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Files is the default file manager for GNOME. Files attempts to provide a streamlined method to manage both files and applications.

Note: Files was known as Nautilus prior to version 3.6. The application was given new descriptive names, one for each supported language. The name Nautilus is still used in numerous places such as the executable name, some package names, some desktop entries, and some GSettings schemas.


Install the nautilus package. This package is part of the gnome group. See also File manager functionality#Additional features.

Note: Files does not depend on the gnome-shell package, only requiring gnome-desktop.


Some programs can add extra functionality to Files. Here are a few packages in the official repositories that do just that.

  • Eiciel — Include extension which add graphical ACL editor into the file properties window. || eicielAUR
  • Folder Color — Change the color of each icon separately then you are easily notice the right folder! || folder-color-nautilus-bzrAUR
Tip: This extension works only with these icon-themes which contain additional colored icons, eg:
numix-icon-theme-gitAUR, vibrancy-colorsAUR, vivacious-colors-icon-themeAUR, humanity-icon-themeAUR, mint-x-iconsAUR
  • File Manager Actions — Configures programs to be launched when files are selected in Files || filemanager-actions
  • Nautilus Admin — Add to menu: "Open as administrator" or "Edit as administrator" || nautilus-adminAUR
  • Nautilus Terminal — Terminal embedded in Files. It is always open in the current folder, and follows the navigation. || nautilus-terminal
  • Open in Terminal — A Files plugin for opening terminals in arbitrary local paths || nautilus-open-terminal
Tip: This plugin is not needed if you have gnome-terminal installed: since version 3.10.0-2 it provides the extension /usr/lib/nautilus/extensions-3.0/ which creates an entry in Files' context menu for opening the selected directory in a new terminal - see this commit.
  • Send to Menu — Files context menu for sending files. || nautilus-sendto
  • Seahorse Nautilus — PGP encryption and signing for Files || seahorse-nautilus
  • File Roller — An application for browsing archives || file-roller


Files is simple to configure graphically, but not all options are available in the preferences menu. More options are available with dconf-editor under org.gnome.nautilus.

Desktop Icons

Files, by default, no longer manages the desktop window in GNOME Shell. However, Files does have the ability to provide desktop icons if they are desired. Files achieves this by drawing a transparent window (containing the icons) which sits on top of the desktop window.

To enable desktop icons, in gnome-tweak-tool, choose: Desktop > Icons on Desktop > ON. You may have to restart Files by running killall nautilus; nautilus or if you are running GNOME, press ALT+F2, type r, and press Enter (this restarts GNOME Shell).

Alternatively, run the following command which will achieve the same effect:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true
Note: Sessions such as GNOME Classic call the nautilus-classic desktop entry which will ensure that desktop icons are always enabled.

Change default item view

You can change the default view for the items by setting the default-folder-viewer variable, e.g. for the list view:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-folder-viewer 'list-view'

Remove folders from the places sidebar

The displayed folders are specified in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs and can be altered with any editor. An execution of xdg-user-dirs-update will change them again, thus it may be advisable to set the file permissions to read-only.

Always show text-entry location

The standard Files toolbar shows a button bar interface for path navigation. To enter path locations using the keyboard, you must expose the location text-entry field. This is done by pressing Ctrl+l

To make the location text-entry field always present, use gsettings as shown below:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences always-use-location-entry true
Note: After changing this setting, you will not be able to expose the button bar. Only when the setting is false can both forms of location navigation be employed.

Tips and tricks


See File manager functionality#Thumbnail previews.

Create an empty document in Files 3.6 and above

GNOME 3.6 brought changes to Files. The option to create an empty document has been removed from the right-click menu in Files. To get this option back one has to create a ~/Templates/ folder in your home folder and place an empty file inside the folder through your favorite Terminal by touch ~/Templates/new or by using any other file manager. Then just restart Files.

On non-English installations, the templates directory might have another name. One can find the actual directory with xdg-user-dir TEMPLATES.

Music files metadata in list view

Note: The script linked to below is slightly modified to fix an error. The original can be found here.

GNOME Files lacks the ability to display metadata for music files in list view mode. A Python script is available which adds list view columns for the artist, album, track title, bit rate and more.

To use the script you first need to install the following: python2-nautilus, mutagen, python2-pillow, kaa-metadataAUR and python2-exiv2.

Once the dependencies are installed, save the script to ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions (create the directory if it does not exist) and restart Files.

The new columns should now have been added. To enable them, navigate to Preferences -> List columns and tick the columns that you wish to use.


Files is no longer the default file manager

This can be caused by the file association for directories being reset. Installing anjuta tends to do this.

To solve this, open Files, right-click on a folder, and choose Open With Other Application > Files > Select. This will set the association for directories back to Files.

If this does not solve the issue, see File manager functionality#Directories are not opened in the file manager.

Thumbnailing not working for video files

There is an ongoing issue with totem (the video thumbnailer for Nautilus) on computers with Intel GPUs. It will crash if gstreamer-vaapi is installed. Until this issue is resolved, it is recommended to remove this package.

Freezes for a few seconds after every copy operation

In case you have kdeconnect installed in your system, the problem might be caused by its file sharing module. Deactivate file sharing, and it should stop happening.