I have a music folder that contains about 15 other folders, each only a single level deep. Is there any way, via keyboard or other, to open the music folder in list view and expand all of the contained folders as well? I know about using * to open a nested folder, but that only opens the immediate children of of the selected folder.

Here's the directory structure:

   Billy Joel
     Storm Front
         She's Got a Way
     Glass Houses
         For the Longest Time
         Fix You

What I want to be able to do is open Nautilus to the Music folder, then click or type something to expand all the folders to display their contents as above. Right now, when I go into Music, all I see is:

   Billy Joel

There is an upstream bug about this, but unfortunately it's open since 2003 and probably won't receive a fix in the near future.

Don't know if there's a Nautilus script that allows you to expand/collapse all folders.

What does work, is to expand directories "level-by-level" by using the asterisk (*) multiple times (first time it expands all subdirectories, second time all subdirectories of subdirectories, etc.) - it's close to what you want, but admittedly not optimal.

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    Yeah, that's what I ended up doing, but it took me almost 10 minutes to do it. Kind of ridiculous for something that really should be an existing option. – EmmyS Nov 11 '10 at 18:57
  • Was going to ask this for 12.04.1. Sad that the option for Collapse All/Expand All is not present. – Luis Alvarado Sep 3 '12 at 17:19

The list may be expanded by first selecting List View from the Main Toolbar, selecting the folder that you want to expand, then pressing the asterisk (*) key on the numeric keypad or on the regular typing keyboard. (On U.S. keyboard layouts asterisk is Shift-8, for example.)

If you select the top directory in the list, it and all sub-directories below will be expanded by one level.

If you select a directory further down the list, then it and all sub-directories below will be expanded by one level, but not those above.

Each time the asterisk key is pressed, the list will be expanded by an additional level.

To collapse the list in a single step, press the / or - key on the numeric keypad, or their equivalents on the typing keyboard.

If you view the left side pane in Tree view, the same keystrokes work there, too, except individual file names are not displayed.

(Determined experimentally with Nautilus 2.30.1 on Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS.)

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    Very nice, indeed. – John S Gruber Aug 13 '12 at 2:36
  • That's still not a single step to open them all, though. I have to go through each "top-level" subfolder and click the asterisk to open that subfolder to its next level. I'm looking for a single step that will open all folders to ALL levels. What you're suggesting is exactly the same as the answer I got almost 2 years ago, which is NOT the answer I'm looking for. – EmmyS Aug 13 '12 at 14:23
  • EmmyS, once the desired folder is selected in List View, it takes about 1/2 second to tap the asterisk key 5-10 times to expand all its sublevels, or press and hold the asterisk key for a couple of seconds for the autorepeat function to do it for you. There may be a delay of several seconds, even on a fast machine, because when you do that, you're asking the computer to do a great deal of work. – user39415 Oct 16 '12 at 19:06
  • It may be the case that it doesn't take long to do what you suggest. The fact remains that it doesn't answer my question, which was asking if there was a one-click way to do it. – EmmyS Feb 4 '14 at 18:22

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