Top 6 Quicklists for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty to Enhance Unity Launcher Functionality


Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal has been a revelation of sorts in terms of UI improvements it brought to the table. One of the highlights of the new Unity UI is the launcher that sits on the left side of Ubuntu 11.04 Unity desktop. Now I can access my most favorite apps much more faster and my desktop will remain clean at the same time. But I didn't noticed the limitations of Unity launcher until I implemented the following quicklists which further enhanced the Ubuntu Unity launcher functionality. I am pretty darn sure that you are also going to love these awesome Unity launcher improvements as I did.

Add Your Favorite Places as Quicklists for Home Icon in Unity

Top 5 Quicklists for Ubuntu 11.04 to improve Unity launcher functionality
  • Copy 'Home Folder' launcher file to your home directory. For that, you need to open Terminal(Unity Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T) and copy-paste the following commands.
cp /usr/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open the file in your favorite text editor. I am using Gedit here.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop
  • Now replace the content of the file with the following text.
[Desktop Entry]

Name=Home Folder
Comment=Open your personal folder
TryExec=nautilus
Exec=nautilus --no-desktop
Icon=user-home
Terminal=false
StartupNotify=true
Type=Application
Categories=GNOME;GTK;Core;
OnlyShowIn=GNOME;Unity;
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Bugzilla=GNOME
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Product=nautilus
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Component=general
X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=nautilus

X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=Videos;Documents;Music;Pictures;Downloads
[Videos Shortcut Group]
Name=Videos
Exec=nautilus Videos
TargetEnvironment=Unity


[Documents Shortcut Group]
Name=Documents
Exec=nautilus Documents
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Music Shortcut Group]
Name=Music
Exec=nautilus Music
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Pictures Shortcut Group]
Name=Pictures
Exec=nautilus Pictures
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Downloads Shortcut Group]
Name=Downloads
Exec=nautilus Downloads
TargetEnvironment=Unity
  • And restart Unity. Hit Alt + F2 and run the following command to restart Unity.
unity --replace
Stunning Ubuntu Software Center Quicklist

  • As before, copy Ubuntu Software Center launcher file to your home directory. Open Terminal and copy-paste the following commands.
cp /usr/share/applications/ubuntu-software-center.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
  • Open and edit the file using Gedit.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/ubuntu-software-center.desktop
  • And simply copy-paste the following lines towards the bottom of the file(after the line X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=software-center to be precise).
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=SoftwareProperties;SoftwareSources;

[SoftwareProperties Shortcut Group]
Name=Update Manager
Exec=update-manager -c %u
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[SoftwareSources Shortcut Group]
Name=Add/Edit PPAs
Exec=gksu software-properties-gtk
TargetEnvironment=Unity
  • And restart Unity. Hit Alt + F2 and run the following command to restart Unity.
unity --replace
  • Done. If that doesn't work, you might need to log out and log back in to restart Unity.
Useful Banshee Quicklist

Banshee Quicklist Ubuntu 11.04
  • Copy Banshee launcher file to your home directory.
cp /usr/share/applications/banshee.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open and edit the file using Gedit.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/banshee.desktop
  • And simply copy-paste the following lines towards the bottom of the file.
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=Play;Pause;Stop;Previous;Next;Preferences

[Play Shortcut Group]
Name=Play
Exec=banshee --play
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Pause Shortcut Group]
Name=Pause
Exec=banshee --pause
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Stop Shortcut Group]
Name=Stop
Exec=banshee --stop
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Previous Shortcut Group]
Name=Previous
Exec=banshee --previous
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Next Shortcut Group]
Name=Next
Exec=banshee --next
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Preferences Shortcut Group]
Name=Preferences
Exec=banshee --show-preferences
TargetEnviroment=Unity
  • And restart Unity. Hit Alt + F2 and run the following command to restart Unity.
unity --replace
  • Done. If that doesn't work, you might need to log out and log back in to restart Unity.
Chromium Browser Quicklist

Chromium Browser Quicklist Ubuntu 11.04
  • Copy Chromium Browser launcher file to your home directory.
cp /usr/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open and edit the file using Gedit.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop
  • And simply copy-paste the following lines towards the bottom of the file.
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewWindow;Incognito;

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=New Window
Exec=chromium-browser
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Incognito Shortcut Group]
Name=New incognito window
Exec=chromium-browser --incognito
TargetEnvironment=Unity
  • And restart Unity. Hit Alt + F2 and run the following command to restart Unity.
unity --replace
  • Done. If that doesn't work, you might need to log out and log back in to restart Unity. Though it worked fine, "New Incongnito Window" option was not visible for me. Don't know the reason, a browser restart might do the trick.
Another Useful Quicklist for Terminal

  • Copy GNOME-Terminal launcher file to your home directory.
cp /usr/share/applications/gnome-terminal.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open and edit the file using Gedit.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/gnome-terminal.desktop
  • Find(Ctrl + f) the following line from the file.
OnlyShowIn=GNOME;
  • Replace it with the following line.
OnlyShowIn=GNOME;Unity;
  • Now, simply copy-paste the following lines towards the bottom of the file.
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewWindow;NewTab;Top;Root;

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=New Window
Exec=gnome-terminal --window
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[NewTab Shortcut Group]
Name=New Tab
Exec=gnome-terminal --tab
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Root Shortcut Group]
Name=Root Terminal
Exec=gksudo gnome-terminal
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Top Shortcut Group]
Name=Top
Exec=gnome-terminal --command top
TargetEnvironment=Unity
  • Close all Terminal windows, right-click on Terminal launcher icon and untick 'Keep In Launcher' option. 
  • Finally, browse to the ~/.local/share/applications/ from Nautilus file browser and simply drag and drop the new Terminal launcher(file name: gnome-terminal.desktop) onto the Unity Launcher. Done.
Nifty LibreOffice Launcher Quicklist

ibreOffice Launcher Quicklist Ubuntu 11.04
  • Copy LibreOffice launcher file to your home directory.
cp /usr/share/applications/libreoffice-startcenter.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open and edit the file using Gedit.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/libreoffice-startcenter.desktop
  • And simply copy-paste the following lines towards the bottom of the file.
##Start of shortcut menu
##List of shortcuts
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=Writer;Impress;Calc;Math;Draw

##Define Shortcuts
[Writer Shortcut Group]
Name=Writer
Exec=libreoffice -writer %U
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Impress Shortcut Group]
Name=Impress
Exec=libreoffice -impress %U
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Calc Shortcut Group]
Name=Calc
Exec=libreoffice -calc %U
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Math Shortcut Group]
Name=Math
Exec=libreoffice -math %U
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Draw Shortcut Group]
Name=Draw
Exec=libreoffice -draw %U
TargetEnvironment=Unity
##End of shortcut menu
  • As with the case of Terminal launcher, navigate to ~/.local/share/applications from Nautilus and drag and drop the LibreOffice desktop file(libreoffice-startcenter.desktop) into the launcher.
You can find more such quicklists for a range of applications such as Firefox, DeadBeef, Google Docs, Google Chrome etc. at askubuntu, which is also the source of this article. I think, at least some of them, like the "Home Icon" quicklist, should come as default in future Ubuntu releases. They are proving to be a real time saver for me. Meanwhile, you might also want to check out our collection of things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and top 10 Ubuntu 11.04 powered Laptops and Netbooks as well.

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