Atom is a free and open-source text editor that is modern, approachable, and hackable to the core. With so many other text editors available, why should we go for Atom? Editors like Sublime and TextMate offer convenience but only limited extensibility. On the other end of the spectrum, Emacs and Vim offer extreme flexibility, but they aren’t very approachable and can only be customized with special-purpose scripting languages. However, the Atom developers have an aim for a zero-compromise combination of hackability and usability: an editor that will be welcoming to an elementary school student on their first day learning to code, but also a tool they won’t outgrow as they develop into seasoned hackers.

In this article, we will explain how you can install the latest stable and beta versions of the Atom Editor on your Ubuntu.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Install Atom through the Ubuntu UI

The latest version of the Atom Editor at the time of writing this article was 1.39.1 and luckily available through the Snap Store. Here, we will explain how you can install it through the Ubuntu Software Manager.


For a person who does not want to open the Command Line much, installing software present in the Ubuntu repository through the UI is very simple. On your Ubuntu desktop Activities toolbar, click the Ubuntu Software icon.

Open Ubuntu Software Center

In the following view, click on the search icon and enter “Atom Editor” in the search bar. The search results will display Atom as follows:

Select Atom Editor in Software list

The first package listed in the search result is the one maintained by the Snap Store. From the Software Manager, click on the Atom entry to open the following view:

Atom Editor software package

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. The following authentication dialog will display for you to provide your authentication details as only an authorized user can install software on Ubuntu.

Authenticate as admin

Enter your password and click the Authenticate button. After that, the installation process will begin, displaying a progress bar as follows.Advertisement

Installing Atom Editor

Atom will then be installed to your system and you will get the following message after a successful installation:

Atom Editor installed successfully

Through the above dialog, you can choose to directly launch the Atom editor and even Remove it immediately for whatever reason.

Note: The same version of the software can be installed through the command line using the following command:

$ sudo snap install atom

Launch Atom

You can access Atom from the Ubuntu application launcher bar as follows, or directly access it from the applications listing:

Atom Editor Icon

Alternatively, you can use the following command in your Terminal to launch Atom through the command line:

$ atom

This is how the Atom Editor version 1.39.1 looks like:

Atom Editor

Remove Atom

If you want to remove Atom that was installed using the above method, you can remove it from your system as follows:

Open the Ubuntu Software Manager and search for “Atom Editor”. You will see the “Installed” status in the search entry. Click this entry and then click Remove from the following view:

Remove Atom Editor

Then, the system will prompt you with an Authentication dialog. The software will be removed when you provide the password for the sudo user and click Authenticate on the dialog.

Install Atom Through the Command Line

The official ‘Package Cloud’ website maintains all the Atom releases to date for installation. Through this method of installation, you even have the liberty to install the Beta version of the Atom Editor on your Ubuntu. Please follow these steps to do so:

We will be using the Ubuntu command line, the Terminal, in order to make the installations. You can open the Terminal application either through the system Application Launcher Search or through the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.

Then use the following commands to configure the official package repositories:

$ wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

Add Atom Editor repository key

Run the following command to add the repository to your sources.list.d folder:

$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] any main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom.list'

Add repository to sources.list

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

This helps you in installing the latest available version of the software from the Internet.

Update package lists

You are now ready to install atom through the repository you just added.

For Installing the latest stable release, run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install atom

Or, for the latest beta version, run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install atom-beta

Install Atom Editor with apt

You can also install the following suggested package for optimal performance:

$ sudo apt-get install gir1.2-gnomekeyring-1.0

Now you are ready to launch and use the latest version of Atom on your Ubuntu.

So whether you are a newbie in the world of coding or a seasonal hacker, Atom is there with you on each step.

How to Install Atom Editor on Ubuntu