On other operating systems the file chooser dialog in applications lets you do things like:

  • see a larger preview of images in the current directory
  • create a new folder
  • change the view of the current directory between vertical list, horizontal list, small icons, large icons, thumbnails etc

I am in Ubuntu 12.04LTS (Unity) ...As far as I can tell there is no way to do any of these things. My file choosers look like this one I found on Google Images:

File Chooser Dialogue

...except that I don't get the list-detail view, I get horizontal rows of icons.

I had a Google and found this: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/240/ (and hundreds of duplicate requests for the same functionality)

So apparently this have been fixed since v8? How do I get it to work?

  • 2
    I have posted a bug report in launchpad # 1175608. Perhaps this will work?!!? The problem is that is basically a Nautilus feature, thus we have to convince the Nautilus/ GNOME developers involved that this should change. Given the fact that Gnome is being dumbed down further and further I don't know if we stand a chance. – Hein Hanssen May 21 '13 at 12:57

Quite frankly you can't "enable" it (file preview). It is an application specific feature, which most developers don't seem to bother with. You will notice that in some applications, (for example the GIMP) you will get image previews, but for the most part you won't see any.

As for other features like creating/deleting folders, these have (for some reason) not been implemented.


In Gnome 3.18, renaming and deleting folders will now be possible from the file manager, though some of the other outstanding features are not yet known to be in development at this time. Seems there is some hope for common sense out of the Gnome camp.

  • Thanks for the info. This is very disappointing, especially as it's such a basic usability feature and elsewhere large amounts of time and money seem to have been spent on developing 'me too' cloud services, app stores and visual effects. – Anentropic Jun 14 '12 at 14:56
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    I've noticed that a lot of applications have identical file chooser dialog boxes though. Is there a particular widget (e.g., in GTK+) that is very often used for this? If so, feature requests filed upstream against the library providing the widget may be productive. – Eliah Kagan Jun 15 '12 at 2:15
  • @EliahKagan afaik, yes, there is. I believe that has already been attempted, but you know how it goes in Gnome... you can request a commonly missed feature a million times and have it ignored until the developers suddenly want it themselves and then pretend like it was their grand idea... – RolandiXor Jun 15 '12 at 12:24

Not sure if this is an option for you, but Nautilus(called Files) in Ubuntu 13.04 has the image preview, via a "Grid" view of a folder.

Also, you can still create a folder (or delete) using keyboard shortcuts. These are much easier than using context menu selections.

[Ctrl][Shift][N] - create new folder [Delete] - delete folder

hth, V

  • 2
    keyboard shortcuts are only easier if they are discoverable via the UI – Anentropic May 22 '13 at 20:05

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