I have raspbian, with the pixel desktop. How can I add custom application launchers to the panel? Alternatively, how can I add Firefox, and terminal emulator to the panel?

I tried dragging and dropping programs into the panel, but this doesn't work. I have searched all thought panel preferences.

  • I'm more of a CLI user and unfortunately haven't had much of a chance to play with PIXEL. Could you possible take a look at this and see if it's still relevant?
    – goobering
    Jan 18, 2017 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


Do the following

  1. Click on the raspberry menu button.

  2. Select Preference [Main Menu Editor]

  3. In the left column select a location for the new item i.e. "Other".

  4. Click on the right column.

  5. Select [New Item].

  6. Give the Item a name i.e. "K40 laser cutter".

  7. Browse to the location of the item and click on it. In my case it was:

  8. Edit the command in my case I added sudo python to the beginning.

  9. Add a comment.

  10. Click on the icon in the left of the window.

  11. Select a unique icon for your new item. Mine was in the k40_whisperer folder.
    Note : You may want to find the icon using the file manager.

  12. Close the menu editor.

Older Raspians you could do this

  1. Find your new item in the Main Menu.
  2. Drag the new item to panel.

Newer Raspians do this

  1. Right click on panel.
  2. Click on [Add/Remove Panel Items].
  3. Open the [Panel Applets] tab.
  4. Click on [Preferences].
  5. Locate your new item in the menu and click on it.

OK, I figured out a way to do it. I'm not claiming it as an elegant solution, and there may well be better options. This solution would also have problems, if you wanted to do other things like write your own code and execute it via panel applet. So its good enough, for right now, but could likely be improved.

First, right click on the panel, and select "Panel Preferences".

Then, select the Panel Applets Tab, and click the Add Button. Next, Select "Application Launch bar" and click add. enter image description here

Then, click "up" several times to get the "+" logo into the position you want, and click OK.

Goto the Plus sign, and click on it. you now have a list of applications from the applications menu. select the application you would like to add, and click add. Then Click ok.

I ended up with something like this: enter image description here

Other Caveats: The listing in "Panel Preferences" will all say "Application Launch Bar" and I see no way to differentiate between them, short of clicking up or down, to move a selected launcher around.


To add custom applications, or to edit the panel config manually, you need to edit

Here you can modify any settings of the panel that you want, including the launchbar
You can find most installed applications' .desktop files either in
/usr/share/applications/ or

Plugin {
  Config {
    Button {
    Button {
    Button {
    Button {

You can specify any path to a .desktop file in the id.
If given just a file name, it will either look in
/usr/share/applications/ or

You could add your custom .desktop file there, to launch anything you'd like, or use the path/to/your/custom.desktop file

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