Ulauncher: for me, the best launcher available for Ubuntu

UlauncherMany years ago I used Alfred on macOS, when it was still called Mac OS X. From Alfred I could search for applications, documents, launch scrtipts or search the web, all from the same launcher. In Linux I have tried many, among which are Synapse and Albert, the second based on macOS Alfred, but the one I liked the most (besides Kubuntu's Krunner) is Ulauncher, the option that I will use on my Ubuntu installations and other systems without a native launcher.

What do I ask a pitcher? Basically that it can launch everything or almost everything from it. It seems important to me that perform internet searches from the same launcher and this is something that Ulauncher does perfectly. Like Alfred, we can configure all types of searches to search within any web without having to open the browser, enter the web and perform the search. As if that were not enough, this launcher still has one more surprise for us.

Ulauncher: a great launcher compatible with extensions

We go in parts. What I like the least is that you can't (or at least I can't) set the keyboard shortcut to Left Alt + Space. It also doesn't leave me with the Super or Meta key. In this way, you have to launch it with Ctrl + Space. Once this is over, we go to all the good stuff. What does Ulauncher do by default?

When pressing the keyboard shortcut and launching it, the dialog box will appear in the middle of the screen. Before we start, we can configure (from the gear on the right) the following:

  • The keyboard shortcut that will launch it.
  • The theme between light, dark, Adwaita or Ubuntu.
  • Start with the system.
  • Show most used applications.
  • Shortcuts.
  • Extensions.

Default you can search: applications, files, has a calculator and you can search the internet. But things get interesting in the Shortcuts. From here we can configure the searches we want. To do this, we click on «Add shortcut» and fill in the fields: we put a name, a launcher, an image and we fill in what the script would be. In the following example I have filled in the fields like this to search DuckDuckGo:

  • Name: DuckDuckGo.
  • keyword:D
  • Image: the DuckDuckGo logo I'm a big fan of DuckDuckGo because looking from it I don't need many of the extensions that I will mention later.
  • Script: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=query

How do you get the script? It depends on each web page. I have done the search "hello" in DuckDuckGo, I have copied everything else and added "query", which is the word that is replaced by our search.

Extensions available in Ulauncher

If we go to the settings / Extensions we have three options: one for add an existing extension, another to create it and another to go to the gallery. Alfred had the editor built in, but Ulauncher sent us to a website. In any case, what may interest us at first is «Discover extensions», which will lead us to this website. The best thing is that you take a look, but we have interesting extensions such as:

  • Linguee: to define words.
  • IMDb: to search for movie and series information.
  • Password store: to store passwords.
  • System Management: to do things like shut down or restart the computer.
  • GNOME-Settings: to find a specific setting.
  • Unit converter: unit converter.
  • A translator.
  • Currency converter.
  • To control Spotify.
  • Emoji Finder.
  • And many more.

If it does not find anything, it will suggest to search for it on the internet in the order in which we have configured the search engines. For example, if we search for Metallica, we do not have any song on our computer and we press Enter, it will search for "metallica" in the first search engine that we have configured. If we don't want that search engine, we can choose the second option with Alt + 2. And it is that Ulauncher does not usually find only one option, so it offers us the possibility of choosing the one we prefer with its corresponding keyboard shortcut.

Another thing I would like to highlight is the Ulauncher design. Just as Synapse had a slightly overloaded image, this launcher is much thinner, being just a rectangle with some subtle shadows that looks really good.

How to install

To install Ulauncher and have it always updated we must write the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:agornostal/ulauncher
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ulauncher

Have you already tried Ulauncher? How about? In your opinion, does it improve the pitchers you knew?

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  1.   Juan Carlos said

    I, used to use synapse, however I stopped using it because sometimes there were conflicts with programs like eclipse, so I stopped using it. We will have to install it and use it to see what happens. I guess the ppa also works for 16.04.6.

  2.   Daniel said

    I am testing it and it is going very well.
    Duck's shortcut works like this for me https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s