How do I get to the Universe Repository in supported versions of Ubuntu?


5 Answers 5


If you want in one command and not use Software source ticking then in terminal put:

sudo add-apt-repository universe

On older versions of Ubuntu, you might have to use a full source line:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

To enable all Ubuntu software (main universe restricted multiverse) repositories use

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main universe restricted multiverse"

you can add also partner repository with different link (see difference is ubuntu to canonical)

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) partner"

Then update the package list:

sudo apt-get update


$(lsb_release -sc) checks your Ubuntu version and puts its name in the source link. Since 12.04 is called precise, you can test in a terminal that lsb_release -sc gives precise. That adds the precise name of your Ubuntu release in Software sources. Wrong word and nothing will work.

For all differences in repositories read https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu

  • 8
    Just a note that you may have to run sudo apt-get update before you can install the package you wanted.
    – ty01
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:17
  • Debian doesn't always come with lsb_release installed, but if you have it you can use a similar syntax with their mirror URLs.
    – dragon788
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 13:10
  • sudo: add-apt-repository: command not found
    – cowlinator
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 21:23

First, open software center. Click on 'edit' and then 'software sources' to open the software sources window. Once that is open, check the box that says, "Community-maintained free and open-source software (universe)."

enter image description here

Now, all the universe packages should show up in software center just like all the other ones.

More information:

  • In my case ( on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS) This option was already checked. So i have just unchecked it and then checked it again. Click on "revert" and then software cache will update. And then i was able to install stable chrome using ubuntu software installer with stable debian page. Thanks @user69469 :)) Strang!! isn't it? Commented May 29, 2017 at 16:01

Command Line Way of enabling Ubuntu software Repositories For 12.10 and above:

To enable main repository,

sudo add-apt-repository main

To enable universe repository,

sudo add-apt-repository universe

To enable multiverse repository,

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

To enable restricted repository,

sudo add-apt-repository restricted


After enabling the repositories, don't forget to update it.Run the below command to update the repositories,

sudo apt-get update
  • 3
    what's the difference between your answer and kangaroo's answer, yours seems shorter, and simpler.
    – speedox
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 1:31
  • 9
    Because my answer won't work for the versions below 12.10 Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 5:02
  • 1
    Is there also a way to check them first? So you only enable them when they aren't enabled already... For scripting purposes. Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 11:53
  • If they are already enabled, you'll get a message saying that it is already available ``` $ sudo add-apt-repository main 'main' distribution component is already enabled for all sources. ``` Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 14:24

Open dash and type Software sources

type <code>software sources</code> in Dash

then open software sources and click on the the universe repository .

select "Community maintained Open Source Software (universe)"

Close and reload cache

reload cache


To use add-apt-repository, you will need the package software-properties-common:

sudo apt install software-properties-common

Then you can use add-apt-repository to add the needed repository:

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update
  • This package is installed by default, so this answer doesn't really add anything new. Commented Mar 15 at 8:28
  • There is an earlier comment about the command being missing, and it was for me as well after creating a minimal bootstrap.
    – jlainema
    Commented Mar 16 at 10:03
  • It is not installed by default in e.g. the Docker image for Ubuntu. Commented Apr 30 at 20:30

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