create launcher in gnome 3 overview mode

I find it often quicker to launch an application in Gnome3 by pushing the mouse up the hot corner (normally north-west of the screen) and invoking the application overview mode, then selecting its launcher. The alternate way of launching it through a desktop shortcut would require a “Show Desktop” applet on the panel, or a shortcut Ctrl+Alt+D. When we install an application through apt-get in Debian systems, it automatically gets added to this overview. But what if we install it manually, or if the application is a portable one that just requires extracting it to some location? Then the system cannot know of its existence and we need to¬†add launchers manually.

Here is how we can add a launcher to Gnome3 overview:

The launchers that we see in the overview mode are all saved as .desktop files in /usr/share/applications. So to create a new launcher ourselves, we need to create a new file in that location. In the below example, I take Sublime Text 2 as the application whose launcher I want to add in the overview. The executable lies in /home/user/apps/sublime2.

1. Open a terminal. Create a new file /usr/share/applications/sublime-text2.desktop, then open it as root in a text editor:

$ gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/sublime-text2.desktop

2. Add the below lines:

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Name=Sublime Text2
Comment=Sublime Text2
Comment[en]=Lightweight text editor
GenericName=Sublime Text2
Exec=/home/user/apps/sublime2/sublime_text
Icon=/home/user/apps/sublime2/Icon/256x256/sublime_text.png
StartupNotify=true
MimeType=text/x-utility;
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=Programming;Other

The above is self-explanatory; for each key on the left, I added its value on the right. For the executable to be launched, we need to give its full location unless it lies in one of the locations included in system $PATH. The categories are those in which we can find the application.

3. Save the file and the new launcher should be visible when the application overview mode is opened after this.

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