Zeal - Documentation Browser

Zeal – simple offline documentation browser

Last Updated on August 11, 2021

Zeal is billed as a simple offline documentation browser. It offers easy access to a huge database of documentation, API manuals, and code snippets.

The main purpose of the software is to enable you to have reference documentation at your fingertips. Let’s see how it fares.


We tested Zeal on Ubuntu, but other good Linux distributions are available (this sounds like we’re writing for the BBC).

Zeal can be installed through the Ubuntu Software Store. But it’s just as easy to open a terminal window and install with the command:

$ sudo apt install zeal

Zeal is Qt-based cross-platform software. Besides support for a variety of Linux distributions, it runs under FreeBSD, OpenBSD, macOS, and Windows.

By default there are no docsets installed. But it’s easy to install and update them. Click Tools, Docsets. There’s a tab that lists the available docsets. There’s 200+ docsets to choose from, provided by Dash (an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager). And it’s also possible to generate your own docsets or download them from other places by adding a feed URL.

Zeal - available docsets

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Summary

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Richard F.
Richard F.
3 years ago

Just small note, that Zeal’s docsets can be used in GNU Emacs too, with (multi)package called helm-dash. The documentation can be then displayed in Emacs web browser (or any other). This is fine, because Emacs can simply and easy show the documentation of the statement, where the cursor is located.