Searching for Packages

Not all packages come installed on your operating system. However, through using your operating system you may need to find and properly install new packages.

Before you can install a package you must figure out how to find a package.


Before searching for packages you should Update Package Repositories with: sudo apt update

apt search [package-name]

If you already know the name of the package you are interested in you can just search for it by name using apt search. Let’s search for the popular terminal text editor called vim.

Enter apt search vim

apt search vim

Lots of entries mention vim in their description, or name. Scroll through the list and you should find:

apt search vim listing

That’s exactly what I’m looking for the Vi IMproved - enhanced vi editor.


The vim text editor is popular and highly customizable. You may have noticed the large number of packages that plug in to vim to provide features for specific programming languages or technologies.

Using the Internet

In order to use apt search you have to already know the package name, or luck into guessing some part of the description of a package. This is not always possible. Regularly you will find new packages when researching how to accomplish any given task in Linux.

Searching for Terminal Text Editors

You know the task you want to accomplish, so you can leverage the internet to discover packages/tools that can assist you in your task.

You know you want to edit files from the terminal in Ubuntu. So pull up a search engine and search for it:

ubuntu terminal text editors


You may want to check out a couple of different results, but you are mainly on a discovery mission, so just focus on the first article for now: Exploring Text Editors in Ubuntu 20.04 - ByteXD .

It’s an article with the date of Oct 23, 2021. Pretty quick read, just mentioning some terminal text editors this specific author has heard of including both terminal (CLI) and graphical (GUI).

The CLI options the article lists:

  • vi/vim
  • nano
  • kakoune
  • emacs
  • ne

You don’t want to learn 5 different packages that allow you to accomplish the same task. You simply need to use one. You will need to conduct further research to choose the tool that is right for your problem, and for you personally.


Go ahead and try out apt search [package-name] on all of the listed items to see if there is a package associated with each of the 5 tools listed above. You may find using some Regex anchors beneficial while searching. Try apt search vim & apt search ^vim$. How are the results different? What are the keywords you’ve learned from this hint you can use to learn more? (Regex & Regex anchors)

Searching for Image Editors

Search for: ubuntu image editor.

The top result was: linuxhint: Best Image Editor for Ubuntu .

It is an article from 2 years ago talking about the popular GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It’s a GNU package so you can probably assume you can access it with your package manager, but you can always search to make sure with apt search gimp.

apt search gimp

Again, you just discovered the package using the internet. You will need to do more research into if the tool is a good choice for your specific task, and you may need to learn how to use the tool.