In trusty 14.04, the out-of-the-box install gives you a Unity file and folder search which provides relevance-based search for recently used files (through Zeitgeist) augmented with entire filesystem search (through mlocate).

However, as far as I can tell, there is no full-text search available for all documents on the filesystem. The existing Unity search lens does not do full-text search of document contents; rather, only the document names themselves. There was a lens called "recoll-lens" which leveraged Recoll to do a full text search which was packaged up through 12.04 Precise (as other answers mentioned back in 2011, here, here), but there is no official backport of recoll-lens packaged for 14.04.

Does anyone know of a repository which contains recoll-lens for 14.04, or if there are any other full-text search Unity lenses which work for 14.04?

(While I realize that 14.04 is not the last stable point release, it is the last stable LTS release as of the moment that I'm asking this question (10/2015), and the Ubuntu installs that I manage are on a LTS-only policy for stability).

1 Answer 1


OK, so after more sleuthing, I've found that the recoll-lens package was renamed to unity-scope-recoll.

So, by running:

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

As an aside: I like to have my file content search results kept up to date with changes immediately(with an SSD drive this isn't a big performance issue), so I configured recoll to index immediately and to start up the indexer when I log in:

Recoll real time indexing screenshot

  • I've been having some small problems with this scope and results haven't been showing up. The developer said he's not going to further support the unity-scope and there hasn't been any updates since last March. Do you know of any other alternatives to recoll? Specially now that Ubuntu 16.04 is comming soon
    – Felipe
    Jan 12, 2016 at 20:32
  • Does recoll work for you on it's own? I mean can you open the recoll program itself, run a search in its own interface and get the results you want?
    – Taylor R
    Jan 13, 2016 at 0:44
  • Yes, recoll works without a problem. The scope/lens is what doesn't work anymore and won't have further support. With the new Unity coming on Ubuntu 16.04 the scope/lens is bound to have even more problems. Any ideas on what to replace it with?
    – Felipe
    Jan 14, 2016 at 4:22
  • Has this situation changed any with the arrival of 16.04? It's hard to take the Unity dash seriously without features like this.
    – tsbertalan
    Nov 16, 2016 at 1:38
  • Not sure! I'm still using 14.04. I agree that it would be unfortunate if it's not provided out of the box.
    – Taylor R
    Nov 18, 2016 at 6:00

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