Best Keyboard Driven Application Launchers for Linux – Linux Hint

This article discusses lightweight Linux startup programs that are only accessible via keyboard input. These applications allow quick access and launch of applications and are especially useful for people who prefer to navigate with the keyboard rather than the mouse.

<ALT+F2> Keyboard shortcut

In most Linux desktop environments the <ALT+F2> key combination is used as a shortcut to execute applications and commands. By pressing the <ALT+F2> keys, you can execute Bin Bin executables that are located in different bin folders on the Linux system, and also run .desktop. Enter your command in the input field and press the key to execute it. Some of these <ALT+F2> launchers also support automatic shutdown.

Dwarf cake

GNOME Pie is an intuitive Linux application startup with nested circles for quick access to applications and files. Each ring consists of symbols arranged in a circle, which function as rough categories, and is then divided into a submenu called slices. GNOME Pie fills the rings automatically from the system menus, but you can also create your own custom rings. Each menu item can be moved using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

To install GNOME Pie in Ubuntu, run the following command:

$ sudo apt set of dwarf cake

You can install GNOME Pie in other Linux distributions by following the instructions available here.

Once the installation is complete, launch GNOME Pie from the application launcher. You can now open the main menu ring by pressing the key combination <CTRL+ALT+SPACE BAR>. You can customize this shortcut in the GNOME Pie settings, which can be accessed via the taskbar icon on the control panel.


Buyer is an easy to use keyboard application for Linux. Unlike Gnome Pie, Kupfer does not divide the menu into different categories, but makes all content searchable. If you type Fire in the search box, Firefox will appear as the best option depending on the applications installed on your Linux system. To call the buyer, press the key combination <CTRL+space>.

To install copper in Ubuntu, run the following command:

$ sudo apt barrier setting

You can install copper in other Linux distributions by following the installation instructions available here.


Synapse is a free open source application launcher that allows you to quickly launch applications using keyboard navigation. To start the application, call Synapse by pressing <Ctrl+Space> and enter the name of the application. Synapse shows you the best match in real time, and other related matches can be opened by pressing the down arrow button.

To install the Synapse in Ubuntu, follow the command below

$ install sudo apt Synapse


Rofi is both a light button and a window switch. You can call it by executing the rofi command and specifying the mode in the terminal. Follow these commands to run rofi as an application launcher, window switch or handset mode:

rofi – show run
$ rofi – show window
$ rofi – show combination

Rofi does not come standard with keyboard screens. However, you can easily assign the above commands to any combination of keys using the shortcut management tool available in System Preferences.

To install rofi in Ubuntu, run the following command:

To install Rofi in other Linux distributions, follow the installation instructions available here

Circuit breaker

Ulauncher is a free application program written in Python and GTK3. It provides a fast and fuzzy search for applications and files on the Linux system. You can change the look of Ulauncher by creating custom themes, but also improve it by installing many third party plugins available here.

To install Ulauncher in Ubuntu, download the .deb file here and then run the command in the following format

install sudo apt ./ulauncher_5.8.0_all.deb

To install Ulauncher in other Linux distributions, follow the instructions available here


Startup programs with an intuitive, keyboard-driven user interface can increase productivity and save time. These startup programs are especially useful for Linux users who prefer a minimal desktop environment and keyboard navigation to manage and run applications and windows.

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