Trying Out Some Nautilus Extensions

Jarret B

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May 22, 2017
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Nautilus is the default File Manager used on the GNOME desktop in Ubuntu.

For those of you use Nautilus as your default File Manager, I am going to cover some extensions that you can add to make Nautilus function better for you.

NOTE: Nautilus is not just available on Ubuntu, but you can install it on other distros as well. The extensions may not be available or have a different name.

Administrator Privileges

If you want to open Nautilus to gain administrative (Root) privileges, you would open a terminal and type the command 'sudo nautilus'. A new Nautilus window would open up and you would have root privileges inside the window. You could enter folders and modify/delete files/folders that you could not access. The ability to manage your system through a Graphical User Interface (GUI) is much easier than through a command-line interface (CLI). The difference is that through Nautilus, you might be required to enter your password more than once; whereas in a terminal, it would be only once.

To gain administrative privileges, you need to install the Admin extension for Nautilus. To do so, use the command:

sudo apt install nautilus-admin -y

Once installed, you need to close all instances of Nautilus with the command 'sudo killall nautilus'.

NOTE: After installing any extension in this article, you need to always close all instances of Nautilus and reopen Nautilus after the extension will work.

After the instances are closed, just double-click on your folder icon to open Nautilus. Right-click on a folder and you should see an option in your drop-down list that says 'Open as Administrator', as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.JPG


If you right-click on a file, you'll see an option to 'Edit as Administrator', as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.JPG


The ability to change your privileges from the GUI is easier than from the CLI.


Some people use Dropbox as an Internet storage site to access the data from multiple computers. You can also share files with others.

To integrate Dropbox into Nautilus, we need to run the following command:

sudo apt install nautilus-dropbox

Once you install the package, you can start the Dropbox setup by starting Dropbox from the Start menu (lower left corner if your desktop menu is in the default location).

Once the window opens, log into Dropbox if you have an account, or create a new account. After you log in, you may get a prompt to 'Restart Nautilus'. Once you click the button, you will see a new 'Dropbox' option in the drop-down menu of Nautilus, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3.JPG


Once you hover over the 'Dropbox' icon, another option should open 'Move to Dropbox'. If you select the option, it moved the file (deleted from the original location) into the Dropbox folder and synced to the Internet. If you do not want to move the files, then you can copy and paste the file into the Dropbox folder.

You should also notice a folder named 'Dropbox' in your Home folder. The folder icon should also have a check mark or other marking. The marking signifies if it syncs the folders with those locally. If you open the Dropbox folder, you will see all your files and folders that are on the Dropbox Internet site. Again, if synced, these should all have check marks.

If you use Dropbox, having it integrated into Nautilus is quite handy.


If you have a system that has an Optical Burner, then you can perform the same functions as Brasero within Nautilus.

To install the functionality in Nautilus, you need to perform the command in a terminal:

sudo apt install nautilus-extensions-brasero -y

Unlike the previous extensions, this one has no noticeable changes even in the drop-down box when you right-click a file or folder. To see you the interface for Brasero, you need to open Nautilus and right click on the DVD/CD burner drive, then select 'Open'. Figure 4 shows the results.

Figure 4.JPG


In the new window, you can drag-and-drop folders and files into the drop area for burning to the optical disc. You can set the disc label you want to use and then click on 'Write to Disc'. The next screen, shown in Figure 5, lets you choose the disc drive, and specify to burn or more copies. By selecting 'Properties', you can set the disc speed and the temp folder to use for the files.

Figure 5.JPG


Instead of selecting 'Open' from the CD/DVD burner, you can select to 'Open in a New Tab' or 'Open in a New Window'. By having a second tab or window, it will be easier to drag files from other windows to drop into the window to be burned to the disc.


Burner is fairly well he same as the Brasero extension. Use the command to install it:

sudo apt install nautilus-extension-burner -y

Once started, it is the same as the Brasero extension, but to start it, open Nautilus and select the CD/DVD burner.

The screen will look similar to Figure 4 with the same functions. Just drag-and-drop folders and files onto the window.

Gnome Console

There is a different terminal emulator that you can use. It has more features and may become the new default terminal, but for now, we can install it and try it out.

To install the Gnome Terminal, execute:

sudo apt install nautilus-extension-gnome-console -y

Once installed, you need to add the new terminal as an alternative to the ones you currently have, so run:

sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator x-terminal-emulator /usr/bin/kgx 1

Once that has added an alternative, you can execute the following command to allow you to choose a new terminal from the list of alternates:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

From the list that follows, enter the number next to the line with '/usr/bin/kgx'. Once you have made the change, close the terminal and reopen a new one using CTRL+ALT+T (do not use the icon on the desktop, it still points to the old terminal). The new Gnome Console should open. The Console is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6.JPG


As you can see in Figure 6, the Title Bar is red. The Title Bar changes to red when you issue a command with elevated privileges. With the color change, it is easier to notice that you are using root privileges.

There are a few enhancements to the Console package, but it seems to be better than the standard terminal.

The Console also has more warnings for the user, such as when closing Console. The Console alerts you that there are commands still running if they have not completed.

Gnome Terminal

For newer versions of Ubuntu, the Gnome Terminal is the default terminal already.

If needed, you can install it with the command:

sudo apt install nautilus-extension-gnome-terminal -y

Font Manager

If you download fonts, you need a font manager to add the fonts to your Operating System (OS). With this extension, you can add fonts from Nautilus. To add the extension:

sudo apt install nautilus-font-manager -y

Once you download a font and extracted it you can find the TTF file in Nautilus and then right-click on the file and select 'Install' as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7.JPG


It will store the fonts under your local Home folder in '~/.local/share/fonts/' and then in a folder named for the vendor. The system places some fonts in a folder named 'Unknown Vendor'.

NOTE: The system places global fonts under the folder '/usr/share/fonts'.

Once you have installed a font, you can use it from within any program that uses fonts, such as LibreOffice Writer.

File Hash

If you want to generate the hash for a file, you can install:

sudo apt install nautilus-gtkhash -y

To get the hash of a file, right-click on a file and select 'Properties'. Once the 'Properties' window appears, there is a 'Digests' tab on the right, as shown in Figure 8. Make sure the hash type you want is checked before clicking on the 'Has' button to generate the selected hashes.

Figure 8.JPG


The different hashes that can be generated are:

  • MD2
  • MD4
  • MD5
  • MD6-224
  • MD6-256
  • MD6-384
  • MD6-512
  • SHA1
  • SHA224
  • SHA256
  • SHA384
  • SHA512
  • SHA3-224
  • SHA3-256
  • SHA3-384
  • SHA3-512
  • BLAKE2b
  • BLAKE2s
  • BLAKE2bp
  • BLAKE2sp
  • RIPEMD160
  • TIGER192
  • GOST
  • CRC32
  • ADLER32
So if a hash of a file is what you need, then this extension can give it to you.

Hide Files

To install the 'Hide' extension, use the command:

sudo apt install nautilus-hide -y

NOTE: This extension did not work on Ubuntu 22.04, but did work on 18.04.

Keep in mind, that in Nautilus, that you can press CTRL+H to toggle between showing hidden folders/files and not showing hidden folders/files in the file manager.

If a folder or file is not hidden, you can right-click on one or more files, and select 'Hide Files', as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9.JPG


Now, if you press CTRL+H to show hidden files, you see the file(s) that you hid. You will also see a file named '.hidden'. If you open this file with a text editor, you'll see a list of files. Nautilus hides these files, and each folder can have a '.hidden' file if a file has been hidden in the folder.

While it shows the hidden files, you can right-click on the folders/files and select 'Unhide File(s)'. The selected folders/files are removed from the '.hidden' folder and are then visible in Nautilus. To unhide all hidden files with the extension, just delete the '.hidden' file in the folder.

Keep in mind that it hid the files without using a dot at the beginning of the folder or file name. The file name stays intact, it is only listed in the '.hidden' file.


These extensions can help you make nautilus more productive for your use.

If any of these can benefit you, look into installing the extension and trying it out.

Good article.

Just a typo you might want to consider fixing, with:

Gnome Console

There is a different terminal emulator that you can use. It has more features and may become the new default terminal, but for now, we can install it and try it out.

To install the Gnome Terminal, execute:

Last line should read

Gnome Console, not

Gnome Terminal.



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