Synapse – Quickly Launch Apps & Easily Find Anything [Ubuntu]

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synapse searchQuickly find what you’re looking for so you can get to work quickly. That’s the purpose of the new Ubuntu search and launcher app Synapse. which you can instantly launch with a keyboard shortcut. Whether you’re looking for a program, a folder, a document or even a dictionary definition, Synapse gives you quick access to exactly what you’re looking for.

There was a time when GnomeDo was the best tool for this job, and for many people it’s still great. But the Do’s not been actively developed for a while, and many find it a little bloated for quick searching. Enter Synapse, a new launcher app written from the ground up. Sure, there’s not a lot of plugins yet, but you can’t beat this launcher on Linux for giving you quick access to what you’re looking for.

Using Synapse Search App

So you sit down at your computer and you want to see your current projects, which you store entirely in one folder. No problem; just fire up Synapse and type your folder’s name:

synapse search

Regardless of where that folder may be located, you now have quick access to it. Nice. This simple concept can also be used to launch programs, such as your favorite web browser:

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synapse search

There are a couple of other little tricks, of course, including quickly shutting down your computer:

synapse searching

You get the idea: you can quickly find what you’re looking for. Right now the functions are limited, but there’s more than enough here to be useful. Most importantly, it’s fast. It’s also slick looking, which probably isn’t important but is kind of nice.


Once this program’s launched for the first time, you can bring it up whenever you like simply by pressing “Ctl” and “Space.” Want to change that keyboard shortcut? Check the preferences and you can set it to whatever you want:

synapse search

Be sure to also set Synapse to launch at boot, assuming you find it useful. It’s also worth noting that you can enable/disable plugins in these preferences, by clicking the other tab, but there aren’t really any third-party ones to add yet. Hopefully that will come later.


Installing Synapse on Ubuntu is easy; you just need to add a PPA and then install the right package. Fire up your Terminal (click Applications, then Accessories, then Terminal) and launch the following commands, in this order:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:synapse-core/ppa

Once you’ve done all this you’re finished. Fire up; it’s under “Accessories” in the applications menu.

I’m not really sure how to install this app on non-Ubuntu distributions, so feel free to contribute in the comments below if you know anything about that.


Developer Michal Hruby did a good job with this launcher, and I cannot wait to see what it grows into. Even if it doesn’t change, however, I’ll be using it for a while. It’s fast, slick and useful.

Do you like this app, or are you going to stick with the likes of Gnome Do for a while? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to ask me any questions you might have about using the app.

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