Ubuntu: list installed packages [Guide]

If you’re an Ubuntu user, you will want to view all of the programs installed on your computer at some point. The trouble is, Ubuntu doesn’t exactly make this easy for new users. There aren’t any official tools pre-installed with Ubuntu that new users can use to view installed packages.

ubuntu list installed packages guide Ubuntu: list installed packages [Guide]

Thankfully, there are methods out there that Ubuntu users can use to view installed packages on their system. In this guide, we’ll go through these methods. 

Need to update packages? Check out our guide.

Ubuntu list installed packages – Synaptic Package Manager

Perhaps the best way to list all installed packages on Ubuntu is by making use the Synaptic Package Manager. It’s a GUI tool that allows users to manage their packages on Ubuntu, including the ability to sort based on package status (installed, upgradable, etc.)

Sadly, the Synaptic Package Manager is no longer a default application on the Ubuntu desktop, as they’ve ditched it for Ubuntu Software Center. Still, it is possible to install this app quite easily.

To start installing Synaptic Package Manager on your Ubuntu Linux PC, open up a terminal window. To open up a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop, press Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard, or search for “Terminal” in the app menu.

Once the terminal window is open, you’ll be able to install Synaptic Package Manager with the command below.

sudo apt install synaptic

After installing the Synaptic Package Manager on your Ubuntu Linux PC, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to list installed packages.

Step 1: Launch Synaptic on your Ubuntu desktop. You can launch it by searching for “Synaptic” in the app menu. Once the app is launched, you will be prompted to enter your user password. Do so.

Step 2: After entering your password, the Synaptic Package Manager UI will appear. Locate the “Status” button at the bottom left-hand corner of the app, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Once you’ve selected the “Status” button, you will see various status options available in the Synaptic Package Manager, including “Installed” and many others. 

Step 4: Locate the “Installed” status, and click on it with the mouse. When you select the “Installed” status option, Synaptic will only show you installed packages on your Ubuntu PC. 

ubuntu list installed packages guide Ubuntu: list installed packages [Guide]

Alternatively, if you want to view only packages that you’ve installed, rather than ones that were installed during the installation of Ubuntu, select the “Installed (manual)” status option. “Installed (manual)” filters out only packages the user has chosen to install.

Ubuntu list installed packages – Apt 

The official Ubuntu package manager (Apt) has the ability to list installed packages. The way this is done is by making use of the apt list command and combining it with the grep search command.

To take a look at all of the packages installed onto your Ubuntu PC with the Apt package manager, you must launch a terminal window. To launch a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop, press the Ctrl + Alt + T keyboard combination or search for “Terminal” in the app menu.

Once the terminal window is open, execute the apt list command in combination with the grep command to view all installed packages on your Ubuntu Linux PC in the terminal.

apt list | grep "installed" ubuntu list installed packages guide 1 Ubuntu: list installed packages [Guide]

After executing the command above, Apt will print out a long list of every installed package on Ubuntu. When looking through this list, you may notice that it is incredibly long. 

For a better time reading the package list, try combining the package list command above with the less command. It will make the list much more readable by dividing it up into pages.

apt list | grep "installed" | less

Want to save the list of installed packages to a text file for later? Enter the command below.

apt list | grep "installed" > ~/installed-ubuntu-packages

To view the text file, execute:

cat ~/installed-ubuntu-packages

Ubuntu list installed packages – Dpkg

The Dpkg package installation tool is another way Ubuntu users can view a list of installed packages on their system. Listing installed packages via the Dpkg package installer is done with the dpkg –get-selections command.

To use Dpkg to view a list of installed packages on your Ubuntu PC, open up a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop. To open up a terminal window, press Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard, or search for “terminal” in the app menu.

Once inside the terminal, execute the dpkg –get-selections command to get a full printout of all installed packages. Combine it with the less command to make the long list more readable.

dpkg --get-selections | less ubuntu list installed packages guide 2 Ubuntu: list installed packages [Guide]

Want to save the list of installed packages generated by Dpkg to a list? Execute the following command below in the terminal window.

dpkg --get-selections > ~/dpkg-package-list

To view the Dpkg text file in the terminal, make use of the following cat command.

cat ~/dpkg-package-list

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