Expand The GNOME File Manager With Nautilus Actions

March 14, 2010 by
Filed under: gnome, HowTo, linux, Ubuntu 

The default file manager in the GNOME desktop environment is Nautilus. If you've been using GNOME for a while, then you're probably familiar with Nautilus' built in Nautilus Scripts function. The Scripts function is great, but there's an even better way to add functions to Nautilus; with Nautilus Actions.

So what makes Nautilus Actions better than scripts? Well, for one thing, you can configure a new action to only be available for certain file types. Your custom functions can be made from pretty simple scripts since Nautilus Actions will handle the file type logic for you. Another nice thing is that the actions will be shown on the main contextual menu rather than being buried in a sub-menu like Nautilus Scripts.

Installing Nautilus Actions

You should be able to find Nautilus Actions in your Linux distro's repositories. In Ubuntu Linux you can install it with

sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions

You can also download the source tarball from the Nautilus Actions project homepage if you can't find it in the repos.

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Using Nautilus Actions

There is a configuration program that you can access through the menu at System->Preferences->Nautilus Actions Configuration (at least that's where it is on Ubuntu). You can also launch this program from the command line or the [Alt]+[F2] menu with:


I'll show you how to add an Open Terminal button to the right click contextual menu. To create a new action, click on Add. Fill out the fields to look like the following picture.

Nautilus Actions: Add New Action

Nautilus Actions: Add New Action

Then select the Conditions tab and make it look like this.

Nautilus Actions: New Action Conditions

Nautilus Actions: New Action Conditions

Click OK and then Close the Nautilus Actions Configuration window.

Restart Nautilus

At this point you may need to restart Nautilus for the new menu item to show up.

Hit [Alt]+[F2] and enter:

nautilus -q

Now hit [Alt]+[F2] again and restart Nautilus with:


Your new menu item should now appear in the file manager.

Open Terminal

Open Terminal


  • There's currently a bug in GNOME 2.28.1 where only GTK short name icons work (the icons you can select from the drop-down list). There is supposedly a fix in version 2.28.4. Ubuntu Lucid appears to be running 2.29.91, so let's hope this is fixed.
  • In order for any icon to show up you need to have menu icons enabled. Go to System->Preferences->Appearance and select the Interface tab. Make sure that 'Show icons in menus' is enabled.
  • You can download Nautilus Actions configuration files and import them through the configuration menu.


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