Changing Application Properties in Ubuntu Unity Dash

I’m using Eclipse Mars across the board now and installed it on my second desktop PC which runs Ubuntu. (My primary desktop runs Linux Mint.) When I went to fire up Mars in Ubuntu Unity Dash I realized I was only rock-n-roll ready with Eclipse Luna.

The task at hand, and subject of this post, is how to add or modify the properties of an application in Ubuntu Unity Dash. We could modify the Eclipse Luna app, but we’re going to add an Eclipse Mars app for purposes of demonstration.

Unity Application Configuration Files: Where to Look

The first step is to locate the configuration files used by the various applications in Unity Dash. Those are located in


These files haveĀ a .desktop extension as you can see below.

Adding/Modifying a .desktop Configuration File

The convention is to name self-installed applications and those which found their way into Dash by some other means than APT as alacarte-made-*.desktop files. These are simple text files but if you double-click on one of them Unity will tell you they are untrusted launchers and provideĀ no options to edit it. The file popup menu also contains no Edit option so we have to open the .desktop files from within Gedit–or your Linux Text Editor of Choice.

We’re going to modify the Eclipse Luna .desktop file and save a copy of it as alacart-made-3.desktop for Eclipse Mars.

Okay! We’re happy, and Unity Dash is happy!