How to Customize the Start Menu in Ubuntu

by Jason Artman

Ubuntu includes a series of drop-down menus at the top of the screen which can be used to launch programs and make changes to the configuration of the system. This menu system is similar to the Start menu in Windows, and like the Start menu, several changes can be made to the program launcher in Ubuntu to add programs or remove the ones you do not want to see. Customize the "Start menu" in Ubuntu to increase your productivity with the operating system by seeing only the programs that you want to.


Right click with the mouse pointer anywhere between the Ubuntu logo and the word "System" at the top of the screen. Click "Edit Menus." A new window opens. The left pane of the window shows the primary menu headings, such as "Applications" and "System." The right pane shows the individual applications under those headings. Click a triangle-shaped icon to expand a heading and see additional items beneath it.


Click a menu heading on the left side of the screen, then click an item on the right side and click "Delete" to remove it from the menu permanently. Alternatively, remove the check from the box next to the item to hide it but retain the option to display it again in the future.


Click an item on the right side of the window and click "Properties" to change the name. Type a new name in the "Name" text box, then click "Close."


Click an item, then click "Move Up" or "Move Down" to change its position on the menu.


Click the "New Menu" button to add a new menu heading on the left side of the screen. A new folder is created with a blinking cursor for you to type the name. Type a name and press "Enter," then click the folder and drag it to change its position on the menu.


Click the "New Item" button to create a new application shortcut. Type the name of the application in the "Name" box, then click the "Browse" button and navigate to the location where the program is stored. Click "OK" to save the new shortcut.


Click the "Revert" button at the bottom of the window if you decide at any time that you are unhappy with your changes. This button returns the application launcher to its original configuration.

About the Author

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera keyboard #3 image by Adam Borkowski from