Chapter 14. Customizing default favorite applications

You can customize frequently used applications as your favorite applications. You can see these favorite applications on the GNOME Shell dash in the Activities overview. You can use dconf to set the favorite applications for an individual user or for all users.

14.1. Setting different favorite applications for individual users

You can set the default favorite applications for individual users. You can add applications into your favorite list easily using any of the methods mentioned below.

  • Open the Activities overview and click Activities at the top left of the screen.
  • Click the grid button to find the application you want and right-click the application icon and select Add to Favorites.
  • Click-and-drag the icon into the dash.

Run the following command to view all the applications that exists in the favorite list:

dconf read /org/gnome/shell/favorite-apps

If you want to lock down the above settings to prevent users from changing them. See Chapter 16, Locking down selected tasks for more information.

14.2. Setting the same favorite applications for all users

You can modify system database files using dconf keyfiles to set the same favorites for all users. The following steps edit the dconf profile and then create a keyfile to set default favorite applications for all users in the local configuration database.


  1. Create the key file /etc/dconf/db/local.d/00-favorite-apps to provide information for the local database. /etc/dconf/db/local.d/00-favorite-apps contents:

    # Snippet sets gedit, terminal and nautilus as default favorites for all users
    favorite-apps = ['gedit.desktop', 'gnome-terminal.desktop', 'nautilus.desktop']
  2. To prevent users from overriding these settings, create the file /etc/dconf/db/local.d/locks/favorite-apps with the following content:

    # Lock default favorite applications
  3. Run the dconf update command to incorporate your changes into the system databases.
  4. Logout and login again for system-wide changes to take effect.