Use Albert Launcher On Linux To Boost Your Productivity

Albert Launcher for Linux

Albert is a productivity app inspired by Quicksilver, Alfred and other similar tools, that runs on Linux. Written in C++ / Qt5, this free and open source launcher uses a plugin-based architecture that makes it very flexible and powerful.

Summon Albert with a key combination, say Ctrl + Space, and use it to run applications, open files, search the web, calculate things, control your music player, search your web browser bookmarks, and much more, using a single interface:

Albert keyboard quick launcher

Albert learns what you use the most and prioritizes results, boosting your productivity. Press TAB to select an item, then hold Alt to reveal extra options (if any):

Hit Enter to select an item from the list, and Albert will launch / perform that action, and immediately hide its window until the next time you invoke it. See the Using Albert section for more details.

Plugins for many common tasks

Albert dark theme
Albert Nerdy theme (QML Box Model)

The keyboard-driven quick launcher has about 80 built-in themes (using  QML Box Model or Widget Box Model as the frontend), and 14 main extensions:

  • Application launcher, with options for fuzzy search, use keywords for lookup, ignore OnlyShowIn/NotShowIn and more
  • Calculate things
  • Search Firefox and Chrome bookmarks
  • File search with options like fuzzy matching and mime-types to index
  • Hash generator
  • MPRIS control which allows controlling MPRIS-capable media players like Rhythmbox, VLC, and more
  • Secure Shell extension which makes your ssh hosts accessible by Albert
  • The Snippets extension allows storing text snippets and looking them up by their title (like a trigger)
  • System operations (lock, logout, suspend, restart or shut down)
  • Using the Terminal extension you can run commands in a terminal or shell directly
  • WebSearch allows searching Google, DuckDuckGo, YouTube, GitHub, Wikipedia and more (and you can add custom search engines) from Albert
  • A Python extension that makes it possible to easily extend Albert using Python scripts/extensions (there was also an "External Extensions" addon, but it was deprecated with Albert 0.14.0)

Albert Launcher clipboard integration
Albert showing the clipboard history from CopyQ (can also search the clipboard history)

Even without any extra extensions Albert would be quite useful. But thanks to its Python extensions, Albert can do a lot more.

For instance it can search your CopyQ clipboard history and show recent clipboard items, allowing you to quickly copy an entry. If you need to translate text often, Albert can help with that too thanks to its Google Translate and MultiTranslate Python extensions. If you use Arch Linux you can search the Arch Wiki or the Arch Linux User Repository, and have Albert list the search results, and you can install, remove and search for packages in the database.

Translate-related: Crow Translate: Desktop / CLI Text Translation App Using Google Translate, Yandex Translate and Bing Translator

Albert launcher finding cryptocurrency prices
Albert showing cryptocurrency rates

Albert includes more than 40 Python extensions. Besides the ones I already mentioned, here are a few more of them:

  • Atom Projects / JetBrains IDE: list and open Atom / JetBrains IDE projects
  • CoinMarketCap: Show cryptocurrency rates from
  • Gnote / Tomboy: Search, open, create and delete notes using Gnote/Tomboy apps
  • npm: Install, remove and search for packages in the database
  • Kill Process: Unix kill wrapper extension to kill a process
  • Locate: Unix locate wrapper extension, used to find files. Note that it is up to you to ensure that the database is up to date (by running sudo updatedb)
  • pass: Integrates pass, a command line password manager, with Albert
  • Pomodoro: a Python extension that allows setting a Pomodoro timer, without the need of using external tools
  • SCReenshOT utility: allows taking screenshots of the screen, an area or window using scrot command line tool
  • Timer: set a timer using Albert and nothing else
  • VirtualBox: manage VirtualBox machines
  • Window Switcher: X11 window switcher, it lists and activates windows
  • YouTube: search Youtube, listing the results directly in Albert
  • More!

It's worth noting that to use most of these Python extensions, you need to type the trigger, followed by a space, then continue with your query. The trigger for each extension is shown on the Python extension page from the Albert settings:

Albert launcher Python extensions

For example, to use Albert to access your CopyQ clipboard history (it needs CopyQ to be installed and running on your system), enable this extension from the Albert Settings -> Extensions -> Python -> CopyQ, then open Albert using the keyboard shortcut you've assigned it (Settings -> General -> Hotkey), and type cq followed by a space. After this, Albert should populate a clipboard history list showing the 5 most recent items. Type your search query after cq and space to search in your clipboard history.

Installing Albert launcher for Linux

To install Albert from a repository or download binaries for Debian, Fedora, openSUSE or Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, including Linux Mint, Pop!_OS, elementary and so on), visit Albert's openSUSE Build Service repository page, and click on the link for your Linux distribution For Linux Mint 19.*, use the instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, as that's what it's based on.

This repository also supports Arch Linux, but there's no need for it since Arch already has Albert in its repositories.

You can also build Albert from source.