I have read about the Unity HUD.

Is that a mock up or a real thing? Can I install it on my current Ubuntu 11.10 installation or do I need to upgrade to 12.04?

  • The developer sayeth (in IRC channel): if all goes well, it should be in next Unity release next week. So people trying out Precise can just wait until then.
    – Adrian
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 15:14

3 Answers 3


If you are running 12.04, you already have the HUD. Just tap Alt. The HUD is not available for 11.10.

  • 7
    This will be rolled into the daily Unity builds on Jan 30th, so all users currently on Precise can test it then. Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 15:27
  • 1
    @Marco where did you find the 30th date?
    – 8128
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 21:20
  • 2
    It appears that the HUD is now currently unavailable as of Unity 5.2. It may be re-introduced as part of Unity without the PPA from what I've heard, but I have no way to confirm that. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 5:25
  • @Warrioring64 Correct, it is not available because it interferes with totem.
    – jrg
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 12:22
  • And now it actually is available in 12.04 by default, as noted in nealmcb's answer. Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 3:11

The HUD (Head-Up Display) arrived in early March in the development release of Ubuntu (Precise). So there is no more need to go to a PPA to try it out.

Just press the "alt" key to bring up the HUD.

Ted Gould's page about Searching Menus has some important insights and tips on the fuzzy matching algorithm used by HUD and how it tracks your menu usage. It also notes the fun "hud-cli" command for command-line operation by users of the terminal, and has tips for how developers can make HUD work better for their apps.

Before selecting a menu item you're not familiar with, I suggest navigating to it with the down arrow and paying attention to which icon is displayed to the left of the "Type your command" box. That tells you which indicator or application the menu item comes from. E.g. if you're in the terminal application, press alt and type "date", and select "Date > UTC", you don't just find out what the current date is in UTC. You actually choose the "UTC" entry (if you have one) under the Date menu and change the system timezone to the selected zone....

  • Interesting info, but FWIW, in Ubuntu 16.10, opening Terminal, pressing Alt and typing "date" gets me the following 1-item list: "Paste (Edit)". Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 13:29

I guess you could also compile the project from the Launchpad branches. As Mark Shuttleworth has pointed out, there are two branches needed, this one and this one.

So even if this is going to be in Ubuntu 12.04, any Ubuntu user with Unity could in theory compile the newest version of Unity, then these two branches, and HUD should work. But the process could be a little bumpy.

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