File manager

5 Nautilus Extensions to Improve Your GNOME File Manager

GNOME is the default desktop environment for many major Linux distributions. It comes with a suite of useful apps, including a file manager. The file manager was called Nautilus until GNOME renamed it GNOME Files in September 2012.


Today, GNOME Files meets everyday users’ needs for browsing and opening files and folders. The file manager also offers users plenty of customization options.


GNOME files are amazingly customizable

Linux critics tend to exaggerate GNOME’s limits on user customization. In fact, there are many GNOME shell extensions that users can install to spice up their desktops. We’ve shown how the GNOME Tweaks app can customize Ubuntu, for those who want to add more personal touches to their systems.

You can also customize GNOME files to suit your needs. You can add folder bookmarks to the sidebar and mark important folders and files with stars. GNOME Files has its own preferences menu right out of the box. Right-clicking to open a context menu also gives users options like opening a folder in Terminal.

You can also download and use the Dconf editor to access more hidden settings for GNOME files. Once you download Dconf Editoropen the application, click on the Look for button and type “nautilus” to find more settings for GNOME files.

With Dconf Editor, you can change the default window size, compression format, notifications, etc. That said, incorrect use of Dconf Editor can break applications. Remember to use it with care.

Install Nautilus Extensions for GNOME Files

Still, you might want to get the most out of your file manager workflow. Nautilus extensions can add even more functions to GNOME files. Extensions are easy to install, easy to use, and will make file browsing more efficient for you.

Before you can add Nautilus extensions to your system, you need to install some dependencies through your terminal.

For Debian/Ubuntu users:

$ sudo apt install libnautilus-extension1a git python3.8 python3-requests python3-nautilus python3-gi

For Fedora users:

$ sudo dnf install nautilus-extensions git python3 python-requests nautilus-python python3-gobject

For Arch users:

$ sudo pacman -S libnautilus-extension git python python-requests python-nautilus python-gobject

Some of these extensions may already be installed on your system. Other extensions may require additional dependencies which are also easy to find and install.

You also need to create the necessary folders for your Nautilus extensions:

$ mkdir ~/.local/share/nautilus-python && mkdir ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions

From there, you can browse GitHub’s Nautilus extension page. Now let’s take a look at some of the best extensions to improve your GNOME Files workflow.

1.nautilus-copypath

nautilus-copypath is an extension that allows you to copy the path of a file or folder from the context menu. It’s simple, but very useful for browsing files faster.

If you also interact with Windows systems, the project also has an extension to copy Samba paths. The additional extension copies folder and file paths in Windows format.

To install, clone the GitHub repository through your terminal:

$ git clone https:

Navigate to the repository folder:

$ cd ./nautilus-copypath

Copy the main extension file to your Nautilus extensions folder:

$ cp nautilus-copypath.py ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions/

Copy the other .py file if you need the Samba-based extension:

$ cp nautilus-copywinpath.py ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions/

Restart GNOME Files/Nautilus for the changes to take effect:

$ nautilus -q

If that doesn’t work, kill the Nautilus process:

$ sudo killall nautilus

To use nautilus-copypath:

  • Right click on a file or folder to open a context menu.
  • Click on Copy Path if you right clicked on a file.
  • Click on Copy directory path if you right clicked on a folder.

To download: nautilus-copypath (Free)

2. nautilus-search-by-image

When reverse searching an image on Google Images, you need to open the Google page on your file browser to download the image you need. With nautilus-search-by-image, GNOME Files will reverse search your image for you.

To install, clone the GitHub repository through your terminal:

$ git clone https:

Navigate to the repository folder:

$ cd ./nautilus-search-by-image

Copy the main extension file to your Nautilus extensions folder:

$ cp search-by-image.py ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions/

Restart GNOME Files/Nautilus for the changes to take effect:

$ nautilus -q

If that doesn’t work, kill the Nautilus process:

$ sudo killall nautilus

To use the nautilus-search-by image:

  • Right click on a image to open a context menu.
  • Hover over Search by image.
  • Click on Search for an image on Google or Yandex.

To download: nautilus-search-by-image (Free)

3. OpenInBlackBox

GNOME users are free to use other Linux terminal emulators if they don’t prefer the pre-installed terminal. But changing your system’s default terminal program is a less straightforward process.

Right-clicking on a folder only gives you the option to open it in the GNOME Terminal. By default, Nautilus will not give you the option to open a folder on another terminal.

Fortunately, there are also extensions that allow you to open folders with other terminals in the context menu. For this article, we are going to show OpenInBlackBox, which is an extension for Black Box. This terminal looks beautiful and integrates well with the new Libadwaita theme.

To install, clone the GitHub repository through your terminal:

$ git clone https:

Navigate to the repository folder:

$ cd ./OpenInBlackBox

From there you can copy the .py extension file to the Nautilus extensions folder. You can also use the OpenInBlackBox installation script:

$ chmod +x ./install.sh && sudo ./install.sh

Restart GNOME Files/Nautilus for the changes to take effect:

$ nautilus -q

If that doesn’t work, kill the Nautilus process:

$ sudo killall nautilus

To use OpenInBlackBox:

  • Right click on a case to open a context menu.
  • Click on Open in BlackBox.

If you use another terminal like Alacritty or Kitty, you don’t have to feel left out. The GitHub topic page linked above has similar extensions designed for other emulators.

To download: OpenInBlackBox (Free)

4. nautilus-gnome-disks

If you are a Linux user, you probably know how to use a USB flash drive to install a Linux distribution on a computer. The process requires you to format a USB drive and then flash your Linux install image to the USB drive.

With these nautilus-gnome disks, you can flash any .iso or .img file to any USB drive via GNOME Files.

To install, clone the GitHub repository through your terminal:

$ git clone https:

Navigate to the repository folder:

$ cd ./nautilus-gnome-disks

From there you can copy the .py extension file to the Nautilus extensions folder. You can also use the nautilus-gnome-disk install script:

$ sudo install 

Restart GNOME Files/Nautilus for the changes to take effect:

$ nautilus -q

If that doesn’t work, kill the Nautilus process:

$ sudo killall nautilus

To use nautilus-gnome-disks:

  • Right click on a .iso or .img file to open a context menu.
  • Click on Flash to Storage Media.

From there, GNOME Files will open GNOME disks for you. You can then choose the storage drive of your choice to flash your image.

To download: nautilus-gnome-disks (Free)

5. additional nautilus columns

GNOME Files has grid and list views for browsing your folders. The default list view is limited to a few category columns. This extension adds additional columns such as image EXIF ​​data, audio tags, and .pdf metadata.

This extension requires an additional dependency called make. To install make:

For Debian/Ubuntu users:

$ sudo apt install make

For Fedora users:

$ sudo dnf install make

For Arch users:

$ sudo pacman -S make

To install the extension, clone the GitHub repository via your terminal:

$ git clone https:

Navigate to the repository folder:

$ cd ./nautilus-nec

Use make to install the extension:

$ sudo make install PREFIX=/usr

Restart GNOME Files/Nautilus for the changes to take effect:

$ nautilus -q

If that doesn’t work, kill the Nautilus process:

$ sudo killall nautilus

To use Nautilus extra columns:

  • In the top bar of GNOME files, click the list/grid view button to switch the list view to a folder.
  • Click it Display options next to the list/grid view button.
  • Click on Visible columns.
  • Toggle additional columns added by the extension.

You can also right-click the row of column categories in a list view folder to find and use the additional columns.

To download: additional columns nautilus (Free)

GNOME files are more powerful with extensions

These Nautilus extensions are just a few of many more you can add to your file manager. With extensions, you can make file browsing a faster and easier experience. The power of GNOME Files is just one of the many reasons why GNOME is an ideal desktop environment for Linux users.

If you want to squeeze even more power out of GNOME Files, there are plenty of other features and tweaks you can use to make your life easier.