How do I install a .deb file via the command line?


12 Answers 12


Packages are manually installed via the dpkg command (Debian Package Management System). dpkg is the backend to commands like apt-get and aptitude, which in turn are the backend for GUI install apps like the Software Center and Synaptic.

Something along the lines of:

dpkg --> apt-get, aptitude --> Synaptic, Software Center

But of course the easiest ways to install a package would be, first, the GUI apps (Synaptic, Software Center, etc..), followed by the terminal commands apt-get and aptitude that add a very nice user friendly approach to the backend dpkg, including but not limited to packaged dependencies, control over what is installed, needs update, not installed, broken packages, etc.. Lastly the dpkg command which is the base for all of them.

Since dpkg is the base, you can use it to install packaged directly from the command line.

Install a package

sudo dpkg -i DEB_PACKAGE

For example if the package file is called askubuntu_2.0.deb then you should do sudo dpkg -i askubuntu_2.0.deb. If dpkg reports an error due to dependency problems, you can run sudo apt-get install -f to download the missing dependencies and configure everything. If that reports an error, you'll have to sort out the dependencies yourself by following for example How do I resolve unmet dependencies after adding a PPA?.

Remove a package

sudo dpkg -r PACKAGE_NAME

For example if the package is called askubuntu then you should do sudo dpkg -r askubuntu.

Reconfigure an existing package

sudo dpkg-reconfigure PACKAGE_NAME

This is useful when you need to reconfigure something related to said package. Some useful examples it the keyboard-configuration when you want to enable the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace in order to reset the X server, so you would the following:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Another great one is when you need to set the Timezone for a server or your local testing computer, so you use use the tzdata package:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
  • 5
    Great info, had to find some way to install traceroute to help debug why my machine won't connect to the internet :)
    – Jason
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 15:01
  • 35
    Also helpful to note that once installed programs are usually found in /usr/bin, named after what was depackaged. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 9:10
  • If I run sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-base, it has failed for months with "Hash Sum mismatch". I can download the .deb file from http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/t/texlive-base/texlive-latex-base-doc_2015.20150625-1ubuntu1_all.deb. If I install it using dpkg, would it subsequently be recognised (and updated) by apt-get.
    – user643722
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:05
  • 3
    If it's easier and better to install via aptitude or apt-get (or simply apt), why aren't examples for these commands given here?
    – intuited
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 16:56
  • 3
    With modern apt I would recommend doing sudo apt install ./package.deb instead. This allows automatically installing all the dependencies and it does all the extra sanity checks that dpkg will not implement because it's a low level command. Note that without the prefix / or ./ some versions of apt may not understand that you're trying to refer to file name, not a package name from repository. Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 12:18

Debian (.deb) packages are the packages that are used in Ubuntu. You can install any .deb package in your system. .deb files can generally be installed from your file manager (Nautilus) merely by clicking on them, since file associations with the default installer is already set in Ubuntu. These instructions are for those who wish to install packages from the command-line terminal (Terminal).

To install a downloaded Debian (Ubuntu) package (.deb): Open Terminal and type

sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb

To remove a Debian (Ubuntu) package (.deb):

sudo dpkg -r packagename

To Reconfigure/Repair an installed Debian (Ubuntu) package (.deb):

sudo dpkg-reconfigure packagename
  • 3
    clicking on them doesn't work as of Ubuntu 22, it opens them as an archive
    – iopq
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 2:42

My favourite is GDebi, available from both terminal/shell or graphical desktop.


I usually associate .deb files with GDebi as it is fast and efficient - especially compared to Ubuntu Software Center. One of the main feature of GDebi is it resolves dependencies and installs them.

For command-line run sudo gdebi <package.deb> to install a single deb file.

  • 5
    it checks for dependencies before installing, thx!! Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 3:18
  • Can gdebi even download the dependencies or we have to download them manually?? @Pandya
    – Jasser
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 10:27
  • Probably better for people moving in from the non-Linux background.
    – Nisheet
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 11:26
  • +1 for "it resolves dependencies and installs them" which is key.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 16:54
  • This should be the correct answer. Using dpkg -i requires deeper understanding of how the package system works. GDebi does things automatically. Additionally, for those who want a non-gui solution, gdebi has a -n, --non-interactive option. It's like dpkg but it checks for dependencies first and refuses to install if dependencies cannot be resolved.
    – bamm
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 11:39

While dpkg -i indeed installs the package, it doesn't do any automatic dependency resolution. Meanwhile there are two other alternatives, using gdebi or the apt-get tool. To use the latter just use:

sudo apt-get install /path/to/package.deb

Even if you are on the directory with the package, you need to give a path using ./ at the start:

sudo apt-get install ./package.deb
  • 22
    This is probably the best answer. apt will prevent you from breaking your​ system if you don't have the correct dependencies.
    – mlainz
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 22:04
  • This command seems to select all existing packages.
    – Hibou57
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 7:58
  • @Hibou57 there can't be any space in the package name.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 20:18
  • I have an understanding apt-get will download and install latest deb from repos, to prevent that turn network off before install. Even cleaner install is by copying file (or several deb files together) to /var/cache/apt/archives and running sudo apt-get install --assume-yes --no-install-recommends /var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb, that way as I've noticed apt is not trying to download from internet. Commented Feb 12, 2023 at 8:45

Are you looking for all dpkg commands? click this link to have a read.

15 dpkg commands to Manage Debian based Linux Servers

DPKG commands

There are two actions, they are dpkg-query and dpkg-deb.

Install a package

# sudo dpkg -i {package_name}    
# sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-precise_4.2.0.11-1_i386.deb

Remove a package

# sudo dpkg -r {package_name}
# sudo dpkg -r vlc

Remove a package and its configuration files

# sudo dpkg -P {package_name}
# sudo dpkg -P vlc

List all installed packages.

You can pipe the command to less (a pager) so you can more easily scroll the content:

# dpkg -l | less

Check if the package is installed or not

# dpkg -l {package_name}
# dpkg -l vlc

Check if the package is installed or not, and if it is, launch it:

# dpkg -l | vlc

See whether a package is installed or not

And this will show the location where the package will be installed. Here -S (capital S) to search whether the package was installed or not.

# sudo dpkg -S {package_name}
# sudo dpkg -S skype

Install a *.deb package from a specified location

Here -R is recursive. (Recursively handle all regular files matching the pattern *.deb found at specified directories and all of its subdirectories).

# sudo dpkg -R --install {package_location}
# sudo dpkg -R --install /home/sysadmin/soft

Show package details

Here -p (lowercase p) will show the package info:

# dpkg -p {package_name}
# dpkg -p apache2

View the content of a package

Use -c (lowercase c) to show the content:

# sudo dpkg -c {package_name}
# sudo dpkg -c skype-ubuntu-precise_4.2.0.11-1_i386.deb

Extract the *.deb package file

Use -x (lowercase x) to extract:

# dpkg -x {package_name} {location_were_to_extract}
# dpkg -x libqt4-phonon_4.6.3-4+squeeze1_i386.deb /home/sysadmin/

Extract and display the filenames contained in a package

Use -X (uppercase X) to display the content with extraction.

# dpkg -X {package_name} {location_were_to_extract}
# dpkg -X libqt4-phonon_4.6.3-4+squeeze1_i386.deb /home/sysadmin/

Display information about a package

Here -I stands for information:

# dpkg -I {package_name}
# dpkg -I libqt4-phonon_4.6.3-4+squeeze1_i386.deb

Reconfigure an already installed package

dpkg-reconfigure reconfigures packages after they already have been installed. Pass it the name(s) of a package or packages to reconfigure. It will ask configuration questions, much like when the package was first installed.

# dpkg-reconfigure postfix

This will reconfigure postfix the same way as when you installed it for the first time.

Need to know more about dpkg commands? Have a look at the manual page:

# man dpkg
  • 6
    "Check if the package is installed or not, and if it is, launch it: # dpkg -l | vlc" - this would only pipe a list of packages to vlc, with unpredictable results if it were installed; and no better than just typing vlc
    – Xen2050
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 6:15

A handy tip when installing a program like Libreoffice which has multiple .deb files in a folder is to use.

sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  • 4
    Never use this command. You have to manually remove all debs if want to remove that package. sudo apt remove example ,sudo apt autoremove and sudo dpkg -r *.deb doesn't work.
    – user690429
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 14:55

I have literally been waiting for this for years:

sudo apt install ./happy-at-long-last.deb

Yay! :) This works from APT 1.1 which should be available on most systems by now.

Using dpkg has regularly caused problems for me, whereas apt is very good at automatically resolving dependencies and avoiding problems. And it's still low-level enough to allow scripting and fine-tuning...

  • 3
    This is now the "right" answer and should really be first in the list. I don't think SO/AskUbuntu lets moderators manually change the order of listed answers though. It was a long time coming!
    – pbhj
    Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 23:10

Installing .deb files can be accomplished using:

sudo apt install ./<file>.deb

If you're on an older distribution, you will need to run this instead:

sudo dpkg -i ./<file>.deb
sudo apt-get install -f        # Installing missing dependencies

Another approach is by using the gdebi tool to install deb files.


The gdebi command-line solution

Here's the best way to install a .deb file on Ubuntu on the command-line:

sudo gdebi skype.deb

If you don't have gdebi installed already, install it using sudo apt install gdebi-core.

Why gdebi?

gdebi will look for all the dependencies of the .deb file, and will install them before attempting to install the .deb file. I find this much preferable than sudo dpkg -i skype.deb && sudo apt install -f. The latter is much too eager to remove dependencies in certain situations. For instance, when I tried to install Skype, it attempted to remove 96 (!) packages, including packages like compiz and unity! gdebi gave a much clearer error message:

$ sudo gdebi skype.deb
Cannot install 'libqtgui:i386'

(Here is the solution to that particular issue, by the way.)

  • askubuntu.com/a/170557/158442 does say gdebi can be used from the command line
    – muru
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 11:59
  • @muru Yeah, but it's easy to miss because of the screenshot. Also, it doesn't explain the problems with dpkg -i skype.deb
    – Flimm
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 12:29

Create your own script installer debInstaller as the following:

dpkg -i "$@"
apt-get --yes --fix-broken install

Make the script executable with

chmod +x debInstaller

Then move it to some dirs in your PATH or add the current directory to your PATH.

I'm going to move it to /usr/bin

sudo cp debInstaller /usr/bin

Now you can install any .deb package using the command:

sudo debInstaller some-package.deb

The added value of this method is the solving the dependencies problem, since mostly you'll face some problems when you install a .deb with dpkg -i due to dependencies error, so you have to use apt-get install -f to solve it, this script will do the job for you, but here I used apt-get --yes --fix-broken install to automatically solve these errors without user intervention.


There are many tools to install a deb package.

I personally use a built-in package installer dpkg:

  1. If you are logged as root:
  • Change the directory to location of deb package

    dpkg -i package_name.deb
  1. If you are not logged as a root:

    sudo dpkg -i package_name.deb

To make sure that package was installed correctly and didn't have any broken dependencies:

sudo apt-get check

If there are any broken dependencies:

sudo apt-get -f install

If file is only one, then afaik dpkg -i /path/file.deb is ok and simple (make sure apt user has access to the path, for user home folder it usually does not).

In case of several deb files (e.g. one package) sometimes dpkg tries to process them in order where dependencies are not satisfied along the way. In such case clean and simplest way is by copying several deb files together to /var/cache/apt/archives and running sudo apt-get install --assume-yes --no-install-recommends /var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb, that way as I've noticed apt is not trying to download from internet repos as it does if apt-get install /some_other_path/*.deb.

Added to possibly make more future proof / general:

apt cache location theoretically might be not in /var/cache/apt/archives/, to get the location:

eval $(apt-config shell CACHE Dir::Cache)
eval $(apt-config shell ARCHIVES Dir::Cache::archives)

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