Guide to the Ubuntu Unity Dash

Unity Dash in Ubuntu is long since deprecated

Ubuntu's Unity Dash served as a user interface for Ubuntu to search for files and applications, listen to music, watch videos, view photos and monitor online accounts such as Google+ and Twitter.

Ubuntu discontinued Unity/Dash in 2017; this feature hasn't been available in Ubuntu for several years. If you're running a version of Ubuntu that still uses the Dash, it's time to upgrade. This information is retained for historical purposes.

Learn Ubuntu - The Unity Dash
Learn Ubuntu - The Unity Dash.

Unity Scopes and Lenses

Unity employs scopes and lenses. When you first open the Dash you see several icons at the bottom of the screen. Clicking each of the icons displays a new lens.

The following Lenses are installed by default:

  • Home 
  • Applications
  • Files
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Photos

Each lens offers attributes called scopes. Scopes provide the data for a lens. For example, on the music lens, the data is retrieved through the Rhythmbox scope. On the photos lens, the data is provided by Shotwell.

If you decide to uninstall Rhythmbox and install another audio player such as Audacious, install the Audacious scope to view your music in the music lens.

The Home Lens

The Home Lens is the default view when you press the Super key on the keyboard. It displays applications, files and folders.

You only see a list of about six icons for each category but you can expand the lists to show more by clicking on the links' See more results. If you click on the Filter Results link, you see lists of categories and sources.

The Application Lens 

The application lens shows three categories:

  • Recently used applications
  • Installed applications
  • Dash plug-ins

Expand any of these categories by clicking on the See more results links. The filter link in the top right corner lets you filter by application type. You can also filter by sources such as locally installed applications or Software Center applications.

The File Lens

 The Unity File Lens shows the following categories:

  • Recently accessed files
  • Downloads
  • Folders

By default, only a handful of results are displayed. Show more results by clicking the See more results links. Filter by date, file type and file size.

The Video Lens

The video lens searches for local and online videos, although you have to turn online results on before it works. The video lens doesn't have any filters, but you can use the search bar to find specific videos.

The Music Lens

The music lens views the audio files that are installed on your system and plays them from the desktop.

Before it works, however, open Rhythmbox and import music into your folders. After the music has been imported, you can filter the results in the Dash by decade or by genre.

The Photo Lens

The photo lens lets you look at your photos through the Dash. As with the music lens, you must first import the photos using Shotwell.