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Things to do after installing elementary OS


A comprehensive tutorial with step by step instructions that includes 3rd party software installation, system tweaks and system maintenance help.

elementary OS (always with a small “e”) is a Linux distro that offers an intuative route to replace your MS Windows or Apple OSX. It is perfect for the everyday tasks like web browsing, playing music, videos, games and yes, getting serious work done. With Linux at its heart, elementary OS combines stability, simplicity and speed with a beautiful and consistent looking interface. You will also notice the ease in which it is possible to set up printers, scanners, audio devices and other peripherals.

The latest release codename “Loki” is the 4th significant step towards the developer’s final vision. There are however, some “expected gaps” like the omission of an Office Suite and other useful applications but hey! thats the purpose of this tutorial.

About This Software Selection

As there are literally 1,000’s of applications available for Linux I use this section to put a spotlight on some of my go to applications (subjective though it may be). My objective was to create a complete desktop environment that could be used by my whole family while adopting as much out of the box elementary experience into our daily work-flow. That is what using this complete and comprehensive tutorial will give you too. As well as sharing the installation instructions I also provide a link to all the applications websites as well as including some “how to use” tuitorials.

For the majority of my tutorials I use the “Terminal” which can be found in your “Application Menu”. There are 2 reasons for this…

  1. It simplifies instruction sharing as the user just needs to copy a command and paste it on the command line.
  2. It is proven to be the quickest way to install software.

Tip: Only use terminal commands from trusted websites.


1 Preparation and Essentials
2 Alternative Web Browsers
3 Office and Productivity Applications
4 Graphics and Photography Applications
5 Multimedia
6 Gaming on elementary
7 System Tools and Utilities
8 Tweaks, Appearance, Behavior

Essential Preparation

Update your System

This must be done before anything else. There are two ways to do this select your preferred method.

Method 1

Navigate to System Settings > select About then > Check for Updates


Method 2

Open the Terminal Application then copy/paste the following line

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

System Preparation

Install the following tools needed to implement these tutorials . Open the Terminal Application then copy/paste the following line.

sudo apt install software-properties-common gdebi git dconf-editor software-properties-gtk

Install Graphics Drivers

  1. Before proceeding make sure the steps are complete.
  2. Open the Applications menu and type software and updates in the search field.
  3. Software Properties will be displayed and you will be asked for your password
  4. Select the Additional drivers tab and wait for it to update
  5. Select and install the proprietary graphics presented
  6. Complete the installation by closing everything and rebooting your computer.


Enable Canonical Partner Respositories

  1. Again… open the Applications menu and type software and updates in the search field.
  2. Software Properties will be displayed and you will be asked for your password
  3. Select the Other Software tab
  4. Select Canonical Partners then Close
  5. Your system will update automatically.

Install Multimedia Codecs

This command installs codecs to enable playback for many proprietary multimedia formats. It also installs common Microsoft fonts. Open the Terminal then copy/paste the following line.

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras libavcodec-extra ffmpeg

The installation will pause asking you to agree to the End User Licence Agreement (EULA) On your keyboard use the [tab] and [arrow keys] to agree to the terms

Install Essential Archiving Tools

Open the Terminal then copy/paste the following line.

sudo apt install rar unrar cabextract lzip lunzip arj unace p7zip-rar p7zip

Optimize your Laptops Battery Life

There is no substitute for manually turning off functionality not being used e.g. bluetooth when on battery power. That said installing tlp with its default settings provide a good balance between performance and power saving. To install open the Terminal then copy/paste these commands one at a time.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
sudo tlp start

Optimize Your SSD Partitions – TRIM

One way to optimize your SSD in elementary OS is by adding the TRIM command to the file /etc/rc.local. This command will be executed automatically on every boot therefore prolonging the life of your SSD.

First disable the weekly trim. Open the Terminal then copy/paste this command

sudo mv -v /etc/cron.weekly/fstrim /fstrim/

In the terminal open the rc.local text file using this command

sudo -i scratch-text-editor /etc/rc.local

The text file will look like this

Above the line exit 0, add the TRIM command fstrim for every automatically mounted EXT4 partition on your SSD. It is important you do not add the command for partitions that are not auto-mounted, e.g. the swap partition or for the /boot/efi partition. Your rc.local should look like this below when done. I highlighted what I added to my mine as an example.

Save the modified file then reboot your computer.

Install Preload (optional)

Pre-loading is best used with large and often-used applications like your web browser or office suite. The benefit is that preloaded applications start more quickly because reading from the RAM is always quicker than reading from the hard drive.

To install open the Terminal then copy/paste this command

sudo apt install preload

Alternative Web browsers

Epiphany is the default web browser on elementary OS. It integrates well with elementary’s design philosophy offering a very fast, simple, clean, interface. The deal breaker for me is that it does not have a means to assign a homepage and having used Firefox for years I have all my mobile devices synced to it. Here are some alternatives to Epiphany…


sudo apt install firefox

One useful Firefox add-on for elementary users is addon-bar (restored}. It allows you to move all the Firefox icons to the bottom status bar making the top-bar a somewhat acceptable integration into the elementary environment.


Functionally for the average person, there is no difference between Google Chrome and Chromium. Chromium is completely open-source and is easier to install however if you own a ChromeCast I recommend you go with Google Chrome

To install Chromium…

sudo apt install chromium

chromeGoogle Chrome

To install Google Chrome…

  • Download Download Google Chrome from here
  • Select the 64 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu) then…
  • Select Accept and Install.
  • On the screen that pops up make sure Open with… Software Install is checked then click OK


One advantage of using Opera over other browsers is it has built-in VPN

To install…

sudo apt install opera

Office and Productivity Software

Out of the box elementary OS does not have an office suite however it comes with a great integrated email client, calendar and calculator etc.

Libre Office Suite

writerLibreOffice is a powerful office suite with a clean interface and feature-rich tools comparable to MS Office.

To install LibreOffice…

sudo apt install libreoffice libreoffice-gtk libreoffice-l10n-en-gb libreoffice-style-breeze

To improve LibreOffice integration with elementary go to Tools – Options – Edit – and change the icon theme to “Breeze”

Gramps – Family History Data Manager

grampsGramps (an acronym for Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System) is a free software project and community. They strive to produce a genealogy program that is both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists. It is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists.

To install Gramps…

sudo apt install gramps

Atom Text Editor

atom1Atom is my text editor of choice when it comes to my web or software development projects. Using the default plugins, the following languages are supported: HTML, CSS, Less, Sass, GitHub Flavored Markdown, C/C++, C#, Go, Java, Objective-C, JavaScript, JSON, CoffeeScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, shell script, Clojure, Perl, Git, Make, Property List (Apple), TOML, XML, YAML, Mustache, Julia & SQL.

To install Atom the .deb file from the main website

Open the terminal then type

cd ~/Downloads


sudo dpkg -i --force-depends atom-amd64.deb

Only use the next command if you get a message about missing dependencies

sudo apt install -f

dropboxDropbox (Cloud Storage>

If you did not install the “git” package from the first instruction in the “Essentials” section then do so now by typing sudo apt install git into the terminal.Installing Dropbox using this command will integrate it with the elementary file manager and an applet will appear on the top panel

Copy and paste the following line into the terminal (Answer Yes “Y” when prompted)

git clone /tmp/elementary-dropbox bash /tmp/elementary-dropbox/

After installation you will be asked to sign into your Dropbox account then syncronization will begin.

To uninstall use this command

git clone /tmp/elementary-dropbox bash /tmp/elementary-dropbox/

Creativity, Graphics and Photography


Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor; it can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings. Inkscape’s primary vector graphics format is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), however many other formats can be imported and exported

To install Inkscape…

sudo apt install inkscape


Darktable is an open source photography workflow application and raw developer similar to Adobe Lightroom. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.

To install Darktable…

sudo apt install darktable

kdenliveKdenlive (Video Editor)

Kdenlive is a feature rich intuative video editor. To install kdenlive…

sudo apt install kdenlive

Checkout the Toolbox tab on their website for additional resources like more transistions and tutorials




Spotify music player opens up the entire universe of music to you and allows you to listen to your favorite bands and artists. It offers a subscription service with access to more than twenty million songs

To install open the terminal (copy and paste 1 line at a time)

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys BBEBDCB318AD50EC6865090613B00F1FD2C19886
echo deb stable non-free | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/spotify.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install spotify-client

picardMusicBrainz Picard

Picard is a cross-platform music tagger. It can correct all your mp3’s (and other formats) with the correct tags and album art within minutes

To install Picard…

sudo apt install picard

Youtube-dl (Downloader)

Youtube-dl is a command-line program to download videos or extract audio from as well as all these sites.

To install Youtube-dl…

sudo apt install youtube-dl

To use simply type youtube-dl + video URL on the command-line for video download

youtube-dl –extract-audio –audio-format mp3 for simple audio extraction

There is a host of other commands available if you need to be specific about video resolution or format etc

Gaming on elementary


Steam delivers a range of games straight to your desktop. Includes automatic updates a catalogue of games and prices. Before installing you must check your PC/Laptop meets the minimum hardware requirements.

To install Steam.

sudo apt install steam


Since its release in 2009, Minecraft has become one of the most popular games in the world. In simple terms it’s a virtual land where players can create their own worlds and experiences, using building blocks, resources discovered on the site and their own creativity.

To install open the terminal (copy and paste 1 line at a time)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:minecraft-installer-peeps/minecraft-installer
sudo apt update
sudo apt install minecraft-installer

Native Linux Games

There are some great free to play games in the elementary Software Repository like Supertuxkart, Supertux, Frozen Bubble, O.A.D, Astromenace, Battle for Wesnoth, all worth checking out.

Another source is in the Linux section of a digital PC game distribution service that sells classic PC games. All of their games are DRM-free, and they bundle in extra content like soundtracks, wallpapers, and other goodies with every game they sell. My personal favourite is the Trine Trilogy (available on Steam also)

System Tools and Utilities

Install Skype

These instructions assume you have a x86-64 bit machine. To check type uname -m in the terminal

To install open the terminal (copy and paste 1 line at a time)

wget -O /tmp/skype.deb
sudo dpkg -i /tmp/skype.deb
sudo apt -f install

Transmission Bit-torrent Client

Transmission is a Bit-torrent client thatallows users to quickly download files from multiple peers on the Internet and to upload their own files.

To install Transmission

sudo apt install transmission-gtk

Grsync (Backup Utility)

Grsync is used to synchronize folders, files and make backups

To install Grsync

sudo apt install grsync

Check out this easy to follow video tutorial by Joe Collins for Grsync


MenuLibre is a simple menu editor that can create new application shortcuts, as well as edit existing ones all with an easy-to-use interface. Easily rearrange menu items or change individual icons

To install MenuLibre

sudo apt install menulibre 

Gnome Disk Utility Tools

Utilities to manage SSDs and Hardrives (Partitioning, mounting etc)

To install

sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility gnome-system-monitor gparted


Bleachbit is used tp clean Your System and Free Disk Space

To install Bleachbit

sudo apt install bleachbit

Review Bleachbit Features here

Appearance and Tweaks

OK! I hear your say, elementary is so perfect why do you need to tweak it and change its appearance. My reasons are simple 1: Because little things bug me and 2: Because I can. This section is totally optional however it is what I did to my installation of elementary OS

Assign the Super key to open the Application Menu

Open the terminal and run this command

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings panel-main-menu "['Super_L']"

Disable the default single-click policy

My preference is to double click on a file to open it.

Open the terminal and run this command

gsettings set org.pantheon.files.preferences single-click false

To enable NumLock at login

Open the Pantheon Greeter configuration text file

Open the terminal and run this command

sudo scratch-text-editor /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/40-pantheon-greeter.conf

Add the following line to the end of the file

greeter-setup-script=/usr/bin/numlockx on

When you log out then in again NumLock should be turned on

Change Plank (dock) Theme and Icon Size

I like smaller icons and a transparent theme for Plank. To achieve…

Open the Applications menu in the search field and type

plank --preferences


  1. Change icon-size to 36(or replace with your preference)
  2. Type “transparent” in theme. (without quotes)

Get the full set of elementary icons

I love the elementary icon theme. Unfortunately it is not a complete set for the applications I use. This issue has been resolved thanks to the developers and you can install the full set right from source.

To install open the terminal (copy and paste 1 line at a time)

git clone
sudo mv elementary-full-icon-theme /usr/share/icons/
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme "elementary-full-icon-theme"


Install elementary Tweaks

I might be one of the very few who is not fan of elementary tweaks and believe it’s the last thing you should install as we got this far in the tutorials without it. I mentioned at the beginning I want to maintain as much of the “out of the box” elementary experience as possible including the theming. The design and behavior of elementary is its signature. I think if I was to grow tired of it then it would be time to move on to another distro. For those who want it… here it is. For any new users I suggest use sparingly and with caution.

To install open the terminal (copy and paste 1 line at a time)

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:philip.scott/elementary-tweaks
sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install elementary-tweaks


Time to clean out the closet

As a final step, it is not necessary to retain the downloaded software installer files and they are taking up disk space. Command below will remove these

sudo apt autoclean && sudo apt clean


Enjoy elementary OS

Back to Top

1 Preparation and Essentials
2 Alternative Web Browsers
3 Office and Productivity
4 Graphics and Photography
5 Multimedia
6 Gaming on elementary
7 System Tools and Utilities
8 Tweaks, Appearance, Behavior

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