Chapter 7. Nautilus File Manager

Customizing the File Manager

You can customize the file manager to suit your requirements and preferences. This section describes how to customize the file manager.

Setting Your Preferences

Use the File Management Preferences dialog to set preferences for the file manager. To display the File Management Preferences dialog, choose Edit->Preferences.

You can set preferences in the following categories:

  • The default settings for views.

  • The behavior of files and folders, executable text files, and Trash.

  • The information that is displayed in icon captions.

  • Preview options to improve the performance of the file manager.

To Set Views Preferences

You can specify a default view, and select sort options and display options. You can also specify default settings for icon views and list views. To specify your default view settings, choose Edit->Preferences. Click on the Views tab to display the Views tabbed section.

Table 7.4, “Views Preferences” lists the views preferences that you can modify.

Table 7.4. Views Preferences

Dialog Element

Description

View new folders using

Select the default view for folders. When you open a folder, the folder is displayed in the view that you select.

Arrange items

Select the characteristic by which you want to sort the items in folders that are displayed in this view.

Sort folders before files

Select this option to list folders before files when you sort a folder.

Show hidden and backup files

Select this option to display hidden files and backup files in the view pane. The first character in a hidden filename is a period (.). The last character in a backup filename is a tilde (~).

You can hide files from the view pane by adding .hidden extension to the filename.

Default zoom level

Icon view and list view. Select the default zoom level for folders that are displayed in this view. The zoom level specifies the size of items in a view.

Use compact layout

Select this option to arrange the items in icon view so that the items in the folder are closer to each other.

Text beside icons

Select this option to place the icon captions for items beside the icon rather than under the icon.

Show only folders

Select this option to display only folders in the Tree in the side pane.

To Set Behavior Preferences

To set your preferences for files and folders, choose Edit->Preferences. Click on the Behavior tab to display the Behavior tabbed section.

Table 7.5, “File and Folder Behavior Preferences” lists the preferences that you can modify for files and folders.

Table 7.5. File and Folder Behavior Preferences

Option

Description

Single click to activate items

Select this option to perform the default action for an item when you click on the item. When this option is selected, and you point to an item, the title of the item is underlined.

Double click to activate items

Select this option to perform the default action for an item when you double-click on the item.

Run executable files when they are clicked

Select this option to run an executable file when you choose the executable file. An executable file is a text file that can execute, that is, a shell script.

View executable files when they are clicked

Select this option to display the contents of an executable file when you choose the executable file.

Ask each time

Select this option to display a dialog when you choose an executable file. The dialog asks whether you want to execute the file or display the file.

Ask before emptying the Trash or deleting files

Select this option to display a confirmation message before Trash is emptied, or files are deleted.

Include a Delete command that bypasses Trash

Select this option to add a Delete menu item to the following menus:

  • The Edit menu.

  • The popup menu that is displayed when you right-click on a file, folder, or desktop object.

When you select an item then choose the Delete menu item, the item is deleted from your file system immediately.

To Set Icon Captions Preferences

An icon caption displays the name of a file or folder in an icon view. The icon caption also includes three additional items of information on the file or folder. The additional information is displayed after the file name. Normally only one item of information is visible, but when you zoom in on an icon, more of the information is displayed. You can modify what additional information is displayed in icon captions.

To set your preferences for icon captions, choose Edit->Preferences. Click on the Icon Caption tab to display the Icon Caption tabbed section.

Select the items of information that you want to display in the icon caption from the three drop-down lists. Select the first item from the first drop-down list, select the second item from the second drop-down list, and so on. The following table describes the items of information that you can select:

Information

Description

Size

Choose this option to display the size of the item.

Type

Choose this option to display the description of the MIME type of the item from the File Types and Programs preference tool.

Date modified

Choose this option to display the last modification date of the item.

Date accessed

Choose this option to display the date that the item was last accessed.

Owner

Choose this option to display the owner of the item.

Group

Choose this option to display the group to which the item belongs.

Permissions

Choose this option to display the permissions of the item as three sets of three characters, for example -rwxrw-r--.

Octal permissions

Choose this option to display the permissions of the item in octal notation, for example 764.

MIME type

Choose this option to display the MIME type of the item.

None

Choose this option to display no information for the item.

To Set List Columns Preferences

You can specify what information is displayed in list view in file manager windows. You can specify which columns are displayed in list view, and the order in which the columns are displayed.

To set your preferences for list columns, choose Edit->Preferences. Click on the List Columns tab to display the List Columns tabbed section.

To specify a column to display in list view, select the option that corresponds to the column, then click on the Show button. To remove a column from the list view, select the option that corresponds to the column, then click on the Hide button.

Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to specify the position of columns in list view.

To use the default columns and column positions, click on the Use Default button.

The following table describes the columns that you can display:

Information

Description

Name

Choose this option to display the name of the item.

Size

Choose this option to display the size of the item.

Type

Choose this option to display the description of the MIME type of the item from the File Types and Programs preference tool.

Date Modified

Choose this option to display the last modification date of the item.

Date Accessed

Choose this option to display the date that the item was last accessed.

Group

Choose this option to display the group to which the item belongs.

MIME type

Choose this option to display the MIME type of the item.

Octal Permissions

Choose this option to display the permissions of the item in octal notation, for example 764.

Owner

Choose this option to display the owner of the item.

Permissions

Choose this option to display the permissions of the item as three sets of three characters, for example -rwxrw-r--.

To Set Preview Preferences

The file manager include some file preview features. The preview features can affect the speed with which the file manager responds to your requests. You can modify the behavior of some of these features to improve the speed of the file manager. For each preview preference, you can select one of the options described in the following table:

Option

Description

Always

Performs the action for both local files, and files on other file systems.

Local Files Only

Performs the action for local files only.

Never

Never performs the action.

To set your preview preferences, choose Edit->Preferences. Click on the Preview tab dialog to display the Preview tabbed section.

Table 7.6, “Preview Preferences” lists the preview preferences that you can modify.

Table 7.6. Preview Preferences

Dialog Element

Description

Show text in icons

Select an option to specify when to preview the content of text files in the icon that represents the file.

Show thumbnails

Select an option to specify when to show thumbnails of image files. The file manager stores the thumbnail files for each folder in a .thumbnails directory that is one level below the folder.

Only for files smaller than

Specify the maximum file size for files for which the file manager creates a thumbnail.

Preview sound files

Select an option to specify when to preview sound files.

Count number of items

Select an option to specify when to show the number of items in folders. If you have set your view to icon view, you might need to increase your default zoom level in the Views tabbed section to see the number of items in each folder.

Changing Backgrounds

The file manager includes backgrounds that you can use to change the look-and-feel of the following screen components:

  • Desktop

  • Side pane and view pane of file browser windows

  • File object windows

  • Panels

To change the background of a screen component perform the following steps:

  1. Choose Edit->Backgrounds and Emblems. The Backgrounds and Emblems dialog is displayed.

  2. To display a list of patterns that you can use on the background, click on the Patterns button. To display a list of the colors that you can use on the background, click on the Colors button.

  3. To change the background to a pattern, drag the pattern to the screen component. To change the background to a color, drag the color to the screen component.

  4. Click Close to close the dialog.

To reset the background of the view pane or side pane to the default background, right-click on the background of the pane, then choose Use Default Background.

To Add a Pattern

To add a pattern to the patterns that you can use on your screen components, choose Edit->Backgrounds and Emblems. Click on the Patterns button, then click on the Add a New Pattern button. A dialog is displayed. Use the dialog to find the new pattern. Click OK to add the new pattern to the Backgrounds and Emblems dialog.

To Add a Color

To add a color to the colors that you can use on your screen components, choose Edit->Backgrounds and Emblems. Click on the Colors button, then click on the Add a New Color button. A color selector dialog is displayed. Use the color wheel or the sliders to choose the color. Click OK to add the new color to the Backgrounds and Emblems dialog.