Set default favorite applications

Favorite applications are those visible on the GNOME Shell dash. You can use dconf to set favorite applications for one user, or to set the same favorite applications for all users. For both cases, you must first edit the dconf profile found in /etc/dconf/profile.

Set different favorite applications for different users

You can set the default favorite applications for each user by modifying their user database file found in ~/.config/dconf/user. The following example snippet uses dconf to set gedit, Terminal and Files (nautilus) as default favorites for a user. The example code allows users to modify the list later, if they wish to do so.

Contents of /etc/dconf/profile:

# This line allows the user to change the default favorites later

Contents of ~/.config/dconf/user:

# Set gedit, terminal and nautilus as default favorites
favorite-apps = ['gedit.desktop', 'gnome-terminal.desktop', 'nautilus.desktop']

You can also lock down the above settings to prevent users from changing them.

Set the same favorite applications for all users

In order to have the same favorites for all users, you must modify system database files using dconf keyfiles. 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.

Set the favorite applications

  1. Create the user profile which contains the following lines:



    local is the name of a dconf database.

  2. Create the directory /etc/dconf/db/local.d/ if it does not already exist.

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

    Contents of /etc/dconf/db/local.d/00-favorite-apps:

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


    # Lock default favorite applications
  5. Update the system databases:

    # dconf update
  6. Users must log out and back in again before the system-wide settings take effect.