Desktop Entry Specification

Preston Brown


Jonathan Blandford


Owen Taylor


Vincent Untz


Waldo Bastian


Allison Lortie


David Faure


Version 1.2alpha


Table of Contents

File naming
Desktop File ID
Basic format of the file
Group headers
Possible value types
Localized values for keys
Recognized desktop entry keys
The Exec key
D-Bus Activation
Registering MIME Types
Additional applications actions
Action identifier
Action keys
Implementation notes
Extending the format
A. Example Desktop Entry File
B. Currently reserved for use within KDE
C. Deprecated Items
D. The Legacy-Mixed Encoding (Deprecated)
E. Changes to this Specification
Changes from version 1.1 to 1.2
Changes from version 1.0 to 1.1


Both the KDE and GNOME desktop environments have adopted a similar format for "desktop entries", or configuration files describing how a particular program is to be launched, how it appears in menus, etc. It is to the larger community's benefit that a unified standard be agreed upon by all parties such that interoperation between the two environments, and indeed any additional environments that implement the specification, becomes simpler.