Since I have not been able to open Dash Home in 12.04.4 see Dash Home will not open, I am hoping for a work-around. Is there another convenient way to open apps/programs without having to search through folders? Is this question clear enough? For example, I just installed Kile (publishing program) from the Software Center, but I can't find a link/tile/icon/shortcut to open it. Thanks, to whomever can help.

  • How did you install kile? Typing Alt+F2 and then typing the name of the application will usually open the application for you.
    – jobin
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 3:17
  • Thanks, Jobin. I installed Kile from Software Center. Alt+F2 appears to try to open Dash, anyway the result is the same -- grey Unity tiles and no Dash.
    – AyTee
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 3:31

4 Answers 4


In Ubuntu you can easily find GUI programs that you installed from the Ubuntu Software Center by searching for them in the Dash as you mentioned in your question, but if you can't open the Dash or if the program you installed was not a GUI program, you can also find the executable file for the program from the terminal.

  1. Typing the name of the application in the terminal will usually open the application for you.

  2. If that doesn't work you can find the package name of an application, if you have it installed, from the terminal using dpkg -l | grep <substitute-search-term-here> and then open it by typing its package name. For example, to find the package name of Chromium if you have it installed type:

    dpkg -l | grep chromium  

    ...which will return results including:

    ii  chromium-browser  
    Chromium browser  

    The package name of Chromium browser is chromium-browser, so to open Chromium from the terminal you would type: chromium-browser

The dpkg -l | grep chromium command doesn't work for applications that have a completely different package name like the Files application in Ubuntu which is provided by the nautilus package. In this case run the following command:

locate -b '.desktop' | xargs grep -ls '^Name.*=Files$' | xargs grep '^Exec.*'

The application name Files in the above command is case sensitive, and so is any other application name that you replace it with.

If you know only the name of a file from an installed package, you can find the name of the package that installed it using this command:

dpkg-query -S <filename>

Press Alt+F2, and just type the name of the program.

  • 1
    Thanks, Mayukh Nair. Alt+F2 appears to try to open Dash, anyway the result is the same -- grey Unity tiles and no Dash.
    – AyTee
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 3:32

If the package is properly installed, dpkg-query -S $(which totem) provides results in the form package: full/path/to/program as shown in the example below. Just replace totem with the name of the program you are looking for.

dpkg-query -S $(which totem)
totem: /usr/bin/totem

The $(which program) uses the output of which as a parameter for the dpkg-query which in my experience provides much cleaner output than many of the alternative methods. Compare to dpkg-query -S totem and the even less accurate apt search totem

If you haven't installed the package or something is broken with the installation and you don't get the expected results you can always get info on what package contains a program (or file} using Ubuntu Packages Search


You can list all your installed applications using:

apt list --installed

apt list is similar to dpkg-query and also accepts globs for matching package names, as can be seen in man apt:

    list is somewhat similar to dpkg-query --list in that it can display a list of packages
    satisfying certain criteria. It supports glob(7) patterns for matching package names as well
    as options to list installed (--installed), upgradeable (--upgradeable) or all available
    (--all-versions) versions.

For example, if I use apt list --installed to search my system for installed packages containing "chrome" in their name, I get:

$ apt list --installed "*chrome*"    
Listing... Done
chrome-gnome-shell/focal,focal,now 10.1-5 all [installed]
google-chrome-stable/stable,now 88.0.4324.182-1 amd64 [installed]

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