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I don't always know the name of a file I'd like to run. Often, I'll know the name of its parent folder, or its parent's parent's folder.

This was easy to work through in Gnome-Do. I simply search for the name of the parent folder, then navigate using the arrow keys to the file I want within that folder and hit enter to open the file.

I can't figure out how to do this in Unity. I can only open the folder, and cannot seem to navigate within a folder's contents to open the file directly. Is there a way to do so? Thanks.

*Edited to add user stories, deleted screenshots since imgur killed the images (10/2)*

"I don't remember the name of the song I'm thinking of. Let me pull up my "Music" folder and look through it."

"Oh that's right, it's Johnny Cash. What songs of his do I have?"

"This is the song I want!"

This is all done quickly without leaving the keyboard. I'm getting out of the scope of my original question here:

Suppose I remember his name starts with a "j" but I don't remember how to spell it. I type "j" and I quickly get a nice filtered list of all my music with "j".

I can also do other things in just a few presses:

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i think not, it only shows, the Folder or the file that's relevant for the searchyou made. – Uri Herrera May 2 '11 at 6:14
Not a proper answer so I just make it a comment, but you could just install gnome-do and give it a new keybinding (super being occupied by Unity). – Johanna Larsson May 2 '11 at 9:28

This is a limitation of Unity in 11.04. A sort of work around is to hit Alt-F2 and type ~/Music/Johnny and Unity will start to autocomplete the folder, but that doesn't work in the normal dash.

Though ideally what you want is a Music lens that let's you just search Johnny Cash and just returns album covers (in proper order) of all the albums and hitting enter will just queue up that entire album right into your mp3 player. (Similar to the Banshee plugin for GNOME Do)

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Thanks Jorge. A music dash would be pretty cool, although the music files in my example are mostly to illustrate my question. – Chris Bauer May 2 '11 at 21:39

Suggest this workaround -

If you click the Home Folder icon on the Launcher.

Choose Edit Preferences - change the default view from Icon to List View. Click OK. This will set the default view for File Manager next time you open it. Also make sure the "sort folders before files" is checked.

Click the magnifying glass.

Type part of the folder name in the search box displayed.

This will display all matches.

Double click on a folder with a matching name.

Similarly - you could right-click the Files & Folders lens (grey icon in the launcher) and choose either Audio or Folders.

Your cursor would automatically be on the search box, together with recently used Audio/Folders. As soon as you type "j" for johnny cash, it will show that audio/folder name.

Remember - over time, the search engine will learn your search habits, so it will get better displaying the most recent audio/folders you use.

Keep an eye on this PPA - looks like the author developing possibly something more like what you want.

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Thanks for your response. This method will certainly search for folders using Nautilus, but it isn't efficient for every day use in Unity when I want to quickly launch a file. My current workaround is to simply launch a file's parent folder, then navigate within that folder to my desired file. Both options are fairly tedious. I think my best solution will be to (unfortunately) go back to Gnome-Do or Synapse for the time being. – Chris Bauer May 2 '11 at 20:09
Hi Chris - can you amend your question to show some screen shots of what you are trying to do. I've havent used Gnome-Do, so I'm unsure how to help further. – fossfreedom May 2 '11 at 20:15
I've added screenshots. At this point I appreciate everyone's attention, but I don't think there is an answer to my question the way Unity works now. I may file a bug report. – Chris Bauer May 2 '11 at 21:28

Unity does not currently support that feature. The file lens is currently more of a shortcut holder at this point, but maybe in the future you will be able to do this (11.10 maybe).

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