Ubuntu Alacarte Menu Editor

Ubuntu documentation

One of the greatest benefits of using Ubuntu is that it offers a ton of customizable features. This theory holds especially true for menu options and Ubuntu comes with the Alacarte Menu Editor, so you can customize your menus and add entries for applications that don't automatically appear after they are installed.

Person using the Ubuntu Alacarte menu
Lifewire / Hilary Allison 

Alacarte is a powerful application, but it doesn't necessarily work in all situations. The default Ubuntu installation uses the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME offers a completely different approach to listing applications. It shows them all in a large list, similarly to a mobile device. So, Alacarte won't do much to help you with GNOME.

If, however, you've chosen a different GTK-based desktop environment, like MATE, XFCE, or Cinnamon, you can take full advantage of Alacarte to customize your applications menu.

Install Alacarte

Alacarte is available in the regular Ubuntu repositories. Open your terminal emulator, and run the following command to install it.

sudo apt install alacarte

How to Create a New Menu Entry With Alacarte

To add a new menu entry:

  1. Open Alacarte with Applications > Accessories > Alacarte Menu Editor, or by right-clicking on any top-level menu and choosing Edit Menus.

  2. In Alacarte's left-hand pane, choose the submenu the new entry should appear in.

    Alacarte on Linux
  3. Press Add Item on the far right of the Alacarte window.

  4. A new window will pop up for you to create your menu entry. Start by giving it a Name.

    New entry in Alacarte on Linux
  5. Next, type the Command to launch your application. If you aren't sure what it is, press Browse, and navigate to /usr/bin. All your applications will be there, even if the list is massive.

    Alacarte entry with name and command
  6. Next, select the image icon to the left. That will open a new browse window, letting you choose an icon for your application. The installed icons on your system are at /usr/share/icons.

    Alacarte entry with icon
  7. Now, you can optionally add a Comment to your entry.

  8. Finally, press Ok to create your new menu item.

To change the order of menu entries, simply use the up and down arrows on the right-hand side of the Alacarte window.

To stop a menu entry from being displayed, use the checkboxes beside each entry. This does not erase the menu entry, so you can restore it later in the same way.