Utilizing The Deskbar Applet to Make Your Life Easier

One of the overlooked feature in Ubuntu Gutsy is the deskbar-applet found on the top panel. Being one of the best desktop search tool around, I am quite surprised that only few are fully utilizing it. The only reason that I can think of is either most people don’t know how to use it, or they don’t realize how powerful it is

What can you do with deskbar-applet?

Basically, you can do anything you want it to do. On a nutshell, it allows you to

  • search for files/folder in your system
  • look up words in Wikipedia, dictionary
  • perform search in Google and Yahoo
  • open a web address
  • send email
  • search for product in Ebay, Amazon
  • search del.icio.us bookmarks
  • launch program
  • shutdown/restart your computer
  • and many more…

If you are a Python developer, you can even write your own extension to get it to perform whatever tasks you want.

Configuring your deskbar-applet

Configuration is easy. Right click on the orange icon and select Preferences. Place a check on the features that you wanted.


Performing a search

Click on the orange deskbar-applet icon. A search bar will launch. Type in whatever terms you want to search. If you are looking for a previously searched result, just click the History dropdown bar to show your past result.


If you want to go to a particular web address, enter the url (for example: https://www.url.com) on the search bar and select “Open http://www.url.com” under Web section.


To send a email, type in your recipient’s email address and select “Send email to …”. A mail compose window will pop up where you can compose and send your email.


To open up a program, type the name of the program and select launch program. The deskbar applet also has the ability to match keyword with certain programs. For example, when I enter “music”, it provides me with a choice to launch any of my music player.


Some other useful extensions

  • perform calculation and conversion

This extension allows you to do a simple and quick calculation or unit conversion.


To enable this extension, download the file, copy it to “/home/username/.gnome2/deskbar-applet/modules-2.20-compatible”. Activate the extension in the “Preference”. The converter module require the units library to be installed. You can easily achieve that by

  • remember the milk

You can also use the deskbar-applet to create/delete/update your tasks in Remember The Milk. Download the file and extract it to the deskbar-applet module folder. Activate it in the Preference and you are ready to go.

Some of the other interesting extensions found in the GNOME Live include

  • Google suggest
  • Wikipedia suggest
  • Gajim
  • ekiga

I have not tried them though. If you have tried it, do let me know if it is useful.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox