Ubuntu Unity has had some bad publicity. Partially for re-inventing the desktop metaphor as well as for blowing off the Wayland X Server developers. But setting change and politics aside, once you start using Unity, you quickly realize just how efficient it is…and you won’t want to go back to the traditional interface. Don’t believe me? Watch this Two Minute Drill.

What I am doing is a very simple task — opening up LibreOffice Writer, writing a bit of text, formatting that text, saving the file, and closing LibreOffice. Simple actions that most can do in their sleep. Most users, however, have to move back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard to handle these actions.

Thanks to the Unity Dash and the Head-Up Display, you no longer have to move back and forth between the keyboard and mouse. What are the Dash and the Head Up Display? Let me show you.

Mastering the Unity Dash

The Dash can be thought of as the control center for user interface. Press the Super key (also know as the Windows key) to open this feature. From here you get quick access to files and folders, applications, multi-media, and even social networking conversations. The Dash includes a very powerful search tool called Scopes. These scopes will search over one hundred locations — from your local hard drive, to Amazon.com, to Wikipedia, and large number of other locations. That’s a lot of power.

Replacing menus with a HUD

The Head-Up Display (HUD) brings a new level of efficiency to your applications. Think of the HUD as an interface to application menus. So instead of having to click Format > Alignment > Centered, you just press the Alt key on your keyboard, type “center”, and press the Enter key when Centered Format Alignment appears. Nearly every application in Ubuntu Unity enjoys this feature.

Although it might take you a little time to acclimate yourself to these major interface chances, once you have, you’ll never look back. Ubuntu Unity is that powerful and efficient.