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Say I have a folder several layers down in my documents folder. And I want easy access to it from my desktop. To do that I:

  • Go to the parent folder in Nautilus.
  • Right click on the folder's Icon and choose Make Link
  • Cut / Paste the new "Link to ..." folder onto my desktop.

Great. And mostly this works fine for me.

But suppose I want to get to that folder's parent. I can of course get there using the original path--what Nautilus calls the "link path" which I can see in the properties of the folder. But that seems harder than it ought to be.

How can I click on the folder and go to the link path directly?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As of right now there doesn't seem to be any official implementation of this feature. I found a feature request on Ubuntu Brainstorm, but it has been open for quite a while. It might still be a good idea to vote on one of the suggestions provided there.

In the meantime you can add a nautilus-script to perform this task. Just copy the script below and paste it in an empty file with a name of your choice in ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ (e.g. "Open link target").

#!/bin/bash
#Title=open-the-link-target-in-nautilus
#Title[fr]=ouvrir-le-repertoire-cible-dans-nautilus

#==============================================================================
#                     open-the-link-target-in-nautilus
#
#  author  : SLK
#  version : v2011051501
#  license : Distributed under the terms of GNU GPL version 2 or later
#
#==============================================================================
#
#  description :
#    nautilus-script : 
#    opens the target of a symbolic link of the selected object; if 
#    the target of the symbolic link is a file, opens the parent folder
#
#  informations :
#    - a script for use (only) with Nautilus. 
#    - to use, copy to your ${HOME}/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ directory.
#
#  WARNINGS :
#    - this script must be executable.
#    - package "zenity" must be installed
#
#==============================================================================

#==============================================================================
#                                                                     CONSTANTS

# 0 or 1  - 1: doesn't open but displays a message
DRY_RUN=0

#------>                                       some labels used for zenity [en]
z_title='open the link target in nautilus'
z_err_bin_not_found='not found\nEXIT'
z_no_object='no object selected\nEXIT'
z_info_target='path of the target'
z_choice_open_nautilus='open target in nautilus'
z_choice_open_file='open file with default application'
z_choice_display_filepath='open a messagebox to copy filepath'

#------>                                       some labels used for zenity [fr]
#z_title='ouvrir le repertoire cible dans nautilus'
#z_err_bin_not_found='introuvable\nEXIT'
#z_no_object='aucun objet selectionne\nEXIT'
#z_info_target='chemin de la cible'
#z_choice_open_nautilus='ouvrir la cible dans nautilus'
#z_choice_open_file='ouvrir le fichier avec le programme par defaut'
#z_choice_display_filepath='ouvrir une boite de dialogue affichant le chemin du fichier'


#==============================================================================
#                                                                INIT VARIABLES

# may depends of your system
DIRNAME='/usr/bin/dirname'
GREP='/bin/grep'
NAUTILUS='/usr/bin/nautilus'
PERL='/usr/bin/perl'
READLINK='/bin/readlink'
XDG_OPEN='/usr/bin/xdg-open'
ZENITY='/usr/bin/zenity'

#==============================================================================
#                                                                     FUNCTIONS

function check_bin
{
    err=0
    for bin in $* ; do
        if [ ! -x "$bin" ] ; then
            $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
              --text="$bin $z_err_bin_not_found"
            err=1
        fi
    done
    [ $err -eq 1 ] && exit 1
}

#==============================================================================
#                                                                          MAIN

# lets check for required binaries :
[ -x "$ZENITY" ] || {
    echo "[ERROR] $ZENITY not found : EXIT"
    exit 1
}
check_bin "$DIRNAME" "$GREP" "$NAUTILUS" "$PERL" "$READLINK"

# lets check if object is selected :
[ "$NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS" == "" ] && {
    $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
      --text="$z_no_object"
    exit 1
}

# retrieve the first object selected :
first_object=`echo "$NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS" \
  | $PERL -ne 'print;exit'`

# lets check if local path :
[ `echo "$first_object" | $GREP -c "^/"` -eq 0 ] && {
    $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
    --text="[ERROR] $first_object has not a valid path\nEXIT"
    exit 1
}


# retrieve the target path :
if [ -L "$first_object" ] ; then
    # symbolic link
    target=`$READLINK -f "$first_object"`
else
    # not a symbolic link :
    target="$first_object"
fi

if [ -d "$target" ] ; then
    # target is a directory
    target_to_open_in_nautilus="$target"

else
    # target is a file, let's take the parent directory
    target_to_open_in_nautilus=`$DIRNAME "$target"`

fi


### DRY RUN : noop

[ $DRY_RUN -eq 1 ] && {
    $ZENITY --info --title "$z_title" \
      --text="<b>DRY RUN</b>
first_object: $first_object
target: $target
target_to_open_in_nautilus: $target_to_open_in_nautilus"
    exit 0
}


### GO : let's open

choice=`$ZENITY --list --title="$z_title" --width="500" --height="200" \
  --text="<b>$z_info_target</b>\n$target" \
  --radiolist --column "" --column "action" \
  TRUE "$z_choice_open_nautilus" \
  FALSE "$z_choice_open_file" \
  FALSE "$z_choice_display_filepath"`

case $choice in
    "$z_choice_open_nautilus")
        $NAUTILUS --no-desktop "$target_to_open_in_nautilus"
    ;;
    "$z_choice_open_file")
        $XDG_OPEN "$target"
    ;;
    "$z_choice_display_filepath")
        $ZENITY --entry --title="$z_title" --width="500" \
          --text="$z_info_target" \
          --entry-text="$target" &
    ;;
    *)
        exit 1
    ;;
esac


exit 0


### EOF

Then make the script executable by right clicking on your file and and going to Properties --> Permissions and checking Allow executing file as program.

The script should now appear as a new menu entry in the nautilus context menu. Just right-click on a link and choose Scripts --> whatever-you-named-your-script.

Script source: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php?content=134979

share|improve this answer
    
this is great. Thanks so much! –  snowguy Sep 14 '12 at 20:35
1  
In my case I don't want an intervening dialog box so I'm going to edit this and add the revised version as a separate answer (in case someone else is interested in seeing that hack). But your is the best answer for most people and I'll select it as the correct answer. thank you –  snowguy Sep 14 '12 at 20:36
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Glutanimate's answer is great. If you don't want the additional options "open file with default application" & "open a messagebox to copy filepath" (which you can do by right clicking on the link and choosing properties and then copying the link target there), then use the following script. It is a bit of a hack as I just took the original script and I cut out the stuff I didn't want.

Sharing in case it is helpful to someone else:

#!/bin/bash
#Title=open-the-link-target-in-nautilus
#Title[fr]=ouvrir-le-repertoire-cible-dans-nautilus

#==============================================================================
#                     open-the-link-target-in-nautilus
#
#  revision: snowguy
#  version : v2012091401
#  author  : SLK
#  revision based on version : v2011051501
#  license : Distributed under the terms of GNU GPL version 2 or later
#
#==============================================================================
#
#  description :
#    nautilus-script : 
#    opens the target of a symbolic link of the selected object; if 
#    the target of the symbolic link is a file, opens the parent folder
#
#  informations :
#    - a script for use (only) with Nautilus. 
#    - to use, copy to your ${HOME}/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ directory.
#
#  WARNINGS :
#    - this script must be executable.
#    - package "zenity" must be installed
#
#==============================================================================

#==============================================================================
#                                                                     CONSTANTS

# 0 or 1  - 1: doesn't open but displays a message
DRY_RUN=0

#------>                                       some labels used for zenity [en]
z_title='open the link target in nautilus'
z_err_bin_not_found='not found\nEXIT'
z_no_object='no object selected\nEXIT'
z_info_target='path of the target'
z_choice_open_nautilus='open target in nautilus'
z_choice_open_file='open file with default application'
z_choice_display_filepath='open a messagebox to copy filepath'

#------>                                       some labels used for zenity [fr]
#z_title='ouvrir le repertoire cible dans nautilus'
#z_err_bin_not_found='introuvable\nEXIT'
#z_no_object='aucun objet selectionne\nEXIT'
#z_info_target='chemin de la cible'
#z_choice_open_nautilus='ouvrir la cible dans nautilus'
#z_choice_open_file='ouvrir le fichier avec le programme par defaut'
#z_choice_display_filepath='ouvrir une boite de dialogue affichant le chemin du fichier'


#==============================================================================
#                                                                INIT VARIABLES

# may depends of your system
DIRNAME='/usr/bin/dirname'
GREP='/bin/grep'
NAUTILUS='/usr/bin/nautilus'
PERL='/usr/bin/perl'
READLINK='/bin/readlink'
XDG_OPEN='/usr/bin/xdg-open'
ZENITY='/usr/bin/zenity'

#==============================================================================
#                                                                     FUNCTIONS

function check_bin
{
    err=0
    for bin in $* ; do
        if [ ! -x "$bin" ] ; then
            $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
              --text="$bin $z_err_bin_not_found"
            err=1
        fi
    done
    [ $err -eq 1 ] && exit 1
}

#==============================================================================
#                                                                          MAIN

# lets check for required binaries :
[ -x "$ZENITY" ] || {
    echo "[ERROR] $ZENITY not found : EXIT"
    exit 1
}
check_bin "$DIRNAME" "$GREP" "$NAUTILUS" "$PERL" "$READLINK"

# lets check if object is selected :
[ "$NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS" == "" ] && {
    $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
      --text="$z_no_object"
    exit 1
}

# retrieve the first object selected :
first_object=`echo "$NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS" \
  | $PERL -ne 'print;exit'`

# lets check if local path :
[ `echo "$first_object" | $GREP -c "^/"` -eq 0 ] && {
    $ZENITY --error --title "$z_title" \
    --text="[ERROR] $first_object has not a valid path\nEXIT"
    exit 1
}


# retrieve the target path :
if [ -L "$first_object" ] ; then
    # symbolic link
    target=`$READLINK -f "$first_object"`
else
    # not a symbolic link :
    target="$first_object"
fi

if [ -d "$target" ] ; then
    # target is a directory
    target_to_open_in_nautilus="$target"

else
    # target is a file, let's take the parent directory
    target_to_open_in_nautilus=`$DIRNAME "$target"`

fi


### GO : let's open

$NAUTILUS --no-desktop "$target_to_open_in_nautilus"

exit 0


### EOF
share|improve this answer
    
This script works great as well, thank you. I have added it to my nautilus-scripts for the cases, where I don't want to go through the zenity dialog. –  Glutanimate Oct 9 '12 at 20:38
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