How To Install And Use Ulauncher On Linux To Boost Your Efficiency?

You can also customize Ulauncher color theme, shortcuts and extensions.


Default application launcher on almost all Linux distributions limits itself to only searching and launching apps installed on your system.

But if you want your app launcher to do more than what it can offer, Ulauncher is a Linux productivity software that you should check out right now.

Ulauncher: More Than Application Launcher

Ulauncher is a completely free and open-source application launcher for Linux-based OS. It is written in Python, using the GTK+ toolkit for GUI.

It is also simple and lightweight available for almost all Linux desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, and Xfce.

If you use macOS, you’ll find it familiar with the default Spotlight or popular third-party app launcher like Alfred.

Search App Using Ulauncher

Once you install and launch the app, you can use the default hotkey CTRL + Space to activate it, i.e., show input box to search.

Search app
Search app

The app gives instant search results by using fuzzy matching. What it means is that Ulauncher shows related results even if you type the wrong spelling of the application name.

Fuzzy search
Fuzzy search

In case you want Ulauncher to skip searching some directories, you can add the absolute path of a directory to a Blacklisted App Dirs.

Blacklist directories
Blacklist app directories

Search File System

Beyond app search, if you start typing with ~ or /, it will let you ​browse files and directories, and navigate as well.

Search directories using Ulauncher
Search directories using Ulauncher

Use Shortcuts For Query Or Script

Ulauncher also supports web search directly through its own input box. By default, it comes with three fallback search with its shortcuts.

  • g – Google
  • so – Stack Overflow
  • wiki – Wikipedia
Search web
Search web

Want to search YouTube or add shortcuts for scripts? You can also create a custom shortcut for web search or your scripts.

Add custom shortcut
Add custom shortcut

Change Color Themes

Ulauncher comes with four built-in themes: Adwaita, Elementary Light, Elementary Dark, and Ubuntu.

If you want to try more themes like Arc Dark, Mint-Y-Dark, Dracula, and Pop!_OS, you can find it here contributed by other people.

Dark mode
Dark theme

To install new themes, you only need to do is clone the repository to ~/.config/ulauncher/user-themes/ directory.

git clone ~/.config/ulauncher/user-themes/ambiant-mate-ulauncher-theme
Install theme
Install theme

Didn’t like any of the themes? you can also create your own custom color theme by overriding the existing one. You can follow the steps given here.

Add Functionality Using Extensions

To make Ulauncher more powerful and feature-rich, it allows adding extensions. Extensions are basically Python 3 programs that run as a separate process along with the app.

Tons of third-party extensions are available that you can add to perform more functions directly using Ulauncher.

For example, Timer for the countdown with notifications, Clipboard for copied data, SSH Launcher, and Google Translate.


If some extension crashes after installing it, you might need to add dependencies it requires.

Crashing Ulauncher Extension
Crashing Ulauncher Extension

Aren’t you able to find a suitable extension for your need? You can create your own extension using Python.

How To Install Ulauncher On Linux?

The easiest way to install Ulauncher is to download its Debian or RPM packages and install by double-clicking (if you have a GUI package installer). Or you can run the following command:

For Debian or Ubuntu-based,

sudo apt install ./package-name

For Fedora,

sudo dnf install ./package-name

Ulauncher is also available in AUR repository for Arch Linux.

git clone && cd ulauncher && makepkg -is
Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar is a software engineer by profession with interest and experience in Blockchain, Angular, React and Flutter. He loves to explore the nuts and bolts of Linux and share his experience and insights of Linux and open source on the web/various prestigious portals.
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