Ulauncher: Linux app launcher to increase your productivity

If you’re a Linux user, you’ve probably heard of Ulauncher. It is hailed as the fastest app launcher on Linux and is free.

Ulauncher can perform a variety of operations on the computer, from searching for files and launching applications to running scripts, finding content on the Internet, and much more, all directly from the desktop.

Not only that, but Ulauncher also offers extensions that you can use to further extend its functionality. What’s more, you can even create your own extension and add it to Ulauncher.

If you want to accomplish a task on the Linux desktop, Ulauncher is a must-have app launcher. Let’s take a look at how to install and use it on Linux.

How to Install Ulauncher on Linux?

Ulauncher is available on almost all Linux distributions, and you can install it on your machine using the following instructions:

On Ubuntu/Debian-based distros, open the terminal and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:agornostal/ulauncher

sudo apt update

sudo apt install ulauncher

To install Ulauncher on Fedora, CentOS, and RHEL:

sudo dnf install ulauncher

Arch Linux users can install Ulauncher from the AUR using:

yay -S ulauncher

First run of Ulauncher

First, start by launching the Ulauncher app. Open the Applications menu and search for Ulauncher or run the following command in the terminal:


Upon launching Ulauncher, you’ll see its icon in the system tray at the bottom of your desktop. Right-click on it and select Preferences to open Ulauncher Preferences. Alternatively, press the Ctrl + Space hotkey to invoke the Ulauncher search and click on the gear icon in the search box to go to Preferences.

Here, you can change various settings such as hotkeys, color themes, and more.

Change Hotkey

Hotkey is the keyboard shortcut you use to invoke Ulauncher. To change it, tap on the text field next to Hotkey, press your desired keyboard shortcut, and hit Enter.

Enable Launch at Login

If you want to use Ulauncher as the default launcher for your system and launch it automatically when you log in, you can go to the Ulauncher preferences and check the checkbox next to Launch at login.

Exclude a Directory From Being Indexed

If there’s any directory on your file system that you don’t want Ulauncher to search into (in response to your query), you can blacklist it to prevent it from being indexed in the first place.

To do this, go to the directory you want to blacklist and copy its absolute path. Head back to Ulauncher Preferences and scroll down to the Advanced section. Tap on the empty text field under Blacklisted App Dirs and paste the absolute path of the directory you want to blacklist.

Click the Enter button to save the changes.

How to Use Ulauncher

Once you’ve completed the configuration of Ulauncher, you can start using it for various searches and system operations. By default (online searches on Google, Stack Overflow, and Wikipedia are allowed), Ulauncher works as follows:

1. Find a File or Directory in Local Storage

Ulauncher comes with a built-in local storage explorer. This lets you find files and directories on your system right from your desktop.

To use it, invoke the Ulauncher search (by hitting the hotkey) and append it with your query. You can also use wildcards with Ulauncher (using tilde (~) for the home directory, for example).

If you aren’t familiar with the contents of a directory, type its name in the Ulauncher search and hit Enter to reveal its files and directories.

Do this until you get to your desired directory/file in a folder. When you need to open a file in the list, click on it or press the dedicated keyboard shortcut (usually Alt + x, where x is a number).

2. Launch an App

Ulauncher can not only find files and directories but also help you find and launch applications in your system. All you have to do is call up the Ulauncher search and enter the name of the app you want to open. When it appears in the result, click Enter or click on it to start it.

3. Search an Item Online

Another powerful feature of Ulauncher is that lets you find projects online, and by default, Ulauncher lets you search on Google, Wikipedia, and Stack Overflow.

For a Google search, fire up the Ulauncher search, enter “g,” and append it with your search term. If you’d like to search Wikipedia, replace “g” with “wiki”, and for looking up on Stack Overflow, use “so.”

4. Perform Calculations

Similar to searches, Ulauncher also allows you to make calculations directly from your desktop. For this, enter your query in the Ulauncher search, and Ulauncher will return the result in real-time. To copy the result, hit Enter.

How to Install Extensions on Ulauncher

Ulauncher’s default state can only do a few basic things, and you can install extensions to achieve more offline and online searches by:

1. Go to Ulauncher Preferences.

2. Tap on the Extensions tab at the top and select Discover extensions to visit the Extensions website.

3. If you find an extension interesting, tap on it to learn more and reveal its URL. You can also use Ctrl + F to find an extension by name.

4. Click on the copy icon next to the text field with the extension’s URL to copy it.

5. Go back to the Extensions tab in the Ulauncher Preferences.

6. Hit the Add extension button and paste the copied URL.

7. Click on Add to add the extension.

After completing the above steps, you just need to wait for a few seconds for the extension to appear in the list of extensions.

Best Ulauncher Extensions

Ulauncher offers numerous extension options on its website in an attempt to minimize the operation of many of your systems. We’ve listed some of the best of them for you:

1.  Run commands: Execute terminal commands

2.  Calculate Anything: Calculate anything from units and currencies to timezones and complex calculations

3.  Speedtest: Do a quick speed test on your network

4.  Custom Scripts: Execute custom scripts

5.  IpCopy: Quickly find and copy your public and private IP address to your clipboard

6.  DuckDuckGo Bangs: Use DuckDuckGo Bangs to search the web efficiently

7.  Lock Screen: Lock screen instantly from the Ulauncher search

8.  Clipboard: View your clipboard history

9.  Process Murderer: Kill a system process by its name

10.  Spotify API: Control Spotify playback on any device from Ulauncher

11.  Better file browser: Browse file system with better visuals

12.  YouTube Search: Search videos on YouTube

13.  English dictionary extension: Look up definitions of words

14.  ShortIT: Quickly shorten a URL using any of the popular URL shorteners

15.  Open URL on default browser: Open a URL in your default browser

Almost all Ulauncher extensions have a trigger keyword. It’s what triggers these extensions in the Ulauncher search and lets you use it to find answers to your queries. To find the trigger keyword for an extension, go into the Extensions tab and select the extension. Find the Executer Keyword field on the right, and there you’ll see its trigger keyword.

If you want to change it, click on the existing initial, add the keyword you want, and then click the Save button.


Mastering Ulauncher will make it very easy to perform various daily operations on your Linux computer. You can call Ulauncher search directly from your desktop and get answers to your search queries instantly without using any other applications. This will greatly increase your productivity.