Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 23:13

There was a really good desktop dictionary program StarDict available on Ubuntu for years. It means a lot for education! Unfortunately, it was no longer available on 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish" and later since it got discontinued. That means 18.04 LTS users can still install it but 20.04 LTS users lost it. Fortunately, we have its modern replacement named QStarDict with same functionalities available for 20.04. This tutorial explains how to get it to your system and supplies example in adding dictionary data and finally how to use it.


 Thanks to free software community StarDict now lives again!

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Install QStarDict

Do command line below:

$ sudo apt-get install qstardict festival 

Add Dictionary Data

StarDict divides its program and its dictionary data to work for you. It means after you install the program you must install the dictionary files yourself. There are so many language files available such as Indonesian-English as well as English-Indonesian since StarDict had been around since very long time. QStarDict works the same way. Here's how to add dictionary data by example Indonesian><English.
  1. Download English-Indonesian dictionary files at GitHub
  2. Extract it.
  3. Copy its folder contents.
  4. Paste them into your ~/.stardict/dic/ folder. 
  5. If it doesn't exist then create it and paste them. 
  6. Correctly placed items look like picture below. 

Run QStarDict

Find QStarDict on your start menu and run it. Picture below shows my QStarDict easily found at Kubuntu start menu, panel, and desktop.

Search A Word

On its window, type a word in English and you see list of Indonesian words displaying automatically on the fly. Try the same thing from the other side Indonesian to English. Picture below shows an example, suppose I don't know the meaning of the word distribution then I type that on QStarDict and I can see the meaning in Indonesian pemberian.

Scan On Screen

This is the coolest feature of QStarDict. 

Open an English webpage and try to double-click a word. Conversely, try it on an Indonesian webpage. To enable or disable this feature, give or remove check mark on Scan option by right-clicking QStarDict icon staying at system tray.

It can also scan document.

Yes, it can scan PDF as well.

Spell a Word with Voice

It is another cool feature of QStarDict as it can speak out loud every English word. For example, Indonesian students can learn English pronounciation word by word at home this way. Do a scan like above and click the speaker icon.

Note: if you don't hear anything, install the package festival as mentioned above.


That's all. I hope you enjoy learning languages on computer by using QStarDict. Thank you very much Huzheng for creating StarDict the best desktop dictionary ever. Thank you Alexander for creating QStarDict its continuation. See you on the next tutorial!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.