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Recoll is a full text search tool for Linux that comes with a Qt GUI, an Ubuntu Unity Lens and it can also be used via command line. The application can find keywords inside documents as well as file names.

This featureful desktop search tool can index a huge number of file types. Besides text, html, maildir and mailbox (Thunderbird, Evolution), Gaim and Purple log files, Scribus files, man pages and Dia diagrams which it supports natively, Recoll can also index by using external helpers: Abiword, Microsoft Offic XML, LibreOffice, SVG and Gnumeric files, Okular annotation files, PDFs, MSWord, PowerPoint and Excel files, CHM, EPUB, archives like tar, zip and rar, ics, postscript, RTF, TeX, dvi, djvu, audio and image file tags and more. For more info, see the Recoll features page.

Recoll search tool
Recoll 1.19 advanced search filters and user interface preferences

Recoll supports wildcards (*, ?, []) as well as advanced searches such as:
  • "OR", "AND" operators
  • search for autor, e.g.: author:"george orwell"
  • search by size, date, mime or format
  • search inside a folder, e.g.: dir:/home/andrei/Dropbox
  • more

To use these advanced searches in the Recoll UI, select "Query language" next to the search term. For the Unity Lens, simply type the query in the lens search field. You can use the Advanced Search dialog (Tools > Advanced Search) to use such filters without having to manually enter them in the search field.

For more info, see the Recoll user manual (chapter "3.5. The query language").

Recoll 1.19

Recoll 1.19 has been released a few days ago (and now updated to 1.19.2 due to some bugs found in the initial 1.19.0 release), with many new features and improvements, such as:
  • indexing can now use multiple threads which should bring a major performance boost for multiprocessor machines with big indexes;
  • it's now possible to use "OR" with "dir:" and wildcards have been enabled
  • the advanced search panel now has a history feature. Use the up/down arrows to walk the search history list;
  • new results popup menu to display sub-documents for a given document, useful to display email attachments;
  • new GUI configuration options to enable "search as you type" and to disable Qt auto-completition in the simple search string which was confusing at times;
  • better video files support;
  • new web browser interface that uses the Bottle Python Web framework for the server side and the Recoll Python module and it can be self-contained so you don't have to run apache or another web server to use it. Please note that for me, the new web interface didn't work in Ubuntu 13.04 (bug reported);
  • new filter to index and retrieve Lotues Notes messages;
  • the first indexing ran after a new Recoll installation will now firstly index data that is more likely to be searched, so you can start searching before the indexing is completed;
  • implemented cache for last file uncompressed. This will much improve usage, e.g. for people fetching successive messages from a compressed mail folder;
  • there is a new recursive explicit reindex option available for the command line indexer;
  • improved handling of filters during indexing resulting in less subprocesses;
  • extended file attributes are now indexed by default. As a side effect, Recoll now uses st_ctime, not st_mtime to detect file changes;
  • more!

Install Recoll in Ubuntu

Ubuntu users can install the latest Recoll by using its official PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:recoll-backports/recoll-1.15-on
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install recoll

Recoll Unity Lens

To also install the Recoll Unity Lens, use the following command:
sudo apt-get install recoll-lens

After installing Recoll Lens, log out and log back in or restart Unity by pressing ALT + F2 and entering "unity".

The Recoll Lens doesn't support Dash Previews yet and in Ubuntu 13.04 on which I've tested the latest version on, the icons that show up in the lens have an ugly black background - hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Next, you need to start the Recoll GUI - the first time you run it, it will automatically start indexing the files in your home folder. If you want to configure the partitions / folders Recoll should index, from the Recoll menu select Preferences > Indexing configuration. Also check out the Indexing schedule in the same Preferences menu for configuring how often Recoll should index the new or changed files.

For other Linux distributions, see the Recoll downloads page.