File manager

6 New Changes Coming to Nautilus File Manager in GNOME 43

We have a few months left before the release of GNOME 43, but GNOME application development activity is in full swing.

For example, extension support in the GNOME Web 43 alpha release.

Likewise, there are some exciting changes coming to GNOME (Nautilus) files, especially for the list view.

The list view has been reimplemented using the GtkColumnView widget by removing GtkTreeView to be able to add new functionality.

Some of the changes that influence code refinement include:

1. Drag and select files

Just as you normally would in grid view, you can finally select multiple items by simply dragging your mouse and selecting the ones you want in list view.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is also a bit of spacing between each row. The animation for the selection isn’t the smoothest yet, but it’s a work in progress.

I tried saving GIF with peek (Fedora with Wayland) but for some reason it was not responding, probably conflicts with the alpha version.

2. Highlight row on mouseover

It was incredibly unintuitive not to have a row highlighted when you hover your mouse over it.

Now it is. Simply hover your cursor over any of the list view items and it should be highlighted, as shown in the image above.

3. Columns don’t disappear when you search for a file

Before vs After (swipe to compare)

When looking for a file with the current Nautilus file manager, the columns are not handled in the best possible way. You lose some details such as file size.

With the new change, you can still see the file size, date modified, and the ability to start a file.

Certainly towards a better user experience with this change.

4. Better compact view

When you reduce the window size with the file manager, it doesn’t handle it well. You lose the file extension details and the columns do not respond to editing.

old vs new

With version 43.alpha for GNOME files, even if you reduce the window size for a compact view, you can still see the columns and file extension as shown above.

5. New document context menu

As part of a GSoC (Google Summer of Code) 2022 submission, a developer is focusing on improving the discoverability of the new document feature.

When you add some files to the Templates directory, you may find the “New Document” in the context menu when you right click.

With the next update, this option will be available out of the box. So it’s more accessible.

Additionally, the developers are looking for a way to improve the process of adding templates. You can explore more of their work in the blog post.

6. Animation when you mark a file

When you click on the star icon on the right side of the list item, you can find it moving to let you know that you have interacted with the option.


Of course, everything I mention is in its development phase (alpha versions). While we wait for the betas, we should have some clarification on more features coming to File Manager and how things improve from there.

What are you looking forward to in GNOME 43? Let us know in the comments below.