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Unity Desktop Lenses

One of the most popular features of the new Unity desktop are the Lenses. You can uses lenses to sort and search for items inside the Unity dash. For example, a lens for music will allow you to filter your searches for all of your music items and display music only in your search results.

More About Unity Dash Lenses

There are several lenses that can be added to the dash, each providing its own impressive functions as well. More lenses are being created all the time, and there are lots to choose from.

Ubuntu 11.10 Screenshot

Enabling Dash Lenses

After installing new lenses you may have to logout and log back in for the changes to take effect.

Installing Unity Desktop Dash Lenses


I have not yet tested many of these lenses so be wary.

Applications Lens

The applications lens will allow you to quickly search for installed applications on your system. Use the command below to install the default lenses.

$ sudo apt-get install unity-lens-applications

Ask Ubuntu Lens

This is a good lens for everyone that has questions about Ubuntu or the new Unity desktop. The Ask Ubuntu lens will let you search through the Ask Ubuntu question database, you can find answers for everything.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:askubuntu-tools/ppa
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-askubuntu

Calculator Lens

Use this lens or scope to input number commands into the dash as calculator commands, it will then display the output. This lens works using the GCalctool.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-utilities unity-scope-calculator

Calendar Lens

There is even a calendar lens that can help you organize your upcoming schedule.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-calendar-lens
sudo apt-get install xul-ext-lightning

Cities Lens

Another cool lens for the dash, with this you can display the time, temperature, and wind speed of any city you specify.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-utilities unity-scope-cities

Files Lens

The files lens can be used to search for files and directories on your system.

sudo apt-get install unity-lens-files

Google Docs Lens

This lens will let you search through your Google documents and open them in your web browser. This lens was created by Web Upd8.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gdocs

You can then enter your password into the password file using a text editor.

gksu gedit /usr/bin/unity-lens-gdocs.py

To launch the new lens use the following commands.

unity-lens-gdocs.py
setsid unity

Web Upd8 Homepage

Gwibber Lens

If you use Gwibber you need the lens for Gwibber. This lens will allow you to search though the message history of many of your social networks.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwibber-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gwibber-unity

Music Lens

Try the music lens for the Unity desktop to filter music files only in your dash search results. With the music lens you can also search the Ubuntu One music store.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-music

Pirate Bay Lens

Surely all of you downloaders out there will love this lens. Try this lens to search the Pirate Bay website for bit torrent files.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-scope-piratebay python-lxml

Reddit Lens

With this lens you can search through the top story’s on Reddit.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-reddit-lens

Tomboy Notes Lens

This lens for the will help you keep track of your Tomboy notes. You can also use this lens to create new notes and launch your old ones.

ppa:remi.rerolle/unity-lens-tomboy
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-tomboy

Web Sources Lens

With this lens you can search many different sources such as Wikipedia.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cscarney/unity-web-place
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-place-websearch

Unity Desktop YouTube Lens

Use the YouTube lens for the Unity dash to quickly search for videos on YouTube. You can then launch the YouTube videos using the VLC player.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/lenses
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lens-video scope-youtube

Unity Desktop Dash