Linux Productivity

10 Elementary OS AppCenter Apps That’ll Make You More Productive

Bertel King 13-09-2017

Having an app store of its own has really brought Elementary OS to life. No longer does this feel like a beautiful Ubuntu derivative dependent on a series of Personal Package Archives for third-party apps. Now it’s growing into its own platform.


Earlier I wondered if AppCenter could motivate more developers to create software for Linux Can the Elementary OS AppCenter Prompt a New Era of Linux App Development? Elementary OS developers have introduced a pay-what-you-want model for apps. Could this be the beginning of a whole new era of app development on Linux? Read More , and so far, the answer seems to be Yes.

I feel a glow of excitement whenever I open up AppCenter every week or so, as I don’t know what new apps await me. I’ve been using Linux for years, and I’ve never seen new software roll in this fast.

Part of my joy stems from being someone who writes content for the web. The kind of tools I use are precisely the kind that are easy to program. I’ve already added quite a few to my workflow. While it’s possible to run them on other versions of Linux, they’ve already kept me running Elementary for longer than I expected.

A few apps on this list have been around since before AppCenter, but the majority of these are new. I’ve also excluded software that comes pre-installed, such as Epiphany and Geary (both of which I use heavily).

With that out of the way, here are 10 AppCenter apps that help me get work done. And if you find value in them, please be sure to toss the developers a couple bucks.


Note: These app links only work if you’re running Elementary OS.

1. Notes-Up

elementary os productivity app notes-up

Notes-Up is a note-taking app that encourages you to write in Markdown — my favorite way to format content What Is Markdown? 4 Reasons Why You Should Learn It Now Tired of HTML and WYSIWYG editors? Then Markdown is the answer for you no matter who you are. Read More online and off. Unlike some of Elementary’s other Markdown apps, Notes-Up lets you view how your document looks inside the app.

You separate notes into notebooks, each with their own color. I have one notebook dedicated to this site and others for my own personal writings.


The experience isn’t perfect. There isn’t yet a way to rearrange the notes within a notebook, which I consider to be a huge drawback. I would like to be able to sort pages in alphabetical order or move them around manually, rather than having to view them in the order that they were created. I would also love to see the option to display a word count.

2. Agenda

elementary os productivity app agenda

Want a to-do app that is as basic as pen and paper? Agenda is that app. You can enter tasks and rearrange them. Nothing else. I like that.

Most of the tasks I enter don’t have an explicit due date. I don’t need tags, and I find the the process of ranking priority to be more stressful than helpful. Agenda doesn’t do any of those things, and the developer has expressed a desire not to add that functionality. That makes the act of using Agenda straightforward enough that I actually stick with it.


3. Notejot

elementary os productivity app notejot
Think Agenda was simple? Notejot is a virtual sticky note. You can keep one at a time. No more, no less. When you need a new one, hit the trash can icon in the corner to erase everything that you’ve currently written.

Notejot has become my go-to place to jot down things I want to remember that aren’t formal enough to be a to-do in Agenda or fleshed out enough to be a full-fledged note in Notes-Up.

4. Quilter

elementary os productivity app quilter
Quilter is a simple writing app with very few distractions. It places even more of an emphasis on Markdown than Notes-Up. Unless you know Markdown, there’s no visual way to format your writing. I love it.

While Notes-Up saves all of its content in a local database, Quilter can open plain text and Markdown files saved anywhere on your computer. Even better, it autosaves.


Except the autosave can cause issues if you have one Quilter window open and you open a second by clicking on a document in the file manager. Often enough, I’ve had one or the other overwritten. This has led me to use Quilter similarly to how I use Notejot, for quick work that I don’t expect to leave sitting around on my computer for long (both apps happen to come from the same developer).

Don’t use Elementary? Here are some other Markdown apps for Linux Looking For A Markdown Editor For Linux? Try These 3 Solid Options Windows and Mac users have many Markdown editors to choose from, Linux users, less so. Here are some choices. Read More .

5. Tomato

elementary os productivity app tomato
The Pomodoro time management technique is a great way to stay focused How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More . Work for a set period of time (e.g. 25 minutes), take a break (e.g. five minutes), and repeat. I utilize this method when I need to stop idling opening tabs and start banging out a piece of writing. Something about seeing the ticking time in the window, or the progress bar on the Tomato dock icon, makes me want to beat the clock.
elementary os productivity app tomato dock
When not on Elementary, I use the Pomodoro GNOME Shell extension. But I prefer the way Tomato doesn’t take up a spot on my panel, even though its location on the dock clearly takes up more screen real estate. We all have our preferences.

6. Tranqil

elementary os productivity app tranqil
Tranqil is an ambient noise app that, like Tomato, helps me focus while writing. There are three sounds to choose from: outdoors in the daytime, outdoors at night, and the beach. The app window has a nice image to represent each, which you click to start playing and click again to stop. That’s it really. I appreciate the simplicity.

Sure, you could always download music to use in the same way 5 Sites With Nature Background Sounds and White Noise to Help You Focus Make nature sounds a part of your day. Here are 5 free resources for sounds that will help calm you down so you can get things done – or just relax. Read More , but it’s nice having an app that removes all the extra overhead.

7. Color Picker

elementary os productivity app color picker
Color Picker lets you pick any color on the screen and provides you with the hexadecimal code. This is functionality you often see in image editors 7 Apps That Prove You Don't Need Adobe Creative Suite on Linux Adobe has refused to make its Creative Suite compatible with Linux, so how do you edit photos, movies, and audio, create vectors, and more? Well, you create your own open source creative suite! Read More , but those are sometimes limited to only selecting from colors within the app itself. They also may not be helpful if you want to enter that color elsewhere, such as in a web browser. Color Picker is a universal tool I can use anytime I want to grab a specific color.

8. Swatches

elementary os productivity app swatches
Swatches is a supplement to Color Picker. I haven’t actually used it yet, but I love the concept. Enter a color and receive a list of the many various shades.

Using Swatches is the digital equivalent of visiting the paint section of a hardware store. I often utilize various colors on my own personal sites, and this is a tool I would love to have had sooner.

9. AppEditor

elementary os productivity app appeditor
Sometimes the apps I depend on come with an outdated icon or category tags that don’t quite make sense to me. When that happens, AppEditor lets me change them. Both Color Picker and Swatches installed in the Graphics and Programming categories. I don’t program, and these apps don’t particularly strike me as tools I would use to do so (though I’m sure a programmer could disagree).

I’ve used AppEditor to limit both apps to the Graphics section, where I expect to find them. As for app icons, you can find cool Elementary-themed options for third-party apps within the Elementary+ theme.

10. Monitor

elementary os productivity app monitor
Elementary OS doesn’t come with a system monitor app. Surprising, I know. That just goes to show the youthfulness of the project. But rest assured, Monitor is the native app you’ve been waiting for. You can see which apps or processes are hogging up all of your memory and end them with a click of the mouse. Satisfying.

What AppCenter Apps Have You Found?

Elementary OS has gained dozens of apps in a handful of months. That’s not a staggering number considering what we see in mobile app stores, but it’s a relatively high amount of new content on a Linux desktop. Are these apps better than what you find elsewhere? Maybe, maybe not. But they’re fun, and I enjoy having them around. They’ve made the latest version of Elementary, Loki, an even more well-rounded release It's Time to Try Something New: Elementary OS Loki Elementary OS isn't your typical Linux distribution. Some would say it isn't a distro at all. But is Elementary really a usable alternative to Windows and macOS as its developers claim? Read More .

Do you use Elementary OS? What apps have you found in AppCenter? If you don’t use Elementary, do any of these apps make you want to check it out? I’m curious, so let’s chat in the comments.

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  1. Gazoo
    November 7, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Didn't Elementary develope ICE? It's an easy to use program that takes an online or offline web page and turns it into a local standalone app. I've turned a few of my JS/HTML pages into standalones. It's not Electron-powerful but useful in some cases.