Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6.0/6.1

Atom is a free and open-source text and source code editor that supports many cross-platforms such as macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows with support for plug-ins written in JavaScript and embedded Git Control, developed by GitHub.

The catchphrase that Atom calls itself is the “hackable text editor for the 21st century”. Atom, compared to competitors, is more user-friendly, with plenty of options for extensions to add syntax highlighting for languages and formats, add dynamic linting, and integrate debuggers, runtime environments, video and music player controls, and much more.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest version of Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6.


  • Recommended OS: Any elementary OS 6.xx distribution.
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
  • Internet Access

The tutorial will utilize the terminal for the installation found in Applications (Top Right Corner) > Search > Terminal.


Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

Update Operating System

Update your elementary OS system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@elementaryos~]$ sudo whoami

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on Adding a User to Sudoers on elementary OS.

Use the following command with the root password to log in to use the root account.


Install Dependecies

To complete the installation, you will need to install the following software packages by using the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl wget -y

If you are unsure, run the command; it will not harm you.

These are the most common software packages found on nearly all Linux distributions.

Import GPG Key & Repository

By default, Atom Text Editor is not available in the default elementary OS or Ubuntu repositories. To install Atom, you must add the official Atom repository and the GPG key to verify the packages.

On a good note, importing the source repository will mean you will always have the latest version of Atom.

First, import the GPG key with the following command:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Example output if successfully:


Next, import the source repository to your apt package manager sources list:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] any main"

Install Atom Text Editor

With the source repository sorted, you must refresh your apt package manager sources list to reflect the new addition before the Atom installation. To do this, run the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt update

Now you can begin to install the Atom Text Editor. Note you can install both versions together if you prefer.

Option 1. Install Atom Stable:

sudo apt install atom

Option 2. Install Atom Beta:

sudo apt install atom-beta

Example output:

Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

Type Y, then press ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.

To confirm the installation, you can use the verify version command as follows:

atom --version

Example output:

Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

Alternatively, to check the beta version use the following command.

atom-beta --version

Example output:

Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

As above, the beta version is on 1.59, and the stable is still on the 1.58 branch at the time of this tutorial.

How to Launch Atom Text Editor

With the installation complete, you can run Atom in a few different ways. First, while you are in your terminal, you can use the following command:


Alternatively, run the atom & command in the background to free up the terminal:

atom &

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop to open with the path: Applications > Search > Atom.


Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

The first time you open Atom Text Editor, you will see the following.

Install Atom Text Editor on elementary OS 6

Congratulations, you have installed Atom Text Editor.

How to Update Atom Text Editor Packages

To update Atom or Atom beta, run the APT update command in your terminal:

sudo apt update

If one is available, use the upgrade option:

sudo apt upgrade

Note this will update all packages (recommended), for example, to upgrade the Atom package itself.

sudo apt upgrade atom

How to Remove (Uninstall) Atom Text Editor

To remove the Atom software from your system, run the following command in your terminal.

Remove Atom Stable:

sudo apt autoremove atom --purge -y

Remove Atom Beta:

sudo autoremove atom-beta --purge -y

Then for complete removal, delete the repository and GPG key:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom.*
sudo rm /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/atom_*
sudo apt update

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to import the source repository for Atom and install it using the apt package manager on your elementary OS system. Overall, Atom is considered more straightforward to use a WYSIWYG editor that is fast as any competitor such as Sublime Text editor and is customizable with plugins.

For more information on Atom, visit the official documentation.


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