Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have some folders where I have many pdf files, and it is inconvenient for me to open every file and see the contents, while searching for a particular document. Is there some way or any file browser, which will open a preview/side pane on the right side when I just select it and the pane should contain the details the pdf file including some notes which I can write to identify the file?

share|improve this question

I could use a feature like this myself (and now I have it thanks to your asking this question!)

I did some Googling and here are some pieces of the puzzle.


This is a bit awkward, but it would work.

With this, you could write a script to generate thumbnails in the same directory as the pdfs. If you name them the same as the pdf, except changing the extension, they would sort right next to the originals and hovering over them would show the thumbnail. You could rerun the script periodically (possibly comparing modification dates on the pdf and thumbhnail) and regenerate thumbnails for those which have changed.

I'm not much of an imagemagick user, but I have seen posts on how to add annotations to an image that would allow you to add very limited captions/notes to the thumbnails.

Adding clutterflow to nautilus (This link also mentions a thing called gloobus, but the links didn't lead to anything about pdfs.) I'm a kde user and don't run nautilus, so I haven't tried this.

I found this and it works (but for dolphin/KDE)! (no annotations though)

Enabling PDF preview in Dolphin

Here's one that says it works in nautilus (but no annotations):


Looks better than nothing. The second (python) answer looks better.

They mention a limitation of zenity in the first answer. If you pursue it, check out yad. It's compatible, has way more features, and a developer who will often add things quickly if he's convinced of their merit.

File notes tab gone in Nautilus 3.2.1


share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.