I used to create new blank files in Nautilus (Files) using the right click context menu. It really saved me a lot of time. Since Nautilus 3.6, there is no such entry.

Is there a way to create a new blank file in Nautilus 3.6 and above?

  • A new file? A blank text file? Just run gedit & in terminal, write stuff in it and Ctrl+S to save. If you want to get feisty, in the terminal, type vim which is a lot more complicated than gedit. Terminal-> Ctrl +Alt+T
    – dearN
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:12
  • 13
    As I wrote below, what I want to do is not to lose time while looking for the folder I'm working in. I could use a terminal but I still have to change directory (using cd). I could use gedit, but I will have to go manually to the folder where I want to create my new file.
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:42
  • 9
    I have a very complex folder organization which makes finding my current folder painful. For example, let's say I want to write a new LaTeX report at "~/Documents/University/Master/CourseX/ProjectY/Report/". I'll have to open Latexila/gedit, create a new file, select this folder after going through every parent folder and save it... Before I use to create my "Report" folder, a new blank file, rename it with .tex extension and that was it.
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:54
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    Oh... tell me about it! :P Just finishing my dissertation...What I actually do in that case is export curv=/home/username/Research/Dissertation/Draft/Curvature_effects/dftdata and then cd to say $curv and so on. I save all these file paths in a text file. You could perhaps put them in your .bashrc file (I've done that as well). Does save time...
    – dearN
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:59
  • 1
    I use gnome-shell, I must say I'm quite satisfied with it. I had to learn how to use it, but I'm very efficient now (the Desktop Scroller extension helps switching workspaces quickly).
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 18:09

10 Answers 10


Well, I filled a bug report on bugzilla.gnome.org and I feel stupid now... This feature still exists.

The solution is to create a blank file named for instance new inside the ~/Templates/ folder of your home directory.

On non-English installations, the templates directory might have another name. One can find the actual directory with xdg-user-dir TEMPLATES.

Creation of a new template file

If you're still facing the problem, Check the file in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs if XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR variable is set correctly. If it is set to $HOME/ instead of $HOME/Templates/, correct and save that file.

  • 13
    Turns out this was caused by the XDG_TEMPLATE_DIR variable in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs being set to $HOME rather than $HOME/Templates.
    – szx
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 9:03
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    @remjg But do you know why there's no New document menu at all when the Templates folder contains no files even though a possibility of creating an Empty document clearly exists (the last position in above mentioned context menu)?
    – cprn
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 1:04
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    Somewhat of a paradoxical problem - can't create a new document unless you create a new document.
    – Enigma
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 23:52
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    WOW. This is... A really bad user experience. Where can one submit a patch to always put a new text file in there. Or, even better, a new file that contains instructions on how to add new files to the New Documents tab?
    – Ajax
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 5:29
  • 5
    This is horrible. You shouldn't need a user-visible random directory in your home for every application that wants to store some config. I had naturally deleted that directory altogether.
    – Shahbaz
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 2:46

Just create some file templates in your home Templates directory:

touch 'New Text File.txt' && touch 'New Word File.doc' && touch 'New Excel Spreadsheet.xls'

Go to any folder then, right click and you will see the "New Document" option with the templates you created.

  • 1
    So I went into my home templates directory with Nautilus and, lo and behold, I couldn't create a file there because there were no templates there to allow me to create new files. Man, am I glad I switched to Nemo at home, the Nautilus people first took away multi-column file list and now this. I can only assume they hate humanity :-) Oh well, back to the command line. Still, thanks for letting me know what to change, the brain-deadedness of Nautilus developers is not your fault.
    – user9184
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 6:19
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    If the New document's contextual menu don't appear, restart Nautilus by typing "nautilus -q" or "killall nautilus" in a terminal. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 10:33
  • Just a note for anybody who has no Templates directory in their home folder. Just created it then open .config/user-dirs.dirs file check all the files match, You should see stylised Icon's in your home folder if they are correct instead of a standard looking folder but its worth checking. In mine the templates line pointed at $HOME so the templates were not picked up. nautilus -q was also needed, thank you @Stephane B Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 22:12
  • Super!!!! Thanks
    – cloud81
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 10:07
  • Wouldn't want to create a new Word document and then save that in the Templates directory, rather than creating an invalid Word document which is zero bytes long?
    – Flimm
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 17:42

The name of the file must be Untitled Document In Ubuntu 20.04

touch ~/Templates/Untitled\ Document

This works for me


I can't really find this option in 3.6 either, but there are command line tools that can help you out (but it depends on what you are actually trying to accomplish here).

In a Terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) you can write the command:

 touch filename.ext 

This will create an empty file called filename.ext - you can call it whatever you want, with whatever extension (or no extension) you feel like.

  • 2
    Thanks, I didn't know this command. But I still have to open a terminal at the desired location (ok nautilus-open-terminal can help me for that purpose). What I want to do is not to lose time to look for the folder I'm working in !
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:38
  • Yes I agree that this is very tedious in comparison to the old way. Not sure why they removed it - probably not many that used it or something. Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:40
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    Normal users don't need this feature, they could even be mistaken ("Hey, I want to create a new .doc file, why not creating a blank new text file ?"). I can understand it, but I need it : it was a very convenient way to create a new source code file at the right project location.
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:47
  • I understand. I did not find any extension doing this sort of thing, but perhaps you could do the community a service and write one? ;) Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:51
  • I'm currently learning how to code, would be a lot of fun and an interesting task for me to contribute to a free software ! But I must say I'm overwhelmed for now. I studied math in the past, I teached for two years, and I'm going back to the university directly in the second year of a computer science master... Well, it's tough !
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:59

This guy saved me. Just put an empty file in ~/Templates/ and you'll see an ability to duplicate it into any folder when you right-click and do into "New Document".


I guess you could write a nautilus script with touch "New files.txt" in it.

You could even keybind it using accels.

  • Even if I have found the answer, it sounds like an interesting idea for those who want a keyboard shortcut !
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 15:44
  • If there still is the File->New Document->Empty Document entry, you can keybind it directly, no need for the script.
    – user55822
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 17:31
  • How do you do it ?
    – remjg
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 20:48
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    Accels are shortcuts assigned to each entry inside menus. Read that question and answer askubuntu.com/questions/136062/…. Applies to nautilus as well of course.
    – user55822
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 21:57

I installed nautilus-terminal.

It gives you a small embedded terminal inside Nautilus.

The directory in the embedded terminal is identical to the directory you are watching in nautilus.

So you can use the touch command there without opening a separate terminal and changing directories manually.


To get back this functionality, I've written a simple guide http://bernaerts.dyndns.org/linux/344-nautilus-new-document-creation-menu to setup a customized right click contextual menu in Nautilus that allows you to create some empty documents fitted to your need.

For every document in the menu, you can set :

  • label and icon to use
  • the model to copy
  • the execute attribute (for shell script)

To allow this level of customisation, setup follows 3 steps :

  1. configuration of the list of document types in an INI file
  2. creation of document models for every document type
  3. generation of Nautilus action environment based on these types

This is supposed to provide a generic approach and to give some flexibility.

Hope it helps.


If you're on a localised Ubuntu version, you need to find the right translation for "Tempaltes". For example, on my French Ubuntu 20.04 version, "Templates" is called "Modèles"


I use the create dopcument all the time in my www folder. unfortunately it seems to be broken when I upgraded to 14.04LTS. The Templates folder is missing in the root's home directory.

so this is how I fixed it. in my Templates folder in my home folder (you have to show hidden files btw) navigate there and for some reason it worked there. I right clicked and added the new document then I Right clicked and made a new document but I tittled the next one as newphp.php and another as newhtml.html

I edited both docs and included my default codes I used.

then I opened up a terminal and typed: gksu nautilus on the command line then navigated to the home directory that my computer boots into (default account), then copied the Templates folder (that I just made additional new files in ) then navigates to the root's home by clicking home in the nautilus menu that I launched as root, and paste the Templates folder in the root's home directory.

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