Just installed Ubuntu for the first time... Is there any simple way to browse installed programs?

On Mac there is the Applications top-level folder... here I see Desktop, Documents, Downloads etc but no Apps? That'd be a good idea, no? (is there some way to create this myself?)

On Windows there is the Start menu...

Here it seems like I have to click the 'Dash Home' and then I can see 'Recent Apps' ... I can search for them (I'd rather not)

...or I can click the ruler/pencil icon at the bottom and see 'Recent Apps' and click to expand 'Installed Apps' ...ok that's all of them - is it possible to get a straight list view instead of the hard-to-scan wrapped rows?

Also, is there any way to get rid of the pointless random selection of 'Apps available for download' at the bottom?

  • I guess you are using Ubuntu 12.04? – dlin Jun 8 '12 at 10:38
  • yes. very impressed with the smooth install. the UI is ambitious but still feels clunky in many places and there are too many initial 'WTF' moments – Anentropic Jun 8 '12 at 12:09
  • You could go the command line way dpkg --get-selections > programs.txt – Olu Smith Dec 31 '14 at 8:01
  • and then you can view the list using gedit or your preferred editor – Olu Smith Dec 31 '14 at 8:01

Just like "Applications" on the Mac, you could browse "/usr/share/applications"

The best way to get there is open "Home Folder" or "Files" from the dash, press '/' and type '/usr/share/applications'. I guess you could make a bookmark there by pressing ctrl-D.

Content of /usr/share/applications

  • 2
    thanks, my question was semi rhetorical... why is there no bookmark created for this (with a nice icon, under 'Computer') by default? – Anentropic Jun 8 '12 at 12:04
  • I love the fact that there is no link. It points you to work in a more productive direction: search instead of browse. I always preferred to start an application by typing its name rather than searching in a menu maze. – H Marcelo Morales Jun 8 '12 at 19:19

ClassicMenu Indicator will do the job!

enter image description here

  • To install it, open a terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T, and type:

    sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:diesch/testing
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y classicmenu-indicator
  • I'd rather not have to install a 3rd party hack to get something so elementary, but thanks I may yet give that a try! – Anentropic Jun 8 '12 at 12:05
  • IMO its not a hack, but just another app providing a feature some want. Canonical made a choice to go with a particular launcher. Unless you need other features of Unity, you can always switch to the Gnome Shell UI as @Nick showed. – ish Jun 8 '12 at 12:14
  • and how do I get this on my task bar after I have installed it ? – Milkncookiez Nov 12 '13 at 22:46
  • Good question Milk...I'd like to know how to get it there after the installation. – Elysium Apr 18 '14 at 0:34

This is something way too easy,i do not undestand what is difficult for you to find.

For Gnome:

Applications -> All your software seperated in categories

System - > System tools

Places -> Folders

enter image description here

For Unity:

Click on "Dash Home" at the top left corner of the sidepanel: enter image description here

Then search for the program you want to open:

enter image description here

  • 1
    OP already said "is it possible to get a straight list view instead of the hard-to-scan wrapped rows?" -- which implies he's using Unity, so the Gnome Shell option is useless for him. – ish Jun 8 '12 at 10:39
  • I would like to know who marked this answer down as it answers the question correctly. – LinuxBill Jun 8 '12 at 10:40
  • @ izx,you are correct,but i wanted to cover the answer completely :) – dlin Jun 8 '12 at 10:41
  • 1
    @William i guess that was for the first sentence i wrote... – dlin Jun 8 '12 at 10:42
  • Well you answered it so +1 you mate. – LinuxBill Jun 8 '12 at 10:50

When you click the ruler/pencil icon at the bottom and see 'Recent Apps' pay attention to the 'Filter Results' menu. It is right after the 'Search Applications' field.

I guess it is exactly what you need.


I think you can hide apps for download by expanding the Filter options and choosing "Local" as the only app source.


Open Ubuntu Software Centre, then click Installed


Just go to the Ubuntu Software Center and download the classic menu indicator it will appear on your side bar. Click on it and it will appear on the top bar.

  • 1
    duplicate of an existing answer – Anentropic Aug 8 '14 at 8:26

For me Synapse is the best solution to open programs quickly. Works pressing Ctrl+Space and writing the name program what you want to open, like on the image:

Synapse opening Firefox

To install follow this steps:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:synapse-core/pp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse

To auto-start the program when Ubuntu start, go to preferences and activate the option.

protected by Community Apr 5 '15 at 10:46

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