How to Manage “Files” in GNOME 3.6

Fedora 18 is finally released after months of delays. While GNOME 3.6 debuted back in September of 2012, this Fedora release marks the first time many users will get their hands on the latest version. GNOME 3.6 has seen its fair share of polish and an abundance of interface changes, but the most controversial changes can be found in the Nautilus file manager, now rebranded as Files. Below is a comprehensive look around the newly-redesigned file manager, showing how to manage files in GNOME 3.6.



Files in GNOME 3.6 has been stripped down to present you with as few buttons as necessary. Present in the top left are the standard arrows to move around between previously accessed directories. Next to this is the currently accessed file directory, presented as a list of buttons so that users can move quickly around their file system. Further to the right is a search icon, followed by the options to view items as a list or in a grid, a drop-down arrow with more view options, and a cog to access window settings.


Clicking on the search icon opens a new toolbar with a search box and options for adjusting the parameters of the search.


As is visible in the image above, typing “Joey” reveals both files and folders with the word “Joey” in the name. Files only searches the Home folder by default, but clicking the “All Files” button of the search bar allows you to expand the search range. Clicking on the “plus” icon presents the options to search by specific file types.


View Options

View options are pretty straightforward. Files defaults to a grid view, giving you a look at hi-res icons and large thumbnails of pictures and music files with associated album art. Switching to a list view presents four columns: name, size, type, and modified. File names are shown under the “Name” column. Under “Size,” files display their total size, whereas folders list the number of items that can be found within. “Type” shows what kind of file, folder, or media has been selected, and “Modified” lists the last time or date a file was last edited.


The drop-down arrow reveals options to zoom in or out and the ability to quickly return back to the default size. Reload refreshes what is visible in the Files window, just as refreshing in a web browser does. The sidebar can be toggled here, and even though it may not be visible, the F9 shortcut still toggles the sidebar as well. Lastly, we see the options to reset views back to the default, the choice to view hidden files, and the ability to edit which columns are visible under list view.

Window Options


Window options are available under the cog icon. Here you can open new tabs and create new folders. You will also find the standard “undo”, “redo”, “paste”, and “select all” options tucked away in this menu. Less obvious options include “Select Items Matching…”, which opens a search box where you can type in a specific set of characters or file extensions. “Invert selection” deselects currently selected items and highlights all previously non-selected items instead.

Bookmarking a location will save the currently open folder as a link in the sidebar. Bookmarked items will appear in the sidebar in the space between the “Devices” and “Network” categories. Right-clicking on these bookmarks presents the options to remove or rename them.

“Properties” will list useful information about the open directory, such as total size and the number of items contained within. Clicking on “Restore Missing Files…” opens a new window with many options for restoring previously backed-up files, visible below.


Application Menu

The application menu allows you to access Files options not directly related to managing an open window.


The application menu can be found by clicking on the “Files” button inside of the panel at the top of the screen, adjacent to the “Activities” button in the top left. Here you can open a new window, connect to a server, or type in the name of a specific file directory. The “Bookmarks” option opens a window where you can rename, reorder, or remove the default bookmarks at the top of the sidebar. “Preferences” opens a window with more in-depth options available.


Most of the options available within Files’ Preferences can be accessed from elsewhere in the interface, but this window does provide a quick means to toggle many settings at once.

Is Files for You?

Files in GNOME 3.6 removed several features from previous releases, resulting in a more streamlined experience. If you miss some of Nautilus’s old functionality, there are options available you may want to keep an eye on.

Bertel King, Jr.

Bertel is a tech blogger and independent novelist who puts perhaps a tad too much trust in Google. He’s loved Android since the moment he got his eager hands on his first device -- if not sooner -- and has understood the Chromebook Pixel from day one.You can follow his work at

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