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xdg-desktop-icon - command line tool for (un)installing icons to the desktop


xdg-desktop-icon install [--novendor] FILE

xdg-desktop-icon uninstall FILE

xdg-desktop-icon {--help | --manual | --version}


The xdg-desktop-icon program can be used to install an application launcher or other file
on the desktop of the current user.

An application launcher is represented by a *.desktop file. Desktop files are defined by
the freedesktop.org Desktop Entry Specification. The most important aspects of *.desktop
files are summarized below.


Installs FILE to the desktop of the current user. FILE can be a *.desktop file or any
other type of file.

Removes FILE from the desktop of the current user.


Normally, xdg-desktop-icon checks to ensure that a *.desktop file to be installed has
a vendor prefix. This option can be used to disable that check.

A vendor prefix consists of alpha characters ([a-zA-Z]) and is terminated with a dash
("-"). Companies and organizations are encouraged to use a word or phrase, preferably
the organizations name, for which they hold a trademark as their vendor prefix. The
purpose of the vendor prefix is to prevent name conflicts.

Show command synopsis.

Show this manual page.

Show the xdg-utils version information.


An application launcher can be added to the desktop by installing a *.desktop file. A
*.desktop file consists of a [Desktop Entry] header followed by several Key=Value lines.

A *.desktop file can provide a name and description for an application in several
different languages. This is done by adding a language code as used by LC_MESSAGES in
square brackets behind the Key. This way one can specify different values for the same Key
depending on the currently selected language.

The following keys are often used:

This is a mandatory field that indicates that the *.desktop file describes an
application launcher.

Name=Application Name
The name of the application. For example Mozilla

GenericName=Generic Name
A generic description of the application. For example Web Browser

Optional field to specify a tooltip for the application. For example Visit websites on
the Internet

Icon=Icon File
The icon to use for the application. This can either be an absolute path to an image
file or an icon-name. If an icon-name is provided an image lookup by name is done in
the user's current icon theme. The xdg-icon-resource command can be used to install
image files into icon themes. The advantage of using an icon-name instead of an
absolute path is that with an icon-name the application icon can be provided in
several different sizes as well as in several differently themed styles.

Exec=Command Line
The command line to start the application. If the application can open files the %f
placeholder should be specified. When a file is dropped on the application launcher
the %f is replaced with the file path of the dropped file. If multiple files can be
specified on the command line the %F placeholder should be used instead of %f. If the
application is able to open URLs in addition to local files then %u or %U can be used
instead of %f or %F.

For a complete overview of the *.desktop file format please visit


xdg-desktop-icon honours the following environment variables:

Setting this environment variable to a non-zero numerical value makes xdg-desktop-icon
do more verbose reporting on stderr. Setting a higher value increases the verbosity.


An exit code of 0 indicates success while a non-zero exit code indicates failure. The
following failure codes can be returned:

Error in command line syntax.

One of the files passed on the command line did not exist.

A required tool could not be found.

The action failed.

No permission to read one of the files passed on the command line.

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