Nautilus Elementary Adds Much Needed Enhancements to Nautilus File Manager And Why You Should Install It Now

Having used Nautilus (the default file manager in Ubuntu) for several years, I have really no complaints about it. It does its jobs well and you can also install scripts and actions to increase its functionality. However, after installing Nautilus Elementary, I am surprised by the simplicity and the enhancements that it adds to the file manager, which makes Nautilus even more user-friendly and useful. If you haven’t install Nautilus Elementary yet, you got to give it a try.

Let’s take a look at the magic that Nautilus Elementary adds to your Nautilus

Terminal in Nautilus

Most of the newbie that just started using Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) are scared of the terminal, and the bash command. What Nautilus Elementary does is to embed a terminal right inside your Nautilus. Simply press F7 or go to View -> Embed Terminal to reveal the terminal.


When you browse any folder in Nautilus, the file path in the Nautilus terminal will automatically “cd” to the browser that you are in. You can then type the name of the script or application to run it.


You can also right click to copy/paste the commands. Furthermore, there is also a configuration option for you to customize the look and feel of the terminal. Cool!


At the moment, it doesn’t support drag and drop file to the terminal (just like in Mac). It will be great if it does, or get implemented in the future.


The Clutterflow feature allows you to view your files/folders in cover flow style. You can press the left/right button on the keyboard, or the scrollwheel to navigate.


Note: For those who are using Intel hardware, you might have issue getting the clutterflow to display. Here’s what you can do to fix it:

Open a terminal and type:

sudo gedit /etc/environment

Add the following line to the end of the file

export CLUTTER_VBLANK=none

Restart your computer (or just logout and login again).

Integrate Zeitgeist as the search engine

For those who have not heard of zeitgeist, it is a service that logs the users’s activities and events (files opened, websites visites, conversations hold with other people, etc.) and provide the relevant information for third party applications. With zeitgeist, when you perform a search in Nautilus, it will display the most recent files that you have accessed (even before you have typed any search term). You can then filter from there to get the files you want.

Update: To make use of the zeitgeist search, you have to make sure that zeitgeist is installed in your Ubuntu. Optionally, you might also want to install Gnome Activity Journal.

sudo apt-get install zeitgeist gnome-activity-journal


Nautilus Elementary comes with several tweaks that enhances the Nautilus and turn it into a user-friendly file manager. The tweaks can be accessed from Edit -> Preferences -> Tweaks.


Things that you can tweak including:

  • Enable rgba transparency
  • relocate the toolbar to vertical orientation
  • use breadcrumb for the file path
  • show zoom slider + icons + view widget


Installation of Nautilus Elementary

Lastly, here is how you can get Nautilus Elementary to run in your system.

In a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

With all the useful enhancements Nautilus Elementary adds to your Nautilus file manager, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t install it. One thing to note, most of the features listed above are only available for Ubuntu Maverick. So if you haven’t upgrade your system, do it now for the awesomeness.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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