What are some alternative launchers that can be used to launch programs in Ubuntu's default Unity desktop?

  • You can get many such as Docky, however they will not properly integrate with Unity and you won't be able to get rid of the default Unity Launcher.
    – user364819
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 12:08
  • It doesn't have to replace the default launcher. Just want to know if any other ways to launch programs, even from the Launcher itself, like Gnome DO.
    – Muzaffar
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 12:19
  • 1
    just to mention: askubuntu.com/a/606252/72216 with specific functionality :) Should work not only on Unity. Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 11:12
  • @JacobVlijm already mentioned that question in my answer bellow ^_0 Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 4:20
  • 1
    This Q&A would be more readable and friendly to users, if rewritten into "one application launcher per answer" style and likely more easier to update as "Community Wiki". This way, we can avoid duplicates also. Good example is this related post.
    – user37165
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 8:14

10 Answers 10


One that I use and like is Albert.

It's very similar to OS X's Spotlight Search, especially in how it looks, but I've found it to be invaluable if you're a keyboard-heavy power user.

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You have to install it via a PPA (not in the official repos yet):

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:flexiondotorg/albert
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install albert

On the first launch you will have to set the hotkey to launch Albert, but that's fairly easy:

enter image description here

I've set it to Ctrl-Space.


Docky is a great app, you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install docky


GNOME Pie is another great one that can be installed with:

sudo apt-get install gnome-pie

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(Launch with CTRL + ALT + A - this hot key is customizable.)

Cairo-Dock is also good, and can be installed with:

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock


Plank is another good one that can be installed with:

sudo apt-get install plank


  • I may update this answer with more.
    – user364819
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 12:45

Here are some more ways to launch and organize applications:


sudo apt-get install gnome-do gnome-do-plugins

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Duck Launcher

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:the-duck/launcher
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install duck-launcher

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Launcher Folders:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:asukhovatkin/unity-launcher-folders
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-launcher-folders

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Slingscold Launcher

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/apps
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install slingscold

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You also have dockbarx. You can install it with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dockbar-main/ppa 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install dockbarx

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More info here.


My personal favorite is the Classic Menu Indicator

enter image description here

In addition to other answers, me and @JacobVlijm have tried to script launchers as an answer to Launch app only if not already open question

  • 2
    Now I know why you're not in the chat room: in the mean time, your battery ran out! :D
    – Fabby
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 20:12
  • @Fabby actually this screenshot is not from my desktop, but my battery is really running out , so had to be quick. Also I'm not in the chat because i am running around, covering people Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 20:47
  • @Serg Thanks for mentioning :) How could I overlook... Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 6:01

Gnome-Do works with the keyboard as Unity. Press Super + Space and then you type the name of the program you want to run. Don't know about the project status and haven't used it since 2009. Hope this can help.


Consider Synapse:

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Just start typing the program, file or directory you're looking for.


sudo apt install synapse

lxqt-runner is an option:

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Installation: sudo apt install lxqt-runner


Cairo Dock has launchers too.

To install it click below

Cairo Dock Install banshee

I use Compiz with Cairo dock so I use it in fall back mode. It adds a session for cairo only environment if you don't want to use Unity


My recent favorite: the very very lightweight dmenu


sudo apt install dmenu

Improve that tool with dmenu-extended to be able to find files and directories from dmenu, too. Very useful.

sudo apt install suckless-tools xfonts-terminus
git clone [email protected]:MarkHedleyJones/dmenu-extended.git
cd dmenu-extended
sudo python setup.py install

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