It is my understanding that Google Docs files, when opened in Nautilus through the Google Drive integration, should open the web client in my web browser, but this is not the case. Am I understanding this correctly, and if so, how can I get the integration to work properly?

Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS / GNOME 3.28.2 / Nautilus 3.26.4

  • You should see .gdoc files (I believe). You need to set your web browser as the default to open these files, and then try again. In my experience using Google Drive backup/sync (this was not on Ubuntu, but on Windows, so it may be very different), it did take a while to open the files. I'll try testing this on 18.04.
    – Eate
    May 16, 2019 at 4:13
  • They appear as "application/vnd.google-apps.document type" files, but even when setting Firefox as the app to open them, it does not open properly. This works nothing like the Windows client, and is not officially from Google if I understand correctly.
    – Brandon
    May 16, 2019 at 4:16
  • Hmm. I currently don't have an 18.04 machine, but on my 19.04 system with the connection in Settings enabled, and with Google Chrome, it works. I'd suggest trying (1) going to Firefox and typing in the path to the file to see if that works, or (2) trying this with Chrome (if you can).
    – Eate
    May 16, 2019 at 4:19
  • 1
    Neither works. On both I get the error that the File was not found. It should be noted that all non-google-doc format files open as expected.
    – Brandon
    May 16, 2019 at 4:24
  • Huh, I'm stumped. I'll see if I can test this on 18.04 in the next few days — I'll let you know if I find anything.
    – Eate
    May 16, 2019 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


I think things might well have changed in 18.04 as in 16.04 it was possible to drag and drop a file from nautilus into Chromium and edit it directly from there as outlined in this thread.

Something has changed between versions (has Chromium itself changed or the fact the google-drive is now automounted using google-drive-occamlfuse).

What I have to do now in 18.04 is open a new tab in Chromium and go to

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets or

(as appropriate for the type of document you are trying to open) and provided you have set the document to be available offline, you can click on the document listed and open it and edit it in Chromium.

You may need first to install and enable google docs offline extension for this to work. This extension makes it possible to edit your documents, spreadsheets and presentations when you aren’t connected to the internet.


You might want to try this little app, called gdocopener, available on GitHub.
It will open Google Docs (gdoc, gsheet, glides) from theoretically any file manager on Ubuntu. It basically parses the JSON content of these files and extracts the URL to open.

Although I wrote it for another use case, namely Google Docs created by Dropbox, I guess it will work for your problem as well.

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