How to add application icons to the top panel in Ubuntu MATE

I lost my top panel icons after upgrading from 18.04 to 20.04. I had some useful apps like the calculator and terminal and I wanted their icons always visible. Many tutorials suggested right clicking on the panels to modify or dragging icons onto the panels but neither option worked for me. When I dragged, it opened the application instead of moving the launcher. When I right clicked, I did not see any "Add to Panel" or other options for making changes - all that was in the menu was Help and About Panels.

I determined that the panels were locked, and could be unlocked via the dconf editor. I opened dconf-editor and went to org.mate.panel.general and set locked-down to "0". I was then able to drag and drop my applications to the top panel.

Note: I had the Traditional Panel layout selected while doing this.


Yeah - I don't understand the mentality behind setting every single item on every panel to "Locked" either: given that basically nobody "likes" the default forms of any of the presets ** it just means more tedious clicking around fixing that on the various pieces before you're allowed to turn them into something that you DO actually want.

** That's not something that can be solved by improving the presets or adding more of them: it's just that no matter what the preset is, it's really only ever going to be a starting point for anyone's desktop, so locking every element when you know that literally everyone is going to want to change them just feels petty.

As with your problem case, given that a preset can be reloaded at any time, ISTM that the default behavior should be to allow changes with the minimum of aggravation - and especially so for Secret Registry Entries cases like you ran into.