App Launcher

The primary method of discovering and using your app
An app launcher file (or .desktop file) contains information that will be used to display your app when it is installed, such as in the Applications menu and Dock. It contains an app's name, description, categories, icon, keywords, and associated actions.
For technical information about shipping app launcher files see our developer documentation
The naming and description portion of the app launcher file should follow this formula:
Name is a(n) GenericName that helps you Comment.
GenericName=Package Installer
Comment=Install Debian packages


You should not include descriptive words in your app's Name. For example, an address book app might be called "Dexter," not "Dexter Address Book." A web browser might be called "Midori," but not "Midori Web Browser." Instead, use the GenericName attribute of your app's .desktop file for a generic name, and the Comment attribute for a longer descriptive phrase.


If your app is easily categorized or described with a generic name, you should use that for the GenericName attribute in your app's .desktop file. If you can say, "My app is a(n) **\_**_," then whatever fits in that blank could be the generic name. For example, Quilter is a markdown editor, so its generic name is "Markdown Editor".
You should not include articles (the, a, an) or the words "program," "app," or "application" in your app's generic name.
The generic name should be in title case and may be used around the system to better describe or categorize your app:
GenericName=Markdown Editor


The system uses an app's Comment attribute (found in the .desktop file) to succinctly inform a user what can be done with the app. It should be a short sentence or phrase beginning with a verb and containing the primary nouns that your app deals with. For example, the following are appropriate comments:
  • Calendar: Browse and schedule events
  • Mail: Send and receive mail
  • Files: Browse and manage your files
An app's comment should be in sentence case, not include terminal punctuation (periods, exclamation points, or question marks), and should be as short as possible while describing the primary use case of the app:
Comment=Listen to music


Categories are used to sort your app in AppCenter and in the applications menu. In your app launcher file, they should be separated by and terminated with a semicolon:
The full list of supported categories can be found in the FreeDesktop.Org menu entry specification and the list of additional categories
You can add more than one category to your app launcher file and you should add all that apply


You may also include keywords in your launcher to help users find your app via search. These follow the "Keywords" key in your .desktop file. For example, a web browser might include "Internet" as a keyword even though it's not in the app's name, generic name, or description. As a result, a user searching for "Internet" will find the app. Here are some more examples:
  • Files: Folders;Browser;Explorer;Finder;Manager;
  • Terminal: Command;Prompt;Cmd;Emulator;
  • System Settings: Control;Panel;
Keywords should be single words (in title case) separated by and terminated with a semicolon:
See also: Desktop Entry Specification from