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I just recently got a raspberry pi 2, and in a mistaken blunder, I wiped all of the default applications (file manager, terminal, mathematica, wolram, etc.) from the taskbar.

Is there any way to manually pin applications to the task-bar? I would like to pin applications such as the terminal and file manager back up to the task-bar.

My raspberry pi 2 is running standard Rasbian. I have low-level experience with terminal, as I am a native windows 7 user.

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  • The linux desktop model is heterogeneous; on default Raspbian the taskbar is an artifact of the desktop environment (DE), more specifically LXDE. I don't use it, but I mention this because if you are searching for documentation, etc., you may find it easier to research that way.
    – goldilocks
    Dec 27, 2015 at 16:29

2 Answers 2

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LXDE (the desktop of Raspbian) uses LXPanel. LXPanel has several "applets" that aren't actually connected to each other. The "pinned applications" (whose official name is "Application Launch Bar") applet is one, for example. Another one is the "Task Bar (Window List)". In Windows, those are nicely integrated, but not in LXDE, where different applets share practically nothing. If you wanted to "pin" a program, you would have to go to the settings of the application launcher, add the application manually (which in some cases means writing your own .desktop files). That is then completely unrelated to the window switcher icon. These features do have some upsides, though. Remember how in Windows, you were forced to that same panel layout all the time? Not the case here. You can move things around however you like. In Windows, all applications had was the system tray icon. In Linux, there is a tray, but applications can easily add their own applets that can be much more powerful that a tray icon.

All these applets can be added or removed from the panel. You seem to have accidentally removed the pinned applications applet. To re-add that, follow these super simple step by step instructions.

  1. Right click anywhere on the panel.
  2. Click "Add / Remove Panel Items".
  3. Click "Add".
  4. Find "Application Launch Bar" in the list.
  5. Select it and click "Add". It should appear on the very end.
  6. Click "Up" until it is above "Minimize All Windows" but below the "Spacer" above it.
  7. Now click "Preferences". It should show 2 columns, the 1st one containing displayed apps and the second containing the remaining ones.
  8. Select the apps you want to add and hit "Add".

You should be done now.

TLDR: Read the numbered list

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  • As of 2023, things might have changed since 2015. After step 4: double-click 'Application Launch Bar' to see all launchers. Browse in the right panel through the apps installed in the system menu tree to your new launcher, installed as a .desktop file (see other answer) (this is more or less step 7, and click Add (this is step 8). +1
    – Roland
    Dec 11, 2023 at 17:58
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There is an example of creating a taskbar button on Raspbian here ("Step 3"): http://orbisvitae.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=81166#Post81166

This makes use of the XDG standard by creating a [Desktop Entry] file specifying an icon, which is commonly used by desktop environments in one way or another; evidently in this case it will get added to the taskbar although it may in fact (instead or also) end up in the taskbar menu heirarchy.

The default desktop environment now used on Raspbian is a called PIXEL, but it was only recently forked from LXDE, which has been around for about 10 years; you'll notice they have their own forum and documentation linked there. I mention this because it may be easier to research that way.

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  • Welcome to Raspberry Pi! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. We're trying a new policy with regard to informationless link-only answers here. If this post is not edited to contain information that can stand as an answer, however minimal, in 48 hours it will be converted to Community Wiki to simplify having it corrected by the community.
    – Ghanima
    Oct 23, 2016 at 8:52
  • This is a good answer for how to create a your_app.desktop file, to be installed in the application launch bar (task bar) as explained in the other answer. +1
    – Roland
    Dec 11, 2023 at 17:52

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