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For Windows user's there is a tweak to make your desktop icons in a list view as you can see here:

Icons normally on Desktop:

enter image description here

Icons in a listview:

enter image description here

I've managed to have icons in a listview on Macbook as well, which has this option as in-built functionality.

How can I achieve the same functionality on Ubuntu(Unity)?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Alright, answer is finally here. You have to change line or two in nautilus source and than recompile the source...

Text besides icons on Ubuntu Desktop

Text besides icons on Ubuntu Desktop

1-$ mkdir /home/nautilus-source & cd /home/nautilus-source

2-$ apt-get source nautilus #in my case it downloaded source for nautilus-3.4.2

3-$ sudo apt-get install fakeroot build-essential dpkg-dev

4-$ sudo apt-get build-dep nautilus

5-$ cd /home/nautilus-source/nautilus-3.4.2/

6-$ vim src/nautilus-desktop-icon-view.c


Change from:

g_object_new (NAUTILUS_TYPE_DESKTOP_ICON_VIEW, "window-slot", slot, "supports-zooming", FALSE, "supports-auto-layout", FALSE, "supports-scaling", TRUE,"supports-keep-aligned", TRUE, "supports-labels-beside-icons", FALSE, NULL);


g_object_new (NAUTILUS_TYPE_DESKTOP_ICON_VIEW, "window-slot", slot, "supports-zooming", TRUE, "supports-auto-layout", FALSE, "supports-scaling", TRUE,"supports-keep-aligned", TRUE, "supports-labels-beside-icons", TRUE, NULL);

Line numbers in in src/nautilus-desktop-icon-view.c > 785-792

8-$ dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -us -uc -nc -b

9-$ sudo dpkg -i ../nautilus_3.4.2-0ubuntu4_i386.deb

10-$ killall nautilus

11- Open your home folder from launcher -

12- Edit > Preferences > Views > Check Text Besides Icons

ps. also now Ctrl+Scroll - will zoom in zoom out desktop icons

ps2. you can also change location of launcher # edit src/nautilus-places-sidebar.c

enter image description here

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I'm on the process of trying it out. Check the link on the bottom of the page here:

Good luck! :)

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Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Eliah Kagan Jul 21 '12 at 17:32

You should be able to do it by clicking the desktop, and then selecting "view>list" in the global menu bar ;)

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