Can't type in Dash search box

Bug #877064 reported by Sam Freilich on 2011-10-18
This bug affects 13 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
unity (Arch Linux)
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sometimes the dash search box does not respond to typing. Other times it does respond, but only if you type very slowly. When this problem is happening, you can switch to a different window (text editor, etc.) and type normally. Hence it is not a problem with the keyboard or with X.

It seems like Dash might be making some tap/press distinction and only responding to key presses in the search box, which is terribly bad behavior. Users should be able to type quickly when using the search box.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
Donald Kihenja (dkihenja) wrote :

I am also experiencing this and it's not a duplicate of bug #856205. Unlike bug #856205, the problem here is not that the wrong command is run, it's that nothing at all or only a few letters show up when you type something.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Sam Freilich (l33tminion) wrote :

I agree. This is not a duplicate. And it's still a problem.

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

seems not to be an issue for me, I can type *really* fast in the dash without a problem.

Sam Freilich (l33tminion) wrote :

Well, clearly it's not an issue for all users (or even all users who upgraded from Natty) or it would have been found and fixed already.

(Also worth noting that my Natty install was also an upgrade and I didn't use Unity at that time, so this issue could have been lurking for me all along.)

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-10-25
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
JKL (jkl102001) wrote :

Sometimes I cannot type anything at all in the search box, making it useless. Holding a key down, like the shift key, seems to help. Also, holding down a letter key for a second or two eventually produces some output.

summary: - Can't type at speed in Dash search box
+ Can't type in Dash search box
JKL (jkl102001) on 2011-10-28
description: updated
Jonathan Lee (byungrolee) wrote :

I have same problem. After I installed foreign language and scim in 11.10, Search box doesn't respond my input.

Alex Stapleton (alexs-prol) wrote :

This often effects me. Once it starts doing it the only thing I've found to fix it is to paste something, delete that, and then start typing. Seems to work normally after that.

Xaoc (xhelixousinity) wrote :

bump, same here

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

bug 891210 could be related and a few of the commenters might also be facing bug 860805, like always not everyone in this bug report is affected by the same issue. Is that also a problem on a clean install? or a guest session?

Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
importance: Undecided → Low
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
JKL (jkl102001) wrote :

> bug 891210
> bug 860805

Neither of these issues seems related in my case. When I am experiencing this problem, the search area definitely has focus.

> guest session

Indeed, the problem goes a way in a guest session. I noticed that in a guest session IBus isn't running, or at the very least I don't see the keyboard icon in the menu bar next.

In my normal session, the problem also goes away if I quit out of IBus. It comes back if I start IBus again, whether I am using an input method or not.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed

I believe I have the same issue. The problem began just yesterday after I upgraded from 11.04 to 11.10. Logging in through a guest session doesn't resolve the problem. However, the issue does seem to go away if I quit my iBus language tool.

Basically my problem is similar to what people have described. Typing slowly doesn't really help in my case, but sometimes I do notice a significant lag time for the limited keys that I'm able to type. Generally, I never experienced issues with a slow response time in other versions of Ubuntu--things were always lightning fast.

To elaborate a little, in my case I'm only able to type about a fifth of the letters on the keyboard, and I'm unable to use the delete button. After fiddling around a little bit, I noticed that if I press "y" or "n" at the onset, I can type whatever I want and delete it as long as it's lower case. Otherwise, similarly to what someone else posted, I can use the shift button to type letters too, but it's not possible then to fully switch back to lower case.

Eric P (eric-maillist) wrote :

I have pretty much the same problem here. Either typing in the Unity search doesn't happen or it's *very* sluggish and still won't respond to all my key strokes.

I updated from 11.04 to 11.10. I also use International input (Anthy) for Japanese text entry.

Disabling Anthy totally clears up the problem w/Unity's search. I can type fast and no key strokes are lost.

Of course now I can't type Japanese.

Thanks for looking into it. Let me know if I can provide any more info or test any patches.
Eric P.

roy913 (roysh913) wrote :

+cannot type in dash after installing scim
+holding shift key or press Alt then type helps
+hold a key for a few seconds then it starts repeating
ubuntu 11.10 clean install

Vibhav Pant (vibhavp) wrote :

Same here too

harkonnen (calvinskim) wrote :

I can't type in dash search box, either with all of my computers, one desktop and two ThinkPad x60.
I have scim 1.4.9 installed.
I tried following cases with different results.
 - mouse click to 'dash home,' and type in search box; doesn't work 8 out of 10
 - <alt>+<f2> and type in search box; doesn't work maybe 9 out of 10
 - 'super key(Win key)' and type in search box; usually works, doesn't work 2 out of 10

When it's not working, what I have to do is press and hold a key for few seconds, then same letter continually typed, then use <backspace> to delete and type what I want. But even this doesn't work time to time.

With <super key> method, if it's not working, I press <super key> twice to make box disapper and reapper again, then it usually works.

I hope this will be fixed soon. Even my wife converted to Linux recently and my house became Microsoft-free finally.

Chen Huang (chinux) wrote :


This issue is affecting me as well. Initially I couldn't figure out what's going on until I did a recent search on it and come across this thread.

It looks like it's related to SCIM since i have that installed as well. And home a alternative key while typing in the dashhome search text field does help.

In my case, the dashhome search text field doesn't repsond to certain keys.

ZengZhou (zhouzeng) wrote :


The same thing happened to me:
+cannot type in dash after installing scim
+holding shift key or press Alt then type helps

please fix this

Bert Luyten (bert-luyten) wrote :

I have this issue as well, and like others I also have SCIM installed. Please fix.

JKL (jkl102001) wrote :

I just noticed that using iBus / Anthy to input Japanese into the dash search box doesn't work either. That is unfortunate, because if you convert your system language to Japanese, many of the common application names switch to Japanese.

Sam Brotherton (sbrother) wrote :

this affects me as well, and disappears when I kill scim. However, I need to type in Chinese. This is a pretty big deal and I'm using gnome 3 (which I hate hate hate) until i can resolve it somehow.

Zap Chang (zapchang) wrote :

My dash got the same problem. My workaround is to right click the search bar and choose "None". (Default is Sytem(XIM) in my situation). Then I can type.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

Many similar problems in Unity 4.0 and earlier were a result of ubuns problems, which have since been fixed. Also, IM support has been completely reworked.

I am closing this bug because it's dealing with older, unsupported versions of the software. If a similar problem occurs in newer supported versions of the Unity Dash, please report it as a new bug.

Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Ian (imyxhuang) wrote :

Seems to affect me too, until I restart.
On Ubuntu 15.10.

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