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Debian: install Deb file [Guide]

If you’ve used Debian Linux for any amount of time, you’ll have heard of “Deb” files. What are they? Deb files are packages for Debian Linux that contain software. They’re similar to EXEs on Windows.

Deb files are essential to Debian Linux if you want to install software, especially from developers who do not add their programs to official Debian repos. In this guide, we’ll go over the many ways to install Deb files on Debian.

Before we begin

This guide focuses on the various ways users can install Deb files (AKA Debian packages) on Debian Linux. However, the instructions we’ll cover aren’t exclusive to Debian. Ubuntu Linux, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, and many others also use Deb files as well.

So, if you’re using Ubuntu or Linux Mint, or other operating systems based on Debian or Ubuntu, feel free to follow along below to learn how to install Deb files!

Install deb file – Dpkg

Dpkg is the primary way Debian Linux users can install DEB (Debian packages) on the Debian operating system. It is a command-line utility that is easy to use once you understand how the program works.

To install a DEB package on your Debian Linux PC using the dpkg command, start by opening up a terminal window on the Debian Linux desktop. A terminal can be launched on most Debian desktops by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. 

With the terminal window open, use your web browser to download the Deb package you wish to install to your computer. When the download is complete, use the CD command to move into the “Downloads” folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside the “Downloads” folder, execute the ls command. The ls command will allow you to view the “Downloads” folder’s contents and show what’s inside — including your downloaded DEB file.


Using the prompt that ls shows in the terminal, take note of the DEB package filename. Then use the dpkg command below, along with the DEB filename, to install the package.

sudo dpkg -i MY_DEB_PACKAGE.deb

Alternatively, you can install multiple packages at the same time by executing the following command.

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

After the installation of a DEB package using the dpkg command, the installation is not complete. Next, you must execute the sudo apt install -f command below to correct any dependency issues.

sudo apt install -f

Following the installation of dependencies via the sudo apt install -f command, your DEB file will be installed!

Install deb file – Apt

If you’re not a fan of using the Dpkg command, another way to install Deb files in the terminal on Debian Linux is with the Apt package manager. Installing a Deb with Apt on Debian is much better than Dpkg, as it can automatically collect all dependencies. However, some Debian users prefer Dpkg because of muscle memory.

To install a Deb file on Debian using the Apt package manager, start using the CD command and move into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside the “Downloads” directory, use your Linux web browser and download any Deb files to your computer and save them to “Downloads.” Then, make use of the ls command to view the contents of “Downloads.”


Look through the prompt that the ls command prints on the screen and find the Deb file’s filename. Then, enter the command below to install the Deb file to your computer.

sudo apt install ./MY_DEB_FILE.deb

Need to install multiple Deb files on your computer at the same time? You can do that with the Apt package manager by making use of the command below.

sudo apt install ./*.deb

Install deb file – Gdebi

We’ve covered installing DEB packages via the terminal. However, if you’re a Debian Linux user and don’t like using the terminal all that often, you’ll be happy to know it is possible to install DEB packages via a GUI.

To start, you will need to install the Gdebi app using the terminal. Sadly, it’s one of the only ways to install apps on Debian. If you have Gnome Software, Synaptic Package Manager, or KDE Discover, try to install it that way instead.

sudo apt install gdebi* 

After installing the Gdebi app, download a DEB package to your computer using your web browser of choice. Once the download is complete, open up the Linux file manager and select the “Downloads” folder where the DEB package has been saved.

Right-click on the DEB package file using the mouse and find the “Open With Other Application” option. Select the “GDebi Package Installer” option to open up the DEB with Gdebi.

In the GDebi app, find the “Install Package” button and click on it with the mouse. Then, enter your password into the text box. Once you’ve entered your password, the package will be installed. 

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