I am new to ubuntu and linux world. Where can I see the list of all programs installed in ubuntu ?

Ex: If I want to launch "terminal". I need to click the upper left icon and type "terminal". Where is the icon really located ?

I would like to take a look in the programs installed. Are they separeted by category ? I don't know.


  • Short answer: This is a cumbersome part in Linux.
    – empedokles
    Aug 14, 2014 at 16:34
  • @empedokles - no, in anything is a lot more organised than many other OSes. Felippe Leite, you can also open terminal by pressing 'Ctrl'+'Alt'+'T' by default - you can also add applications to the launcher/favourites/whatever.
    – Wilf
    Aug 14, 2014 at 16:48
  • @Wilf I don't think so. It's cluttered on multiple places.
    – empedokles
    Aug 14, 2014 at 16:49
  • 8
    The OP is not asking about where the programs are installed. He wants to see a list of all installed programs to find out what is installed. @BryceAtNetwork23 this is not a duplicate. Don't close. Felippe Leite Please edit your question to clarify what you want to know. Otherwise your question will be closed.
    – user68186
    Aug 14, 2014 at 16:54
  • If you are new to Ubuntu, you will probably not feel comfortable with scripts, but this might be interesting for you: askubuntu.com/a/490398/72216 Aug 14, 2014 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


Most of launchers for programs that appear in menus/launcher/dash can be found in /usr/share/applications:

the menu/dash program searches their for launchers. Each user can also have their own launchers in ~/.local/share/applications.

The actual files end with the .desktop extension, and have something like the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Web Browser
Comment=Browse the Web
Exec=firefox %u

Note the exec line indicated what command to execute (in /usr/bin or somewhere else in the user's $PATH) - other information is also included, such as the icon to use (by default from /usr/share/icons, also from ~/.local/share/icons), name, category, etc.

Launchers can also be hidden using NoDisplay/Hidden, mutiple version can also be in place, each with different configuration (e.g. the three Banshee launchers above)

You can also create your own launchers, and read the specification of .desktop files here


Dash is your friend

Dash is the first icon on the launcher with an Ubuntu symbol. It is not just for searching for a program name you already know about, like the terminal.

If you click on it you will see a short list of recently used programs that are not on the Launcher, along with some files.

Click on the A (No. 1 in image below) icon on the bottom to get to the Applications page.

enter image description here

Now focus on Installed (No. 2). Here you will be able to see all the programs listed alphabetically. You can scroll down by dragging the handle (No. 3).

To see the programs by categories click on the Filter results (No. 4) on the right top. Now you will be able to filter the programs by categories. See the image below.

enter image description here

If you are looking to see what games are installed, click on Games on the right below Filter results. As you can see I have four games installed. Click the one you want to play, like Sudoku.

Note, I didn't have to know the name of the game to find it.

Of course there is more to Dash than just a list of programs.

Hope this helps

  • Well, this dash may help sometimes, but how am I going to search something that I don't know ? I think the anwser below from "wilF" looks like my doubt... thanks Aug 14, 2014 at 18:20
  • Ex: I just found out I have "sodoku" installed. Dash won't show this, unless I type "sodoku". Aug 14, 2014 at 18:22

If you navigate to the "Ubuntu Software Center" (which you can do in the way you described, by typing that into the Dash), there is a tab for "Installed" (circled in red in the image below), which will give you a categorized list of software already on your machine.

enter image description here

Note: this may not display some applications that were not installed through the Ubuntu software center, but if you're just trying to browse the apps that came with your initial install this will do the trick.

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