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After searching for a file in Nautilus, how can I open its parent folder?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The GNOME 3 Nautilus component in its version 3.10 (provided with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr) has a new option "Open Item Location" in the item selection context menu of a search. It is basically what you want, and differs from jadonchristensen's Nautilus custom action (reported by scrondo), in 2 ways:

  • The option "Open Item Location" is not displayed outside the context of a search (the custom action is always displayed, but outside a search it will merely refreshes the content of the current folder).
  • In search mode, selecting "Open Item Location" opens the item's parent folder in the same tab, whereas the custom Nautilus action opens it in a new window.

There may be some ways to configure the custom action so that its behavior matches the new "Open Item Location", but I have not found any yet. Generally speaking, being able to define the context of a custom action with a configuration tool would enable the user to only see relevant actions in the context menu.

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Jadonchristensen found a way to add "Open parent folder" to Nautilus' context menu:

1) install Nautilus Actions from terminal:

    sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions    

2) run Nautilus Actions from terminal:


3) click on 'Add New Action' and fill the form as in the following:

    label = Open Parent Folder
    path = nautilus
    parameters = %d

5) save and exit

6) then simply right-clicking on the search result and selecting "Open parent folder" will do the trick.

It would be interesting to know if it's possible to open the containing folder in a NEW TAB rather than a new window.

Is there an option one can add to the nautilus command?

Successfully tested in

  • Ubuntu GnomeShell Remix 12.04 AMD64
  • Ubuntu 13.10 x64
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step 2 - "nautilus-actions-config-tool" returned: "Trace/breakpoint trap", and the configuration didn't open. Any idea what's wrong? –  uval Jul 3 '13 at 9:25
Is it possible to show this new action along with other Items(Copy, Paste etc) rather than under "Nautilus-Actions actions"? Thanks. –  TheKojuEffect Feb 13 at 1:38

This has already been requested as a feature: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/12628/

A workaround mentioned there is to create a nautilus script:

# Save this to "~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/Browse Container" 
# set Properties Permissions Executable 
# while in Nautilus : right-click-object/Scripts/Browse Container 


Alternatively you can use the following syntax to open Nautilus and highlight the file in the containing folder:


nautilus "$1"
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It's not possible with the default nautilus that is currently shipping with Ubuntu. If you'd like to see this feature, you have two options:

  • Ask nautilus or nautilus-elementary projects to add the feature. (go to their project website to get in touch with them)
  • Ask a nautilus plugin developer (like me) to write a quick python plugin to add the option.
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Hey, write a quick python plugin to add the option! :) –  fl00r Oct 28 '11 at 14:41
That'll be 6 grand please. ;-) –  Martin Owens -doctormo- Oct 30 '11 at 8:20
sure man, wait for it –  Sohail Sep 16 '13 at 7:26

If you do not wish (like me) to install nautilus-actions, there's a workaround.

  1. Right click the file and select Properties or press ctrl + i.
  2. Double-click the location and it will be selected. Press ctrl + c to copy the location to the clipboard.
  3. Press ctrl + l to open the location bar.
  4. ctrl + v to paste the file's location followed by enter.

It's not as convenient as the Nautilus actions method, but it avoids installing a package that might in principle, have security issues.

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