Enable Quick Filter Search Box in Synaptic Package Manager


For those prefer installing and removing Ubuntu packages via Synaptic package manager, you must have noticed the ‘Quick filter’ search function has been replaced by a search button.

This quick tutorial is going to show you how to re-enable the ‘Quick filter’ function in Synaptic package manager in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 16.04, and higher.

The search box is offered by ‘apt-xapian-index’, which is a ‘recommends’ dependency package for Synaptic.

1. Open terminal either via Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut or from application launcher. When it opens, run command to install apt-xapian-index:

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index

Type user password (no asterisks feedback) when it prompts and hit Enter to continue.

2. Then rebuild the search engine index via command:

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf

Finally open or re-open Synaptic package manager, and you’ll see the search box back. Unfortunately for perfectionist, the previous ‘Search’ button seems not easy to be removed from tool-bar.

By Ji m

I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to remind me outdated tutorial! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via ubuntuhandbook1@gmail.com Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/ubuntuhandbook1


  1. Ji, I dual boot Ubuntu Mate and a Debian based OS (Parrot Security OS). Ubuntu Mate has quick search enabled by default but Parrot does not. Will this work on Debian also, as it is not a PPA? (apt-xapian-index is included in the repository)
    I really miss quick search.

    1. I’m not sure, just try it out as Debian and Ubuntu packages are building almost with same rules, though there may be differences on patches and dependency packages versions.

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