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How to add file folders to the XFCE4 menu

XFCE4 is an excellent Linux desktop environment, but one of its shortcomings is that users aren’t able to access folders directly from the menu like other modern desktops such as Gnome, KDE, Cinnamon, etc. 

If you’d like to access your favorite file folders right from the XFCE 4 menu, this guide is for you. Follow along as we show you how to add file folders to the XFCE4 menu!

Alacarte on Linux

The easiest way to add folder shortcuts to the XFCE 4 menu on Linux is with the Alacarte menu editor. With it, users can manipulate and modify the entire menu without that much effort.

Install Alacarte

As great as Alacarte is, though, it does not come pre-installed on many Linux distributions. So, before we can go over how to add folder shortcuts to the XFCE4 menu, we must demonstrate how to install this app.

To start the installation of Alacarte on your Linux PC, launch a terminal window. With the terminal window open, follow the installation instructions outlined below that correspond with the Linux OS you currently use.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install alacarte

Debian

sudo apt-get install alacarte

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S alacarte

Fedora

sudo dnf install alacarte

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install alacarte

Open Alacarte

With the Alacarte app installed on your Linux PC, launch it. To launch it, press Alt + F2 on the keyboard to open up the XFCE 4 quick-launcher. Then, with the quick-launcher open, enter the alacarte command in the text box and press the Enter key to launch it.

Add folders to XFCE4 menu

Adding folders to the XFCE4 menu is done with the Alacarte app. Open up the app if you haven’t already and follow the step-by-step instructions down below to add folders.

Step 1: We must create a new main menu item with the name of “Places.” This menu item will house all of the folders we add to the menu.

To add a new menu item, find the “New Menu” button, and click on it with the mouse. After selecting “New Menu,” type in “Places” in the “Name” column to give your new item a name.

Step 2: Look in Alacarte for your new “Places” menu on the side-bar, and select it with the mouse. Then, find the “New Item” button, and click on it to create a new item.

Step 3: After selecting the “New Item” button, the “Launcher Properties” window will appear. Find the “Name” box, and write in the name of the folder shortcut you want to add to the menu.

For example, if I want to add a Desktop folder to the XFCE4 menu, I write “Desktop” in the “Name” box.

Step 4: Once you’ve named your launcher, look for the “Command” box in the “Launcher Properties” window. Then, write out the following command in the command box. Keep in mind you will need to change “USER” with your Linux PC’s username for the command to work.

Please change “my-folder” in the command below to the actual path of the folder you wish to launch with the shortcut. 

thunar /home/USER/my-folder/

Step 5: Now that the command is set in the shortcut, find the icon box, and click on it. Upon clicking on the icon box, a file browser will appear. Use this file browser to set a custom icon for your folder shortcut.

Note that you do not have to set an icon for your folder shortcut for it to work. If you do wish to set an icon, browse to /usr/share/icons/ and look around for something that suits your needs.

Step 6:

After adding your folder shortcut, it should immediately appear in the XFCE menu under “Places.” Repeat steps 1-5 to add as many folders to the XFCE menu as you desire.

Installing Whisker Menu for easy folder access

While it’s nice to have folders in the XFCE4 menu, it’s even nicer to be able to find them when you search. To find folders added to the menu while using the menu search function, you will need to install the Whisker Menu. This menu supports keyword searching for apps and will make it possible to search for folders you’ve added to the menu.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin

Debian

sudo apt-get install xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin

Fedora

sudo dnf install xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin

After installing the Whisker Menu, right-click on your panel, select “Panel,” followed by “Panel Preferences.” Then, use the panel preferences window to remove the standard XFCE 4 menu and add Whisker Menu to your XFCE4 panel. 

Once Whisker Menu is the default menu on your XFCE4 panel, open it. Then, type out the name of a folder you’ve added to the menu, and it will show up in the search results, just like in Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, and others!

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