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What lenses are available for Unity?

If the lens has (a) scope(s) remember to add them to your answer as well.

  • 3
    Wouldn't it be feasible if this post along with the post for quicklists under an EXTENSION page on the Unity website?
    – Mysterio
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 6:44

36 Answers 36


Dash-based Calculator

The scope works using GCalctool – the default calculator installed in Ubuntu. With such a robust backend the scope is capable of handling most basic mathematic operators and requests such as ‘+’, ‘-’, ‘%’, ‘sin’, ‘pi’, etc.

Currently still in testing

Dash Calculation

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-utilities unity-scope-calculator

More Information @ OMG! Ubuntu

Bugs should be reported @ launchpad.net/onehundredscopes with the term [calculator] placed at the beginning of the subject line.

  • Is it possible that this doesn't work on 13.04? When I enter the second line in my terminal it sais : 'Package unity-scope-calculator is not available, but is referred to by another package. This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source However the following packages replace it: unity-asset-pool E: Unable to locate package unity-lens-utilities E: Package 'unity-scope-calculator' has no installation candidate '
    – user138784
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 9:56
  • 3
    On Ubuntu 13.04 at now it can be installed from Oneric repositories, but does not really work as I think. Just nothing happens when trying to do any calculations. I really miss that Scope. Any help would be appreciated.
    – kcpr
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 22:59
  • It works! Check this out: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2143808 .
    – kcpr
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 12:23
  • I have that one, and I can guarantee it rocks! Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 18:46

Google Books

A lens to search books and authors on Google Books.

Screenshot of Google Books Lens



Pirate Bay Scope & Torrent Lens

The technology itself is perfectly legal, but it has been debated if its implementation in connection with copyrighted material or otherwise illegal material makes the issuer of the bittorrent file, as opposed to the copyrighted material itself, liable as an accomplice or infringer.

Allows you to search torrents without opening a browser, and allows drag and drop to transmission for downloading. You can also filter by torrent type (music, video, ect.) and size. Ubuntu Torrent search

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-scope-piratebay python-lxml

More information found at OMG! Ubuntu

For information as to what a Torrent is, take a look at this question.


Ubuntu Cities Scope

Gets you a Map, the time, temperature and wind-speed in almost any city in the world for you in the dash.

Ubuntu Cities Scope

Temperature is in Celsius and Fahrenheit and wind-speed is in kilometers/hour and miles/hour.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-utilities unity-scope-cities

More on this scope at OMG! Ubuntu and OMG! Ubuntu Update


Recoll Lens

Recoll is a full text search desktop tool which indexes the contents of many file formats including OpenOffice, MS Office, PostScript, MP3 and other audio files, JPEG and more. Besides regular searches, Recoll also lets you perform some advanced operations like searching for the author, file size, file format as well as operators like "AND" or "OR".

Unity Recoll Lens lets you use Recoll from Dash, without having to open any additional GUI. The lens comes with a few filters like Text, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Media or Message, but for more advanced searches, you'll have to manually enter the Recoll search query. Examples: author:"john doe" metallica OR megadeth /2007 (all documents from 2007 or older) dir:/path/to/dir (filters content from /path/to/dir directory).

Recoll Lens


Unity Recoll Lens is available in the Recoll backports PPA. To add the PPA and install Unity Recoll Lens, use the following commands:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:recoll-backports/recoll-1.15-on
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install recoll-lens recoll

Once installed, you'll have to start the Recoll GUI (just search for Recoll in Dash) and let it index your files. Once it finishes, log out, then log back in and you should see a new Recoll search lens. The Recoll search results don't show up just on the Recoll lens but also on the home Dash, when performing a global search.

(source and more information)

  • 2
    E: Unable to locate package recoll-lens
    – orschiro
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 14:43
  • E: Unable to locate package recoll-lens here too, despite having added those repositories. Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 22:17

Wikipedia Lens

Screenshot of Wikipedia Lens

The Wikipedia Lens is pretty self-explanatory: it allows you to search Wikipedia for various articles.


This lens is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.10, and can be installed using these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-wikipedia

(Source: OMG! Ubuntu!)


YouTube Scope & Lens

Allows you to search and filter YouTube videos from the Dash. Now opens video in VLC (if installed as well).

You can configure

YouTube Scope & Lens

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/lenses
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install yavol scope-youtube

Once both elements have been installed you will need to log out and back in before they show up.

You can configure viewer or to download with yavol-youtube-configurator:

Yavol Youtube Configurator

Read more at OMG! Ubuntu

  • The search could use some tweaking. I searched for a channel I'm familiar with called "penn point" and it returned videos featuring the words penn and seperately point.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 20:23

Unity Music Lens for 11.04

"Unity Music Lens uses Zeitgeist to search for music played on your computer and displays it in a Unity Lens."

Unity Music Lens

Starting in Ubuntu 11.10, the Music Lens also lets you search the Ubuntu One Music Store.


For Ubuntu 11.04, run the following in a terminal (source):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-music-lens

The Music Lens comes preinstalled in Ubuntu 11.10 and later.

  • I must point out that this Lens only works with Banshee, which is default in 11.10, and not with alternatives such as Rhythmbox and Clementine. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 15:09
  • 1
    Given this is installed by default in the last two releases, this post can probably be deleted.
    – 8128
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 19:05
  • It would be nice to know how to search any music files on the PC without using Banshee
    – feeela
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 14:45

Web Sources Lens

This lens lets you perform a web search from your desktop without having to open a separate browser first. You type in your search terms and select which "source" you want to use to search with.

Screenshot of Web Sources Lens


Add ppa:cscarney/unity-web-place to your Software Sources, then run in a terminal:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-place-websearch



Google Docs Lens

The Google Docs Unity Lens can be used to search in all your Google Docs files, open them in a browser and sort your documents by various criteria such as file type or ownership.

Screenshot of lens


It can be installed from the Web Upd8 main PPA. Installation:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gdocs

You need to enter your password manually. Just do:

gksu gedit /usr/bin/unity-lens-gdocs.py 

And enter your password then run the lens:

setsid unity


  • It's unclear from these directions how one should set the password. Can one avoid having the password appear in plain text in the python script?
    – cboettig
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 19:48
  • How do I install this lens on Ubuntu 12.04?
    – Voidcode
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 0:07

Adult Lens & Porn Scope

It should go without saying that in-order to use the lens you must be of legal age within your country or province.

The following ‘Adult Lens and Scope’ set which lets you search, filter and watch adult videos directly from the Ubuntu desktop.

The lens is accessible by clicking on the ‘X’ icon in the bottom row of icons in the Dash.

You can enter search terms to find specific videos and/or use the variety of filters to help narrow down your searches or interests.

A censored screenshot


The lens and scope are available to install from a dedicated ‘Adult’ PPA.


(link for above)

From OMG! Ubuntu

  • 10
    @Dustin In a Community Wiki style question, people vote based on whether or not they like the subject matter of the post. It's a rudimentary "poll" question. Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 13:33

Reddit Lens

As described by a post on WebUpd8:

A Reddit user has created a cool Unity Lens for Reddit (a website where you can find what's new and popular on the web with a very active Linux section). By default it displays /r/linux, /r/ubuntu, /r/iama and of course, the main stories.

The search field for the Unity Reddit Lens is basically a filter for Reddit categories so if for instance you want to see the top stories in the /r/technology category, search for "technology"...

Screenshot of Reddit Lens



Unity Graphic Design lens

Unity Graphic Design lens is a specialized tool, aimed towards designers, acting as a global place that can easily offer various resources needed for design, all in the comfort of the Dash.

The lens comes with four scopes:

Designs gather data from Dribbble, website also known as Twitter for designers (here you can abundantly find various images suited for a wide range of tastes and needs)

Palettes, 1-click adds color pallets to GIMP/Inkscape

Icons opens the vast iconfinder's icon collection to get an icon, click on it (it will open in your default web-browser)

Brushes scope brings deviantart into the lens

Unity Graphic Design Lens

Add the following official PPA (Oneiric, Precise)

     sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
     sudo apt-get update
     sudo apt-get install unity-lens-graphicdesign unity-scope-colourlovers unity-scope-deviantart unity-scope-dribbble unity-scope-iconfinder

Then log out and back into have it activated. Read more about this at iloveubuntu.net


Gwibber Lens for Unity

Gwibber Lens for Unity lets you to search, view and access posts, replies, messages and even images posted on your favorite social networking applications.

Gwibber Lens for Unity


Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04 LTS

Click to install: unity-lens-gwibberInstall Gwibber Lens

Ubuntu 11.04

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwibber-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gwibber



Unity DuckDuckGo

enter image description here

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that provides a clean interface together with a no-tracking privacy policy. It uses information from crowd-sourced sites (such as Wikipedia) to augment traditional results and improve relevance. The search engine policy emphasizes privacy and does not record user information. With users free from being profiled, this search method effectively breaks out of "the filter bubble" so that all users are given the same search results, not a set that has been tailored (filtered) to what the engine thinks the individual user wants to see.

With Unity DuckDuckGo you can search DuckDuckGo from Ubuntu Dash.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:w-vollprecht/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install duckduckgo-lens

Log out or reboot!

  • This repository no longer contains this package.
    – user12753
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 16:18

Tomboy Lens

The Tomboy Lens provides a number of basic features.

The Lens itself presents a note-only overview of your saved notes for easy launching, along with a ‘New Note’ entry for the creation of new notes.

The search bar within the Lens lets you search through the contents of all of your notes so you can whittle down and find whatever it is you’re after.

Tomboy notes Lens

Add to your software sources:


Click to install

More information found at OMG! Ubuntu.


Unity Calendar Lens

Allows you to easily search and access your calendar. Unity Calendar lens categorizes its events in Recent and Upcoming, events filterable by Personal and Birthdays & Anniversaries.

Evolution Scope

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa 
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install unity-calendar-lens

If you want to use Unity Calendar lens with Thunderbird install Lightning extension

sudo apt-get install xul-ext-lightning

More information found at iloveubuntu.net.

  • Nice idea, but it just crashes on 12.04 when opening the lens…
    – feeela
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 14:54

Unity Dictionary Lens

The Ubuntu Dictionary is an Unity Launcher plugin that allows you to find the meanings and definitions of words directly from the Unity Dash, using the GNOME Dictionary tool.

To install the Unity Dictionary Lens plugin in your Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating system, open a terminal window (hit the CTRL+ALT+T key combination) and paste the following commands (one by one, hitting Enter after each one):


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y unity-dictionary-lens

You will also need to restart your session after the installation. Be aware that this is only available for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin).



  • 7
    Link to video fails because it is private.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 3:58

Unity Web History lens: Firefox and Chrome History in Unity Dash

enter image description here

Source: iloveubuntu.com

Browsing the web is a daily activity, where thousands and thousands of webpages are visited, helping us to obtain informations related to subjects of interest, downloading packages, etc.

Unity Web History lens gathers, categorizes and displays one's visited webpages in the Dash, allowing users to easily access visited webpages by simply typing a word and opening (by clicking on it) the desired item.

Taking advantage of the fancy card view, the Web History lens displays its items with per-website-icon, title and link, consequently, the user easily identifies with increased accuracy the relevant items.

Unity Web History lens organizes the searched&found item in proper categories, like Recently Visited Websites, Most Popular Websites, but, if no words are typed in the search area, only the Firefox Bookmarks are exposed, thus presenting itself with a clean initial look that pulls the required data only on demand and, in the same time, presents the immediate option to access the bookmarks without any typing action.

In order to gather data, the History lens needs scopes/sources, without scopes, the lens offers only Firefox's bookmarks, without an actual web history and, so, reducing its utility.

In the same PPA, it is available a packaged Zeitgeist Firefox datasource, that, once installed, pushes the Firefox's web history into the lens (no further tweaks or separate packages needed), transforming Unity Web History lens into a full-fledged powerful tool to access one's desired websites at a press of a button, remembrance-aware, enhanced time endurance, proper exposing, etc.

Furthermore, as a handy addition, Chromium/Chrome's web-history can be displayed into the lens, by simply installing its Zeitgeist plugin, available in the Chrome Web Store.

A definitely interesting aspect of the mentioned lens is its ability to log and display the downloaded items, too, meaning, downloading the package unity-5.12.tar.bz2 from launchpad via Firefox web-browser, logs and displays the package unity-5.12.tar.bz2 just like a website but, clicking on it, opens the archive with Ubuntu's Archive Manager, as when opened from the usual desktop/Nautilus folder.

How do we use Unity Web History lens 0.4? Open the lens and type a word, then click on a relevant searched&found item, action that will open it via Firefox, furthermore, in order to trigger more accurate results, the user is to use the available filters (Last Day, Last Week, Last Month, Last Year).

How do we install Unity Web History lens 0.4? Add the following official PPA (Precise, Quantal)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-web-history-lens zeitgeist-datasource-firefox

and restart the computer.

Bugs can be reported on https://bugs.launchpad.net/~markjtully


Cooking Lens

Searching for offline and online recipe's from unity has never been easier.


I have to remove the support for following sites, due to "copyright violation":

Use an older software package to still use these sites.

Install it from the Scope Packers PPA

Click to install, if ppa added: unity-lens-cookingInstall Cooking Lens

PS: I wrote it my self. I hope you enjoy it. You can visit the project on Launchpad for more info.



This lens parses the ~/.ssh/config and ~/.ssh/known_hosts file to simple start the gnome-terminal and open a ssh connection with the fitting host-name and/or user.

If you would like to search in the known_hosts file you should disable hostname hashing in /etc/ssh/ssh_config (HashKnownHosts no). Otherwise this lens only uses ~/.ssh/config to find possible host-names.

Lens screenshot


The lens is available to install from the ‘Scopes Packagers’ PPA.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-sshsearch

(Link for above)

Features and examples could be found in the README file.


Unity Bliss Lens

This lens puts applications into category folders in the dash, similar to the old GNOME 2 Applications menu categories.

According to Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen (the lens' creator) from this OMG! Ubuntu article:

“This is a very simple implementation of an apps lens for Unity. It can be used as a replacement for the default apps lens if you want something simpler, or it can be used as a solid starting point for writing your own lens.

Bliss is by no means official or anything. It is a quick hack to showcase how you can go about this, mostly intended for developers who want to do their own thing. That is also why you wont find a PPA for it (not from me at least)”

Screenshot of Unity Bliss Lens

Instructions for installation:

  1. Download the package from https://launchpad.net/unity-lens-bliss by clicking the green button on the right side of the page.
  2. Extract the package into your home folder.
  3. Run the following in a terminal:

    cd unity-lens-bliss-0.1.3
    ./configure –prefix=/usr –sysconfdir=/etc
    sudo make install
  4. Log out and back in to see it in the Dash.

(Adapted from this answer.)


Spotify scope

Spotify scope adds extra resources to Ubuntu's default Unity Music lens, displaying Spotify songs when a particular item is searched.

Spotify scope depends on spotify-client-qt, tool that must be installed before the scope.

A definitely interesting innovation about the above mentioned scope is the marking of its items, meaning one can easily differentiate between songs provided by Banshee and Spotify's, the latter featuring a Spotify symbolic icons.

The usage is simple, properly oriented towards its corespondent application, meaning, playing a Spotify song is as simple as clicking on it (the item will be opened via the Spotify client).

Spotify scope


First, install the Spotify client (download the package and install it via Ubuntu Software Center).

   sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get install unity-scope-spotify

Active the scope by logging out and then logging back in.

Information from iloveubuntu.net

  • In Ubuntu 14.04, when trying I try to install the scope, it gives an error saying unable to locate the package.
    – Ali
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 23:40

Grooveshark Lens

Grooveshark music lens

The Grooveshark Scope can be installed in Ubuntu 11.10 by adding the following PPA:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa

Then install the scope:

 sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-scope-grooveshark

(Source: OMG! Ubuntu)


Unity News Lens

enter image description here

With Unity News Lens you can do Google News searches from Dash. It shows news in the language that is currently default in your system, but you can read news in other languages too.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-news

Log out or reboot to have it working!


Unity Binary Clock

This unconventional lens displays the time in binary format. Just add up the orange dots and you get your current time.

Unity Binary Clock

Add the following official PPA (Oneiric, Precise)

  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get install unity-binaryclock-lens

Read more about it at iloveubuntu.net


Pidgin Lens

The Ubuntu Pidgin Lens is a very useful Unity Launcher plugin that allows users to search and interact with their Pidgin contacts (buddies).


This lens is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.10, and can be installed using these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-pidgin

(Source: Softpedia)


Find The Perfect Time to Stargaze

To help make the planning of stargazing activities from specific locations easier a new Unity lens has been created by developer David Turner.

With a click or a button press you are able to preview location visibility data from the Clear Dark Sky website without the need to open your browser and head to the website.

Clear Dark Sky claim to offer ‘the most accurate and most usable forecasters of astronomical observing conditions’ in North America.

enter image description here

What Can it Do

Getting data on a location is straightforward: just open the lens and enter a location.

If numerical weather charts are supported in your queried region you will see two sets of results returned:

  • ‘Clear Sky Chart’ tiles
  • Current and next day night-time weather conditions

Clicking on either or the result tiles opens your default browser on the relevant cleardarksky.com page. Download

The Clear Dark Sky lens is distributed as a .Deb installer and can be downloaded from the project’s Launchpad page @ launchpad.net/cleardarksky


Academic Lens

The new version (for Quantal and Raring only) is available in the 100 Scopes PPA. Install as follows:

  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get install unity-lens-academic unity-scope-pubmed unity-scope-scholar unity-scope-zotero unity-scope-jstor unity-scope-sciencedirect

Lens Screen Shot

Source: Mark Tully on Google+

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