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Synaptic is a GTK based graphical interface to the Debian APT package management system. It provides the same functionality as the aptitude or apt-get utilities and more. Synaptic enables you to install, upgrade and remove software packages in a user friendly way. This may be the package management tool of choice for those who prefer a graphical user interface over using a command line.


Synaptic is installed by default in Debian if you choose the desktop task. Else, install the synaptic package.

Running Synaptic

Run synaptic from your Applications menu:

 Administration-> Synaptic Package Manager 

You will be asked for an administrator password.

Installing, removing packages

Synaptic shows you all the packages available to you - and marks each one as installed or not installed. A green check box means the package is already installed. A blank checkbox means the package is not installed.

To find a package, use the search box or Ctrl+F to search packages by name, description, or other keywords; or just browse the package list by category

You can also decide to select Mark Recommended/Suggested for Installation to install recommended/suggested packages which may provide additional functionality for to the main package.

Managing repositories

Packages in Debian are kept in Apt repositories. These repositories are listed in your sources.list file.

This file can also be edited from synaptic. In the menu, click  Settings -> Repositories 

From there you can manage Apt repositories type, URL, distribution and components, which affect what packages are available to you, and the system upgrade policy.

Upgrading all packages

Updated packages (minor upgrades or security upgrades) are regularly added to Debian repositories.

If no automatic upgrade mechanism is configured, you can use synaptic to keep your packages up to date:

Upgrading your distribution

See How to release upgrade your distribution to upgrade from one stable release to the next.

CategoryPackageManagement | CategorySoftware