Three Utilities for the elementary OS Desktop

22 November, 2021

Ever come across a task for which you thought There has to be a little utility that can make this easier? Me, too. There are a lot of those kinds of tasks. It should come as no surprise, for Linux at least, there are a lot of little tools to tackle those tasks.

If you’re wondering what’s available for elementary OS, keep reading. This post takes a look at three utilities, ones that you might not always use, but which are handy to have around when you need them.


Sometimes, you download an application which, even after you install it, doesn’t appear in the Applications menu. I run into that a lot with software that’s written in Electron or that’s distributed as an AppImage. To get around that, you can create a desktop file.

Creating a desktop file can be a pain, though. A faster, easier solution is Desktopius, which builds a desktop file for you.

How? Just fire up Desktopius and fill in a few blanks.

Desktopius after you start it up

The key information you need to plug into Desktopius is:

Desktopius with app information

Once you’ve done that, click Create. Desktopius builds the desktop file and saves it (and the icon) to a folder in your /home directory called .local/share/applications.

If you have existing desktop files, click Show All to list them and their icons. In that view, you can also select a desktop file and click the pencil icon to edit it.


Are you familiar with the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a productivity method that breaks your work into 25 minute intervals with short breaks in between. Using the technique enables you to better focus on what you need to do.

A key component of the Pomodoro Technique is a timer. There are … I don’t know how many Pomodoro timers available. If you use elementary OS and are looking for a simple one, check out Ordne.

To jump in, fire Ordne up and click Start Working.

Ordne’s startup screen

The timer displays, counting down from 25 minutes. I’ll talk about changing that in a moment.

Ordne’s timer running

When the 25 minutes run down, an alert pops up. You have the option of taking a break or to continue working. If you choose to take a break, the time counts down the technique’s default five minutes.

You can change the duration of your working time and of your breaks by clicking Pomodoro Preferences on the main screen and editing the options there.

Setting Ordne’s preferences


Do you ever find yourself needing to manipulate plain text in some way? Ways like changing the case of a sentence or title, removing spaces, or sorting lines of text.

You can do a lot of that with the functions built into more than a few text editors. TextShine can do even more.

TextShine ready for information

The operations that you can perform are grouped by type on the right side of the screen — for example, Change Case, Convert, Indentation, and Remove. You can also create a list of frequently-used operations that are grouped under Favourites.

To use TextShine, enter or paste text in left pane. Then, click the name of an operation. TextShine displays the results in the left pane.

For example, let’s say you want to convert some text formatted with Markdown to HTML. Paste the raw Markdown into TextShine:

TextShine with some text

Then, under the Markdown group click Convert Markdown to HTML. Here’s the result:

Markdown converted to HTML in TextShine

Scott Nesbitt