The main menu in Linux Mint 12 contains a lot of items, but what if you wanted to add custom items, remove items, or rearrange items? To edit the main menu, you must use a menu editor program called Alacarte.

For some reason, Alacarte is no longer installed by default in Linux Mint. However, it is available in the Software Manager and it’s easy to install. To begin, select Other | Software Manager from the Applications menu.

In the Search box on the Software Manager window, enter “alacarte” (without the quotes). You do not need to press Enter to see the results. They display as you type. Click the “alacarte” result.

On the alacarte screen, click Install.

You must authenticate when installing software. Enter your password in the Password edit box on the Authenticate dialog box and click Authenticate.

The progress of the installation displays at the bottom of the Software Manager window.


When the installation is finished, the alacarte screen may not displays the current status. The screen may say “Not installed” even though the software has been installed. If you want to make sure, click the Search results arrow on the breadcrumbs at the top of the window. Then, click “alacarte” in the list of results again.

The “alacarte” screen should now read Installed and there should be a Remove button, used to uninstall the software, if desired.

To close the Software Manager, select Close from the File menu.

To open the alacarte menu editor, select Other | Main Menu from the Applications menu.

The Main Menu window displays. On the left is a list of all the menu categories available. When you select a category, items available in that category display on the right. Items in italics on both lists are not currently being displayed on the menu. To display a currently hidden item, select the check box to the left of the item.

To add an item not currently available in any menu category, select the category into which you wish to insert the item, and click New Item.


The Create Launcher dialog box displays. If you are adding a program, make sure Application is selected in the Type drop-down list. You can also add a Location (or folder) to the menu. Enter a name for the application in the Name edit box. This name displays on the menu. To enter the command to run when the menu item is selected, click Browse and find the executable file for the program. You can enter a comment for the application in the Comment edit box, but it is not required. This Comment displays as a popup hint when you move your mouse over the menu item. Click OK once you have entered the information.

We added RedNotebook to the Other menu category.

By default, the items on the main menu are listed alphabetically, but you can change that and move items up and down in each submenu. You can also add separators to group items. Alacarte allows you to easily customize the main menu in Linux Mint to your reflect the way you work.

Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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