desktop
entries are there; a lot of applications are listed in the menu for
which there is no application desktop file. 

And I cannot figure out what decides what folder an application will be
listed under. Looking at the text of an application desktop file I find
its location as (e.g.) Settings, but the item actually appears in
System Tools. I'm trying to figure out the system here, and so far it
is not making any sense. But there must be a system. I just need to get
a grip on it.

Thanks to all for the suggestions.

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