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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, 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 Annotations — Annotate files and directories || nautilus-annotationsAUR
  • Nautilus Bluetooth — Add to menu: "Send via Bluetooth" || nautilus-bluetoothAUR
  • Nautilus Git — Nautilus/Nemo extension to add important information about the current git directory || nautilus-ext-gitAUR
  • Nautilus Hide — Add to menu: "Hide"/"Unhide" || nautilus-hideAUR
  • Nautilus Launch — Nautilus/Nemo extension to run executables and launchers via right-click menu || nautilus-launchAUR
  • Nautilus Terminal — Terminal embedded in Files. It is always open in the current folder, and follows the navigation. || nautilus-terminal
  • 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
  • Python bindings for the Nautilus Extension API — With these bindings, you can write extensions for the Nautilus in python. || python-nautilus

If you wish to write new plugins, nextgenAUR is a helper script that lets you set up easily new extension projects for Nautilus.


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.

Note: If you are using Files outside of the GNOME desktop environment, you have to make sure that /usr/lib/gsd-xsettings is running, otherwise the dconf settings are not applied in Files.

Desktop Icons

See GNOME#Icons on the desktop.

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'

Sort by type

To sort files in all folders by type:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-sort-order 'type'

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.

Note: On linux-hardened, thumbnails generation fails (all thumbnails go in ~/.cache/thumbnails/fail/). This is due to unprivileged user namespace being disabled by default on this kernel for security reasons. Nautilus uses bwrap (provided by bubblewrap) to sandbox thumbnailers. You may decide to replace bubblewrap with bubblewrap-suid.

See Security#Sandboxing applications for more information.

Sometimes video thumbnails are not shown. To solve it (as mentioned in No video thumbnails on nautilus), you must install ffmpegthumbnailer, gst-libav, gst-plugins-ugly, and remove the content of ~/.cache/thumbnails/fail/.

Create a new document from the right-click menu

To get this option 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.

The templates directory can be configure in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs


Music files metadata in list view

Tango-edit-cut.pngThis section is being considered for removal.Tango-edit-cut.png

Reason: Potentially outdated, a python2-nautilus has been removed from the AUR and uses python2, which is eol. (Discuss in Talk:GNOME/Files#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-exiv2AUR, python2-mutagenAUR, python2-nautilusAUR[broken link: package not found], python2-pillow[broken link: package not found] and kaa-metadataAUR.

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.

Hiding files

Like most other file managers GNOME Files hides files with names starting with a dot by default.

GNOME Files additionally hides files when their names are listed in a .hidden file in the same directory (one filename per line).

Open current directory in Tilix

If you are using tilix terminal you can easily add "Open in Tilix" option to the context menu of GNOME Files by installing its optional dependency python-nautilus.

Open current directory in Visual Studio Code

You can easily add "Open Code Here" to the context menu by using extension [1]

Add a Folder to Bookmarks

To add a folder to your Bookmarks, simply press CTRL+D when you have the folder opened in Nautilus. Note that the list of bookmarks is shared with other Gnome-based graphical file managers (e.g. Nemo), so a folder added or removed from one will affect the bookmarks seen in the other.

Custom Scripts

Scripts placed in ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts can be run from the right click context menu of a file.

The context menu can also be organized into subfolders, e.g. ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts/images ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts/music

Scripts have access to the following environment variables:


An example script: open-terminal-here

# !/usr/bin/env bash

An example script: remove-extension

#!/usr/bin/env bash
echo "$NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS" | while read filename; do
    mv -n "$filename" "${filename%.*}"
Note: Make sure the scripts are marked as executable. You may have to restart nautilus with nautilus -q for them to show up.


Keybinds to execute scripts can be assigned in the file ~/.config/nautilus/scripts-accels

; Example Keybinds
; Modifiers: <Control> <Alt> <Shift>
F4 open-terminal-here
<Alt>x remove-extension
Note: You cannot overwrite any pre-existing nautilus keybinds.


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.

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.

Cannot open my Google Drive

You may be missing one or more of the following packages: gnome-online-accounts gvfs-goa gvfs-google. Install them and you should be good to go.