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How to create folders in GNOME 44 (and why you should)

With Ubuntu 23.04 (Lunar Lobster) now officially available, you can give the Applications Overview a helping hand in the efficiency department. Folders make this easy.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person using laptop
Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

Ubuntu 23.04 is out and better than ever. With this new release, Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) has created one of the finest desktop operating systems on the market, one that's perfectly at home in the hands of those who've never touched Linux or even those with plenty of experience.

Lunar Lobster is elegant, easy to use, incredibly stable, and ready for just about anything you can throw at it. You can be productive, entertained, social, and creative. And, thanks to GNOME 44, you can be very efficient. 

Also: How to add online accounts to Ubuntu 23.04 (and why you should)

One of the things I've always liked about the GNOME desktop is that, once you get used to it, it effortlessly gets out of the way when you don't need it. At the same time, it's there when you're ready. And although GNOME hasn't always been touted as the most configurable desktop on the market, it does offer just enough tweaks for users to make it even more efficient and easy to use.

One such tweak is the ability to create folders in the Applications Overview. 

What is the Applications Overview?

The Applications Overview is GNOME's take on the desktop menu. Click the square of dots in the bottom left corner of the desktop to open the Applications Overview, where you'll see the favorites bar (on the left edge of the screen), the search field (at the top), the virtual desktops (below the search field), and launchers for all of your installed applications in the main section.

Also: The best Linux laptops for consumers and developers

On a side note: One thing I did discover is that the search field used to also function to help you find and install apps you needed. For example, I used to be able to type Spotify in the search field and it would appear as an installable app. With 23.04, that's no longer the case (even though Spotify shows up in the Software app store).

With that little sidetrack out of the way, let's get back to the point.


When you first open the Applications Overview, you'll notice one folder, named Utilities, ready to use. Click on that folder to reveal all of the applications within. Fortunately, you can create new folders for related apps. This will come in very handy as you install more and more applications. 

Also: Universal Blue is a new paradigm for the Linux desktop and it's brilliant

For example, by default, Ubuntu 23.04 ships with LibreOffice installed, which is made up of LibreOffice, LibreOffice Writer, LibreOffice Calc, LibreOffice Draw, LibreOffice Impress, and LibreOffice Math. That's six launchers in your Applications Overview. Why not combine them so they only take up one spot? It's a very simple addition that can help make your Applications Overview a bit less crowded.

Let me show you how it's done.

How to create an Applications Overview folder

What you'll need: To do this, you'll need a running instance of Ubuntu 23.04 or any Linux desktop distribution that uses an updated version of GNOME.

1. Open the Applications Overview

First things first. Click the square of dots at the bottom left corner of your desktop. This will open the Applications Overview.

The GNOME Applications Overview on Ubuntu 23.04.

Accessing your applications is simple with the Applications Overview.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Create a folder

Locate one of the LibreOffice launchers (such as LibreOffice Calc). Click and drag it over another of the LibreOffice launchers (such as LibreOffice Draw). 

Also: How to create a LibreOffice template

This will create a new folder and even automatically name it Office. 

The Applications Overview with a newly-created Office folder.

Combining two LibreOffice launchers automatically creates an Office folder.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Rename the folder (optional)

If you don't like the automatically-generated name, click the folder to reveal its contents. In the upper right corner of the folder, you'll see a pencil icon. Click that icon and you can rename the folder to anything you like.

The contents of the newly-created Office folder.

You can rename any new folder you create.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Keep adding LibreOffice launchers to the folder until they're all there.

You can combine any type of launcher into a folder. For example, you can add all of your productivity app launchers into a Productivity folder. You can create folders for all of your image editing launchers together, your internet tools (such as web browsers and email clients), your music and video tools, etc.

Also: How to configure LibreOffice to default to MS Office file formats

I will say that sometimes it can get tricky to drop a launcher into a folder. Should you find that to be the case, move one launcher over another until you see the orange outline. If the destination launcher moves out of the way, you'll have to keep trying. I've found this only to be a problem when you've created a number of folders in the Applications Overview. 

But with a bit of careful dragging and dropping, you can succeed in making this work. Eventually, you'll have an Applications Overview with a collection of folders such that the Applications Overview is only one (or two) pages, so you don't have to scroll through page after page to find what you're looking for.

Of course, there's always the search field to make that even easier.

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