When Debian desktop is installed and uses GNOME, the applications menu contains something which looks like a directory (or a grouping) called Utilities. Inside, there is about a dozen applications, such as the calculator and the system monitor.

How is this grouping called?

I want to be able to create my own directories, but I can't figure out how it is called, and so I don't know what to search for.


1 Answer 1


Gnome follows the Freedesktop menu specification. Its menu is assembled from several files, including /etc/xdg/menus/gnome-applications.menu for applications that are part of Gnome itself, /etc/xdg/menus/applications-merged/*.menu for third-party applications installed system-wide and ~/.config/menus/applications-merged/*.menu for entries added by the user.

On Debian, the system files are generated by the menu package, which ensure that when you install an application, it'll have suitable menu entries in all installed window managers (regardless of whether they use Freedesktop menu specifications or their own format).

The content of each file is (mainly) a hierarchy of menus, submenus and menu entries. Menus from different files are merged, so if you define submenus with the same name in your own files, the entries will appear in the same submenu as system applications.

Entries are .desktop files which specify a name, an action, an icon, etc.

Based on the content of the menu files on my system, I think this should work to add foo.desktop to the “Applications → Utilities” menu.

<!DOCTYPE Menu PUBLIC "-//freedesktop//DTD Menu 1.0//EN"

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