Albert – A Fast And Flexible Keyboard Launcher

Albert keyboard launcher

Albert is a fast and flexible keyboard launcher, written in C++ and based on the Qt framework. As the name implies, the principal duty of Albert is to launch things, nothing more, nothing less. Using Albert, you can run applications, open files or their paths, open bookmarks in your web browser, search the web, calculate things and much more. Albert has flexible extension system, so the users and/or the developers can extend the functionality of Albert by creating plugins. It is free, open source and licensed under GPLv2.

In this brief tutorial, let us see how to install and use Albert launcher in GNU/Linux.

Installing Albert

On Arch-based systems, you can install it from AUR using any helper programs.

Using Yay:

$ yay -S albert

Alternatively, you can add Albert repository and install using pacman as shown below.

A word of caution: The official Arch Linux Developers and the Trusted Users do not perform tests of any sort to verify the contents of unofficial repositories. You must decide whether to trust their maintainers and you take full responsibility for any consequences of using any unofficial repository.

Edit pacman.conf file:

$ sudo vi /etc/pacman.conf

Add the following lines:

[home_manuelschneid3r_Arch]
SigLevel = Never
Server = https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/Arch/$arch

Press ESC key and type :wq to save and close the file. Then, run the following command to install Albert:

$ sudo pacman -Syu
$ sudo pacman -S home_manuelschneid3r_Arch/albert

On Debian testing run the following commands as root user:

# wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Debian_Testing/Release.key -O Release.key
# apt-key add - < Release.key
# echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/Debian_Testing/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:manuelschneid3r.list
# apt-get update
# apt-get install albert

On Debian 9, run the following as root user:

# wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Debian_9.0/Release.key -O Release.key
# apt-key add - < Release.key
# echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/Debian_9.0/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:manuelschneid3r.list
# apt-get update
# apt-get install albert

On Fedora Rawhide run the following as root user:

# dnf config-manager --add-repo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Fedora_Rawhide/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# dnf install albert

On Fedora 27 run the following as root user:

# dnf config-manager --add-repo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Fedora_27/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# dnf install albert

On Fedora 26 run the following as root user:

# dnf config-manager --add-repo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Fedora_26/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# dnf install albert

On Fedora 25 run the following as root user:

# dnf config-manager --add-repo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/Fedora_25/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# dnf install albert

On openSUSE Tumbleweed run the following as root user:

# zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# zypper refresh
# zypper install albert

On openSUSE Leap 42.3 run the following as root user:

# zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# zypper refresh
# zypper install albert

On openSUSE Leap 42.2 run the following as root user:

# zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/openSUSE_Leap_42.2/home:manuelschneid3r.repo
# zypper refresh
# zypper install albert

On Ubuntu 17.10:

$ wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_17.10/Release.key -O Release.key
$ sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
$ sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_17.10/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:manuelschneid3r.list"
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install albert

On Ubuntu 17.04:

$ wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_17.04/Release.key -O Release.key
$ sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
$ sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_17.04/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:manuelschneid3r.list"
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install albert

On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

$ wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_16.04/Release.key -O Release.key
$ sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
$ sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/manuelschneid3r/xUbuntu_16.04/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:manuelschneid3r.list"
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install albert

Usage

To launch albert, open your terminal and run:

$ albert

When you run albert for the first time, you will be asked to set a hotkey to show it. Click Yes to open the Settings window.

This is how Settings window looks like:

In General section, Click on Hotkey box and choose your hotkey. I have chosen SUPER+A as hot key. You can choose any key combination of your choice. Also, set other options such as the default Terminal, show tray icon, theme, position of albert window etc.

Then go to the Extensions section and enable the extensions that want to use. To enable an extension, just check the checkbox of the appropriate extension.

Once you’re done with Settings window, click the Close button. You can relaunch it at any time by pressing the hotkey which you have assigned earlier or by clicking on the tray icon.

Be default, Albert launcher will appear at the center of your screen.

Type the query in the search box. It will instantly show the results in the vertical list as you type.

You can move between the list using UP/DOWN arrow keys. Press CTRL+HOME and CTRL+END keys to move to the first and last item in the result. PgUp/PgDown keys moves the selection by the amount of visible items. Press the ESC key or the hotkey again to hide the albert launcher.

Here is the list of shortcut keys that you can use while working with Albert.

Key Action
Esc Hide Albert
Alt Hold to show alternative actions for the item
Enter Activate the primary action of selected item
Meta/Win +
Meta/Win + Enter
Activate the 1st fallback item with the query
Ctrl + ,
Alt + ,
Show the settings dialog
,,
PgUp,PgDn,
Ctrl + Home,
Ctrl + End
Navigation in the results list. If the first item is selected, iterates though the query history.
Ctrl +
Ctrl +
Navigate in query history
Alt + F4 Quit Albert

After choosing the item you want to launch, press ENTER key or use Mouse click to open it.

Believe it or not, Albert is very cool. It is really good at finding and launching things either from my local system or the Internet.

For example, you can start a VM by typing its name in the search box. Use UP/Down arrows to choose the VM from the drop-down list and hit ENTER key to open it.

You can directly use google translate in the launcher.

Search any topics directly on wikipedia:

If albert can’t find anything based on the search query in your local system, it will display the suggestions on Internet instead.

SSH to your remote systems:

Shutdown/restart/log out your system:

Autostart Albert

At the moment, Albert doesn’t start automatically at system boot. To autostart Albert on system startup, link the albert.desktop file into your autostart directory like below:

$ sudo ln -s /usr/share/applications/albert.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Now, you can launch Albert application by pressing the assigned hotkey i.e SUPER+A in my case. Press ESC key to hide the launcher. To exit albert, press ALT+F4 key.

And, that’s all for today! Hope this was useful. I will leave you now to get acquainted with Albert. Don’t forget to share your experience with Albert in the comment section below.

More good stuffs to come. Stay tuned!

Cheers!

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