Python-based extendable tool

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Pext logo

Pext Logo by White Paper Fox under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0, graciously donated by vaeringjar.

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Pext stands for Python-based extendable tool. It is built using Python 3 and Qt5 QML and has its behaviour decided by modules. Pext provides a simple window with a search bar, allowing modules to define what data is shown and how it is manipulated.

For example, say you want to use Pext as a password manager. You load in the pass module, and it will show you a list of your passwords which you can filter with the search bar. When you select a password in the list, it will copy the password to your clipboard and Pext will hide itself, waiting for you to ask for it again.

Depending on the module you choose, what entries are shown and what happens when you select an entry changes. So choose the module appropriate for what you want to do, and Pext makes it easy.

Several modules are available for effortless install right within Pext.


How it works

Pext is designed to quickly pop up and get out of your way as soon as you're done with something. It is recommended to bind Pext to some global hotkey, or possibly run multiple instances of it with different profiles under multiple hotkeys. Example Pext workflows look as follows:

Pext workflow graph

Simply put:

  • Open (Pext)
  • Search (for something)
  • Select (with Enter)
  • Hide (automatically)




sudo pacman -S git python-pip libnotify python-pyqt5 qt5-quickcontrols

Debian (Stable (9) and later)

sudo apt-get install git libnotify-bin python3-pip python3-pyqt5.qtquick qml-module-qtquick-controls

You may also need to install libssl1.0-dev due to what seems like a Debian packaging issue. See for more info.


sudo dnf install git libnotify python3-pip python3-qt5 qt5-qtquickcontrols

Nix (any system, not just NixOS)

nix-shell -p git libnotify python3Packages.pip python3Packages.pyqt5 qt5.qtquickcontrols


sudo zypper install git libnotify-tools python3-pip python3-qt5


Before running the Install Certificates command, which is only necessary to be able to retrieve the online module list, please read

brew install python3 qt5 git libnotify
pip3 install pyqt5 urllib3 certifi
/Applications/Python\ 3.6/Install\ Certificates.command

After this, a .app file can be generated using the following command:

python3 py2app -A --emulate-shell-environment

The .app file appears in the dist directory and can be dragged to "My Applications". Please note that actual py2app buils do not work yet. This is an aliased build, so it will break if you delete your git clone.

Installation (optional)

Pext does not need to be installed to run. However, if you prefer to install it, you can do so:

# pip3 install . --upgrade --no-deps

This also installs pext_dev, to aid module development.


Simply start Pext with Python 3. If you have installed Pext using the above command, simply start pext. Otherwise, go to the project's root directory and run python3 pext.

To actually use Pext, you will first have to install one or more modules. Check out the Pext organisation on GitHub or NotABug or use Module -> Install module -> From online module list in the application for a list of modules.

For command line options, use --help.



Installing module dependencies fails

Your distribution may ship with an outdated version of pip. Run pip install --upgrade pip (possibly as root) in a terminal.

Pext's window is completely white

The proprietary NVIDIA driver is known to cause this issue on at least Ubuntu. You can work around this by running sudo apt-get install python3-opengl.

Pext user report:
Ubuntu bug:


I cannot brew/pip install anymore

The Homebrew team completely broke pip's --target flag, which Pext depends on. To work around this, Pext automatically creates a ~/.pydistutils.cfg file which resets the broken Homebrew pip defaults and deletes this file after its done installing module dependencies.

As a side effect, this means that using brew install or pip install while Pext is installing module dependencies may fail. If you cannot use brew install or pip install at all anymore after Pext crashed, please delete ~/.pydistutils.cfg if it exists.

The Homebrew team refuses to fix this issue:


Entry management

  • Escape: Go one level up
  • Ctrl+J / Down arrow: Go one entry down
  • Ctrl+H / Up arrow: Go one entry up
  • Ctrl+F / Page down: Go one page down
  • Ctrl+B / Page up: Go one page up
  • Tab: Tab-complete the current input
  • Enter: Select entry or run command

Tab management

  • Ctrl+T: Open new tab
  • Ctrl+W: Close current tab
  • Ctrl+Tab: Switch to next tab
  • Ctrl+Shift+Tab: Switch to previous tab
  • Alt+<number>: Switch to tab <number>
  • F5: Reload tab, including code changes to the module

Session management

  • Ctrl+Q: Quit and save the currently loaded modules and settings to the profile
  • Ctrl+Shift+Q: Quit without saving to the profile