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When I double-click on a script in Nautilus to run it, the script just opens in my text editor with no option to run it. Using Nautilus, how do I run executable text files and/or scripts?

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The default behavior is a bug. Users should not have to fiddle with settings to make this work. I've filed – user389375 Mar 18 '15 at 20:09

11 Answers 11

  1. Open Nautilus.

  2. Open this from the menu bar:

    Edit → Preferences

  3. Select the 'Behavior' tab.

  4. Select "Ask each time" under "Executable Text Files".

  5. Close the window.

Now you can double-click your executable text file in Nautilus to be asked whether to execute or edit your script.

enter image description here

Answer credit: Nur

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Thank you very much – Rob Apr 27 '13 at 15:39
What a weird default to have. And not even a right-click option to just run the file. Very unfriendly to users. – romkyns Sep 11 '14 at 22:59
What about I want it to always run in terminal? – Derek 朕會功夫 May 5 '15 at 17:08
On step #2, "Open this from the menu bar"... where is the menu bar? I don't see an "Edit" menu anywhere. I see my files in the middle, several local and network locations on the left, and a menu button in the top right which just has buttons such as "new tab" and undo/redo. The top just has the back/forward buttons and the list of folders I'm in. – Aaron Franke Jun 3 at 0:44

Follow these steps:

Install dconf-editor because it isn't installed by default.

Hit Alt+F2, type dconf-editor and hit Enter.

In dconfg-editor goto: orggnomenautiluspreferences

enter image description here

Click on executable-text-activation and from drop down menu select:

launch: to launch scripts as programs.


ask: to ask what to do via a dialog.

Close dconf-editor. Thats it!

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You can also open nautilus, click Files > Preferences, check behaviour tab, and select the option you prefer for Executable Text Files, open with text editor is the default. – Nur Apr 27 '13 at 14:03
Thanks for your help – Rob Apr 27 '13 at 15:39
Next solution is easiest way of doing :) – mac May 9 '13 at 6:24
Although this works too, dconfg-editor is the worst possible way of changing application configuration. – Benjamin May 5 '14 at 18:15
This answer was very helpful for me, even though using the preferences dialog would "normally" be a better answer, as I'm using a tiling window manager and the "Files" menu appears to be completely inaccessible! – Ben Apr 27 '15 at 1:17

I think this is a nuisance caused by Gnome people who decided to change that default behavior we were accustomed to.

To fix it, you can;

  1. install (if you haven't already) and start dconf Editor,
  2. go to: org > gnome > nautilus > preferences, and
  3. change the value for executable-text-activation back to ask (or even launch, if you prefer).

If you want the same Nautilus behavior as Root as well you can repeat the steps above, starting dconf Editor this time as Root.

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Thank you very much! – Olivier Van Bulck Apr 2 '13 at 17:26

in a terminal

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences executable-text-activation ask
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Change Nautilus' Behavior with Executable Text Files

Open Nautilus

enter image description here

  1. Files > Preferences
  2. Go to Behaviour tab
  3. Select Ask Each Time

Double-click your Executable Text File in Nautilus


Answer credit: Nur, Jorge Castro

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  1. Depending on which Ubuntu version you have,

    • Before 13.04

      In Nautilus, open this from the menu bar:

      Edit → Preferences

    • 13.04 or 13.10

      In Nautilus, open this from the menu bar:

      Files → Preferences

    • 14.04 or 16.04

      In Nautilus, open this from the menu bar:

      Edit → Preferences

  2. Then, in the 'Behaviour' tab, select "Run executable text files with they are opened".

    Alternatively, select "Ask each time" instead if you would like a dialog (example) asking you whether to edit or execute the file.

    enter image description here

Command line

If you prefer a command:

dconf write /org/gnome/nautilus/preferences/executable-text-activation "'launch'"

Note: Both GUI and command line methods work only for Nautilus (the default graphical file manager in Ubuntu)

Originally from another answer posted by me here.

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@DKBose: The command 'dconf' is in Ubuntu by default. dconf-editor only provides the GUI program to edit dconf. – minerz029 Feb 23 '14 at 8:43
You are correct. Sorry about that! – DK Bose Feb 23 '14 at 11:04

You can use the most upvoted answer in Fedora 20 + GNOME too:

Open Nautilus, check Preferences -> Behavior -> Executable Files, put as always ask
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You can do this for a single file by going into permissions in file properties and selecting "run this file as an executable".

enter image description here

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For that I guess the best way will be to make .desktop launcher, make that launcher executable using

chmod +x blah.desktop

And after that you will be ready to run it via just clicking, and even more you can add it to launcher. To read more about how to make .desktop files look here. Main part of it is this

[Desktop Entry]
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You have to check 3 points :

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right click on the file -> open with -> other application -> view all applications -> run software -> select

from now on shell scripts will be run on double click.

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