Recently I instructed you how to "Manage your E17 menus". In that article you saw how easy it was to add to the E17 favorites menu and handle some of the configuration options for the Main menu. The surprising issue was that the Main menu could not be edited (at least not with some serious pain, suffering, and confusion).
In this article I am going to show you how to edit/manage your GNOME menus. This tasks in the GNOME desktop is actually much easier than it is in E17, plus you have the added bonus of actually being able to edit the "Main" menus. This article will illustrate this task with the help of Ubuntu 9.04 and GNOME 2.26.1.
The GNOME menus
In the GNOME desktop there are three menus: Applications, Places, and System. Only two of these menus can be "officially" edited: Applications and System. By "officially" I mean with the built in menu editing tool. The Places menu can be edited very easily as well, and only requires the use of the Nautilus file manager.
With that said, let's edit some menus.
Since the Places menu is the easiest to edit, we'll start with that. In order to do this you need to open up the Nautilus file manager. When you are in this application you will notice a Bookmarks menu. That is the key. Click on that menu and take a look at the list of bookmarks. Now go to the Places menu and click on that. Do you see a similarity? You should, because they are the same. When you add a book mark to the Nautilus file manager it automatically adds itself to the Places menu.
To add a bookmark to Nautilus you just need to navigate to the directory you want to add and then click the Bookmarks menu and select Add Bookmark. You can also edit the bookmarks by select Edit Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu in Nautilus. When you select that a new window will open (see Figure 1) where you can manage your bookmarks. The "Jump To" button, when clicked, takes you (in Nautilus) to whatever bookmark you have selected.
Applications and System menus
Both of these menus are edited with a handy tool called Alacarte. You access this tool by right clicking the menu area (upper left) in GNOME and selecting "Edit Menus". When you do this the menu editor will open (see Figure 2).
This menu editor is quite simple to use. Let's create a new menu entry. The entry we will create will be an entry to open the Firefox browser automatically to the Ghacks website. To do this click on the Internet menu (in the left pane) and then click the New Item button (in the right pane). A new window will open where you will enter the following information:
The icon should be picked up based on the Command you enter. Since it is an URL the web-mime icon will automatically appear. Enter the above information and click OK. The menu entry will automatically appear in your menu.
From this same window you can:
The GNOME desktop has one of the easiest to manage menu systems of any desktop (Linux or not). Give these tools a try and you will find you can make your GNOME menus into exactly what you need for your desktop.
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