Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, May 7, 2021 at 00:05

This is a full list of all Ubuntu default applications (or list of Ubuntu components) with their explanations for first time users. This list is sorted alphabetically with app names taken from what appeared or searchable on Activities Menu and their alternative names mentioned if any. You can learn your Ubuntu computer a lot here as you see every app name, its purpose, short guide to use, and some pictures of them. You will also find external guides linked to help you learn certains apps such as Archive Manager and LibreOffice. This guide is based on version 21.04 also known as Hirsute Hippo which is the latest today which can represents all modern Ubuntu versions. I wish you like it!

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Additional Drivers: the device driver installation tool. Capable to scan all hardware device and automatically download the appropriate drivers for them (some are proprietary software).

Archive Manager: the archive file and compression utility. Use this to read and write ZIP, TAR, 7Z, XZ, and RAR archive files with or without compression and password protection. It supports the best compression formats of this time, 7Z and XZ, as well as the standard archive of Unix world TAR and the popular RAR. For example, with Archive Manager you can make archive file named with password so anyone receive a copy cannot open it nor see its contents unless they know the password. Visit Archiving with Ubuntu to practice and master it.

Backups: the backup tool. Backups (also called DejaDup) can do backup purposes: to schedule, store, and restore backups for the whole computer as well as parts of it as the user wishes.

Calculator: self-describing. For calculation purposes with scientific and financial modes. For example, it can calculate 1 + 1 as well as convert km to cm, and US dollar to other currency among other features.

Calendar: the calendar and scheduler. Use this to view date, create schedule, and set a reminder. Calendar supports colors and access to external online service such as those by Google and others. 

Characters: the characters and emoticon tool. Displays all characters from the character set available in the computer.

Cheese: the webcam app. Use this to take photos or record videos with your webcam. You can also make a burst, a set of individual photos of movements.

Disks: the disk utility. Displays, create, resize, format, backup/restore, and delete disks and partitions with benchmarking and SMART (hard disk health) test ability. It supports multiple filesystems namely FAT, exFAT & NTFS (Windows) and EXT4, Btrfs & XFS (GNU/Linux) with disk encryption technology support. It enables you to make ISO image file out of CD or disk drives as well as write ISO to make bootable USB flash disk. This last functionality overlaps with Startup Disk Creator.

Disk Usage Analyzer: self-describing. Disk Usage Analyzer (also known as Baobab) Scans and displays ranking of folders based on their size with graph. User may choose any specific disk or folder and then analyze their contents quickly. It is very useful e.g. for user with limited disk capacity. 
Document Viewer: the PDF reader. Capable to read ebooks, comics and the format of million books of the internet, DJVU. Aside from reading your daily work documents, Document Viewer for example can also read Internet Archive's digital books.

Document Scanner: the scanning tool. Use this with your scanner device to make digital document out of your physical one. It can save document as either PDF or Bitmaps. For example, you can scan your old photos and the results can be digital photos stored as JPEG.

: the file manager. Files (also known as Nautilus) allows the user to access files and folders as well as all disk drives including the external USB drives. It is the central component every Ubuntu user certainly use.

Shortcuts keys: F1 Help, F2 rename, F5 refresh, F9 hide sidebar, Ctrl+B bookmark, Ctrl+F search, and Shift+Del delete permanently.


Firefox: the web browser. For most of internet purposes: to explore the web, access web mails, and watch video streaming. This app is made by Mozilla and is the most popular one among computer users since 1998 and bundled with Ubuntu since the beginning version 4.04 Warthy Warthog.

Fonts: the font installation utility. Displays typefaces and install font files. For example, this app can overview several fonts bundled in Ubuntu namely Liberation Serif and FreeSerif (replacement to Times New Roman), Liberation Sans and FreeSans (replacement to Arial), and Liberation Mono as well as FreeMono (replacement to Courier Mono). As an addition, all fonts preinstalled with Ubuntu are all free software, that is, unrestricted for commercial as well as redistribution purposes.

GNOME: the whole desktop. GNOME is Ubuntu's user interface, its experiences, its menu and several basic applications for the user. Ubuntu's desktop features Activities button, top panel with black color, and whole screen start menu while every app window had thick title bar. Many components of Ubuntu come from GNOME for example Calendar, Disks and Settings. This technology is made by The GNOME Project.

Help: the documentation and user guide book. You can read how to work with Ubuntu Desktop in this app. This help will also open when you click Help on every Ubuntu app under its hamburger menu button to show the application user guide. For example, let's say Calculator, to open the user manual you click the hamburger menu > Help > the book will open. 

Image Viewer: the picture viewer. Image Viewer (also known as Eye of GNOME) quickly views photos and pictures. Can also display hidden information about a picture. It supports all picture formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF. 

LibreOffice: the office app. LibreOffice can produce documents as well as PDFs by one button click. It is divided to five components namely Writer the word processor, Calc the spreadsheet, Impress the presentation, Draw the diagramming tool and PDF editor, and Math the equation editor. Writer can read and write both ODT and Word's documents, Calc supports ODS and Excel's documents, while Impress supports ODP and PowerPoint's documents. Visit I Want To Learn LibreOffice to practice & master it.

Writer (blue logo) the word processor, to open and edit text documents with doc, docx, rtf, odt and txt formats. Its default format is odt.

Calc (green icon) the spreadsheet, to open and edit spreadsheet table with xls, xlsx, and ods formats. Its default format is ods.

Impress (red icon) the presentation, to open and make slides with ppt, pptx and odp formats. Its default format is odp.

Draw (yellow logo) the illustrator as well as PDF editor. Draw is a vector graphic editor with flowcharts and diagrams capabilities. File formats it can handle are eps, html, jpeg, pdf, png, svg, and tiff.

LivePatch: the enterprise updater. Corporate and enterprise users use this to access Canonical Livepatch Service. As an addition, there is Ubuntu Advantage as well, the paid support from Canonical that one among the features is Extended Security Maintenance for several old Ubuntu releases.

Passwords and Keys
: the credentials manager. It (also known as Seahorse) enables advanced user easier management to GPG3 keys: adding, storing, removing etc.   

Power Statistics
: the battery details viewer. Use this to check up your laptop battery's health and current conditions such as max. capacity and charging capacity as well as the charging percentage. Power Statistics are good to use before buying a laptop or first run after buying one to make sure you got healthy battery and not a broken one.

Remmina: the remote desktop app. Use this to remotely, visually control other computer in the network. So, remote computer's screen will be visible on your screen through Remmina and later control it with clicks.

Rhythmbox: the audio player. Plays music, recordings as well as podcasts online and offline. Supports search, playlists, repeat/shuffle, favorites and automatic import for every audio file in Music in Home directory. Can play MP3, OGG, OPUS, WAV and other audio files. To play with Rhythmbox, simply double-click an MP3 file and it will play -- and same goes for other audios.

: the control panel. Use this to configure your Ubuntu computer. It presents configurations vertically as a list starting with Networks, to setup wifi and such, and ended with About, to display your computer specification.

: the photo organizer. Views photos and pictures, like Image Viewer, and further edits them with few options (crop, lighten, darken). Imports photos from your camera through USB cable and then manages them in convenient yet tidy ways. To open with Shotwell, simply right-click a JPEG file > Open With Other Application > seelct Shotwell > Select > picture will be open. To crop, click Crop button at the bottom > adjust the rectangle to you wish > Crop > Save.

Aisleriot: card game similar to Solitaire.

Mahjongg: puzzle game to find pairs over and over until no pairs remain.

Mines: puzzle game similar to Minesweeper.

Sudoku: puzzle game to play with numbers in boxes.

Startup Applications: the startup configuration. Any app you listed in Startup Applications will automatically run every time computer starts up. In contrast, by removing one from Startup Applications, that one will not run automatically anymore at the startup time.

Software & Updates (purple logo; not to be confused with Software Updater): the repository configuration. This is one of the most important configurations for every Ubuntu user. Use this to setup repositories, choose a country mirror, add / remove repositories, enable bugfix & security updates and enable LivePatch.

Software Updater (grey logo; not to be confused with Software & Updates) : self-described. Use this to check up available updates from the internet and update Ubuntu. This fixes issues and strengthen security of Ubuntu. If there is a new Ubuntu release, Software Updater will automatically inform you. The advantage of Ubuntu is a ability to completely upgrade the operating system along with all installed applications altogether.

Startup Disk Creator: the bootable maker. This enables Ubuntu user to burn ISO image to USB flash drive instead of CD so that medium can be used as a bootable. A bootable medium is a disk storage to run, install or preview an operating system on a computer. For example, you can burn Ubuntu image file to a 8GB flash drive with this app and as a result that USB can be used to install Ubuntu to any computer.

System Monitor: the resource viewer. Like a speedometer, it displays system resource usage and list of all active programs. For example, you can see how much used / free memory in MB unit as well as the up and down graph of CPU percentage measurements.

Text Editor: self-described. Text Editor (also known as Gedit) is your app to write clear text as well as code in programming languages. It features line numbering, spell checking, and more. It supports color scheme for your convenience, as well as plugins for extending it.

Terminal: the commands. Ubuntu users will practice Terminal a lot mostly by copying and pasting command lines from books or the internet as they help do things faster and automatic. Visit Ubuntu Complete User Guide to learn using Terminal.

: the email client. This is a digital post office box where user can read and send emails locally. Corporate, professional as well as busy individual users often use this a lot. Use this to access Gmail or email services alike. Visit Thunderbird Quick Guide to learn on using it.
Transmission: the bittorrent client. Use this to download movies, big files, as well as software images using the 1/3 of the internet most used technology, BitTorrent, which is faster and more reliable than normal download. Transmission can also used to upload files straight to a person with same technology on the internet. Visit How To Torrent by Example to learn about Transmission.

ToDo: the plans app. Use this to write down everything you want to do lately and give check marks to the done ones.

Ubuntu Software: the application store. To search, find, add and remove apps, as well as update the whole Ubuntu system altogether with installed apps. Ubuntu applications are delivered to the users in two choices of format, the standard DEB, and the brand new Snap. The central server on the internet that serves Ubuntu Software is called repository. Most of the applications served in Ubuntu Software are free/libre open source software and some are proprietary. 

Videos: the video player. It (also known as Totem) supports playing both audio and video files with subtitle, repeat and display enhancement features. Being a modern player, it supports also playing videos from the internet as well as several Channels like and Movie Trailers.


This article is inspired by a Mac tutorial by Makeuseof, and two articles of List of MacOS Components and List of Windows Components by Wikipedia so we would love to say thank you very much to these authors for their inspiration. We hope this Complete Guide article helps everyone of Ubuntu Buzz dear readers. See you next time!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.