screenshot of fsearch running on ubuntu 18.04 LTS

If you’re looking for a super fast file search tool for Ubuntu that’s similar to the Everything Search Engine on Windows you’re in the right place.

FSearch is exactly what you’re looking for.

The utility’s developer, Christian Boxdörfer, is even upfront about the inspiration, explaining on the project homepage: “[Everything Search Engine] provides instant results as you type for all your files and lots of useful features (regex, filters, bookmarks, …). On Linux however I couldn’t find anything that’s even remotely as fast and powerful.”

Christian says he a slew of Linux file search tools (including standalone ones like Catfish and ANGRYSearch, as well as the file-finding features baked into file managers like Nautilus) first, as he didn’t want to create “yet-another” file-search tool for Linux.

Sadly, none of them were what he wanted, or catered to different use cases.

So he built his own.

FSearch Features

a screenshot of Fsearch file search app running on ubuntu 20.04 LTS
A desktop-agnostic file finding fiend!

FSearch is built using GTK3 but is designed from the off to be desktop-agnostic. This means it works just as well on lightweight Linux desktops like XFCE and Cinnamon as it does on fully-featured distros carrying the latest GNOME Shell.

It also runs independent of a file manager and boasts super fast performance with low memory usage.

Now, most people find Nautilus (or another file manager’s search tool) sufficient for locating a misplaced self or errant MP3. But if you’re looking for something a bit faster and a bit more capable, try FSearch.

It boasts the following capabilities:

  • Instant (as you type) results
  • Wildcard support
  • RegEx support
  • Filter support (files, folders, everything, etc)
  • Fast sort by filename, path, size, etc
  • Include/exclude specific folders from indexing

Oh yeah, and it’s UI is customisable too.

By default FSearch uses a traditional UI with menubar that looks right at home on MATE and XFCE. But if you prefer client-side decorations you can enable a CSD option via the Preferences panel (though it requires a restart of the app to take effect).

In Preferences you’ll also find an option to enable a dark theme, as well as access advanced settings to control things like window size, column configuration, single-click opening, keyword highlighting, and more.

Finally, you have complete control over what areas of your file system the app can and cannot access — so if you don’t want it to sift through that 2TB external backup drive for photos, you can tell it not to.

I should make one thing clear: FSearch does not search in files. It only searches file/folder names. If you need a full-text search tool try something like Recoll.

How to Install Fsearch on Ubuntu

You can download source code for FSearch on the GitHub project page.

To install the latest stable release of FSearch on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and above, add the FSearch PPA to your list of source softwares:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:christian-boxdoerfer/fsearch-stable

Then install the app:

sudo apt install fsearch

Once installed, open FSearch from your preferred app launcher/app menu to get started.

You can report bugs on the FSearch Github issues page.

This article was updated.

The first version of this article was written in 2016. It was updated in 2021 to reflect the fact that FSearch is now stable, and has picked up a couple of new features since our initial hands-on.

Apps catfish file search fsearch utilities