The following isn't a better way nor is it any more intuitive than the one outlined above - it's just another way: Create the launcher on the desktop first:
Right Click the desktop > Create launcher.
Give it a name and icon and enter the command to wherever your file is located:
Note: Double click this new launcher to make sure it works. You will likely get a "do you want to make it executable" message which you want to do. Then put it on the panel.
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2 ways to do this:
*** Drag and drop it onto the panel. This seems to depend on humidity levels and sun spot activity to work successfully but it can be done.
*** Right click the desktop launcher > Open with "Create Launcher on the panel"It will ask you which panel if you have multiple.You can then right click > move to place it exactly where you want it on the panel since by default it places it on the far right side of the panel where you would most likely never place it yourself.
Once it's on the panel you can remove the launcher on the desktop itself.