creating custom icons for kde 4 desktop

Rick Miles frmrick at
Thu Feb 19 04:31:44 GMT 2009

I have asked about this on two threads and apparently no one else saw it as an 
issue but AFAIC it is really handy among other things to hit an icon that will 
open up a browser at a predefined URL. 

Two examples are (1) an icon that when I hit it opens up a browser at, or (2) hit an icon and open up an NFS shared directory on 
another box that holds a couple hundred gigs worth of timeshifted dvb broadcasts 
so I can just hit the one I want to watch and have a codeine dragon 
player fire up and run it.

There are other reasons for being able to create my own icons. I use kdialog often 
for things like a script that parses and displays my weather forescast (only) off 
the BOM website in a little pop up window.... or how about that odd little ap that 
I like to use but the developer is so busy coding that he/she can't be bothered 
with something silly like throwing an icon into the source that I just downloaded.

I can't right click and create these icons easily like I did KDE 3.X but it can 
still be done without having to resort to having a (Desktop)folder sitting on my 
desktop. The icons are just the result of a text file which can be modified created 
in any editor.

Note that I am using Slackware which does not modify KDE unless it is absolutely 
necessary nor does it located directories in places other than where they are 
supposed to be.

Like I said the icons are the result of a text file and in a Slack box they are all 
located in or below /usr/share/applications. 

If I select /usr/share/applications/seamonkey.desktop and open it in an editor I 
get the following:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Web Browser

Surprise! Using konqueror as a file browser I was looking at seamonkey-icon.png but 
it was really a text file referring to the .png image.

So if I modify this file a little bit and use a small image of my choice (I keep a 
pile in /usr/local/share/icons) I can have an icon that will open up seamonkey and 
take it to when I give it a whack with the mouse.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Google Search
Comment=Web Search

Compare the two entries above and you should be able to see what I did.

Now on this box all I have to do is drag that shiney new Google Search icon out of 
the file manager and onto my KDE 4.2 desktop and Bob's your uncle.

Note that I am not dragging it onto a desktop folder on my desktop but the non-
folder desktop whatever it is called. 

One final note, not all of these desktop thingos are as straight forward as 
seamonkey.desktop. For example, have a squiz at gimp.desktop. If you are going to 
have a go at this copy a desktop file out of /usr/share/applications to somewhere 
else and give it another name before you start messing with it.... and oh yeah.... 
give it your permissions. In Slack that would be chown username:users 


Rick Miles

Written on Setting Orange, the 50th of Chaos, 3175 
Celebrate Chaoflux

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