I'm trying to stop Nautilus from creating thumbnails of PDF files. In another thread on 'Ubuntu forums' someone said to open gconf-editor and disable the PDF entry in the '/desktop/gnome/thumbnailers' directory. However the only entry in that DIR is disable all. Needless to say I don't want that.

How can I disable the thumbnails for a specific file type?


2 Answers 2


Thumbnails of specific file types can be disabled using dconf editor.

Install dconf editor:

Hit Alt+Ctrl+T and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Or search for "dconf-tools" in Software Center and install it from there.

How to disable thumbnails of specific file type?

  • Once installed, Hit super key (windows key) to open Unity dash and search for "dconf editor" and open it.

  • Navigate to org > gnome > desktop > thumbnailers

  • Paste the MIME type of PDF 'application/pdf' in the value field of disable key, Like shown below.

enter image description here

This will prevent Nautilus from generating thumbnails of PDF's in the future but old thumbnails will be there. To solve this you'll have to clear Nautilus thumbnail cache.

  • Open your home directory and Hit Ctrl+H to show the hidden files and folders.
  • Open .thumbnails and delete all the files in it. Edit for 19.10: Open .cache and delete the thumbnails folder.

  • Restart your system or kill Nautilus (alt+f2; nautilus -q) for change to take effect.

To disable thumbnails for other file types, Add there MIME type in disable list as described above. Seprate multiple types with comma. like this:


For complete list of MIME types visit iana.org.

  • Is there a way to exclude (for example) all video types without writting them all ? I tried ['video/*'] but it doesn't work.
    – user55822
    Sep 18, 2012 at 9:21
  • There's no dconf-tools in Ubuntu 20.04 anymore.
    – mapto
    Sep 3, 2020 at 6:24

In order to stop showing thumbnails for any video file (because on my little HTPC it's causing high CPU usage):

First, clean the thumbnail cache:

rm -rf ~/.cache/thumbnails

Apply the mime type list:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.thumbnailers disable "['application/annodex','application/mp4','application/ogg','application/vnd.rn-realmedia','application/x-matroska','video/3gpp','video/3gpp2','video/annodex','video/divx','video/flv','video/h264','video/mp4','video/mp4v-es','video/mpeg','video/mpeg-2','video/mpeg4','video/ogg','video/ogm','video/quicktime','video/ty','video/vdo','video/vivo','video/vnd.rn-realvideo','video/vnd.vivo','video/webm','video/x-bin','video/x-cdg','video/x-divx','video/x-dv','video/x-flv','video/x-la-asf','video/x-m4v','video/x-matroska','video/x-motion-jpeg','video/x-ms-asf','video/x-ms-dvr','video/x-ms-wm','video/x-ms-wmv','video/x-msvideo','video/x-sgi-movie','video/x-tivo','video/avi','video/x-ms-asx','video/x-ms-wvx','video/x-ms-wmx']"

Then, just in case:

nautilus -q

I have got the mime type list from here.

  • 2
    For anyone reaching this now, org.gnome.desktop.thumbnailers.disable-all is now a key that accepts true/false. Oct 4, 2019 at 2:58

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