How To: Install .DEB Files In Ubuntu

Today’s article is only useful for a subset of my readers, that is those who need to know how to install .deb files in Ubuntu. That’s a bit cheeky of a headline, but there’s a character limit to adhere to. So, if you want to install .deb files in Ubuntu, this article is for you…

What are .deb files?

The .deb file extension means that it is a package meant to be installed in Debian. So, this article will be valid for all Debian users – even those downstream, like Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Quite a few Linux distros use .deb files, not just Ubuntu. I happen to be an Ubuntu member and many of my readers use distros based on Ubuntu (which is, of course, based on Debian). To keep things short, we’re not going to type all that out over and over again.

Many new users start with Ubuntu or Mint, and Debian itself of course. You might be a new user and have reached the point where you’re comfortable installing software from the graphical installer built into your operating system of choice.

Well, this is Linux… There are all sorts of ways to do things! Assuming you’re safe, or unsafe if you want – it’s your choice, you can find software that’s not available in the graphical installer, or newer versions than what you’ll find in the graphical installer. You’ll often find this software available in .deb format and this article will show you a few ways to install those .deb files.

How To: Install .DEB files in Ubuntu:

The first way we’re going to cover will be in your terminal. You’ll likely need an open terminal for the rest of the methods, so you might as well open your terminal now. You can just smash the CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal application should pop open.

The first method is pretty easy. You’re simply using ‘apt’ in the terminal, much like you’d do if you wanted to update from the terminal. The command would look something like this:

You’ll usually have downloaded the file to your Downloads directory, so you can either navigate to Downloads using the cd command or you can just include the folder in your path to the file, kind of like this:

Of course, you’ll use the actual file name and you’ll be asked for your password (unless you’ve changed that). Enter your password and let apt do its thing. Using apt is great because it will do its best to resolve any dependency issues you might have.

Now onto some GUI ways to install .deb files in Ubuntu!

Install .DEB Files With GDebi:

You followed the directions above and have an open terminal, right? Good, because GDebi doesn’t always come installed by default. I’ve previously written an article about GDebi, but it’s actually on the old site. I won’t bother linking it.

GDebi is a great GUI, that is a graphical, way to install .deb files. In fact, on the man page, it is described as:

gdebi – Simple tool to install deb files

To install .deb files with GDebi you first need to install it. You can do that right there in the terminal. To install GDebi, just run this command:

Once you have GDebi installed, you just use it from the right-click menu. Use your file manager to navigate to the download’s directory. Then you just right-click on the .deb file and choose to install it. The first time around, you might need to do some sort of ‘open with’ exercise, but then it should appear as something like “Open with GDebi package installer” or you will pick it from a list.

I’m positive you can figure it out from there. The great thing about using this GUI method to install software in Ubuntu is that it too will attempt to deal with any dependency issues automatically.

Install .DEB Files With QApt:

Do you still have that terminal open? Good! We have one final graphical method to install .deb files in Ubuntu. This one is a fairly new application and it’s a Qt application. However, it installs with very few dependencies and takes up very little space. Functionally, it’s very similar to GDebi.

So then, let’s start with getting QApt properly installed. The name is quite a bit longer, but it’s still easy to install QApt. To install the software, try this:

It’s a nice and light way to graphically install .deb files. For the life of me, I can’t figure out the correct man page incantation to make it work. No amount of trying the various words results in a man page opening. I do not know why, but I do know that it works. If you search to install QApt, it describes itself as:

qapt-deb-installer – tool for installing deb files

That’s plenty accurate. That’s what it is and that’s what it does. While I can’t find a man page for QApt, that’s an adequate description.

This QApt is a bit different. Like with GDebi, you’ll use your file manager to navigate to the directory that contains your .deb file (usually the Downloads directory) and right-click on the .deb file you wish to install. You’ll then pick “Open With” and click on the “QApt Package Installer”. With QApt now open, you’ll just click the obvious install button and wait patiently for it to do its thing.


So, there you have it… You have another article and this one has you learning how to install .deb files in Ubuntu. There are a few ways and you can pick the one that works best for you. Much of the time, I already have a terminal open and already navigated to the ~/Downloads directory. Because of this, I’ll often just do the installation right there in the terminal, using the apt command. But, it’s up to you. You have choices!

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