After searching for a file in Nautilus, how can I open its parent folder?

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Jadonchristensen found a way to add "Open parent folder" to Nautilus' context menu:

1) install Nautilus Actions from terminal:

    sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions    

2) run Nautilus Actions from terminal:


3) click on 'Add New Action' and fill the form as in the following:

    label = Open Parent Folder
    path = nautilus
    parameters = %d

5) save and exit

6) then simply right-clicking on the search result and selecting "Open parent folder" will do the trick.

It would be interesting to know if it's possible to open the containing folder in a NEW TAB rather than a new window.

Is there an option one can add to the nautilus command?

Successfully tested in

  • Ubuntu GnomeShell Remix 12.04 AMD64
  • Ubuntu 13.10 x64
  • step 2 - "nautilus-actions-config-tool" returned: "Trace/breakpoint trap", and the configuration didn't open. Any idea what's wrong?
    – Amir Uval
    Jul 3 '13 at 9:25
  • Is it possible to show this new action along with other Items(Copy, Paste etc) rather than under "Nautilus-Actions actions"? Thanks. Feb 13 '14 at 1:38

This has already been requested as a feature: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/12628/

A workaround mentioned there is to create a nautilus script:

# Save this to "~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/Browse Container" 
# set Properties Permissions Executable 
# while in Nautilus : right-click-object/Scripts/Browse Container 


Alternatively you can use the following syntax to open Nautilus and highlight the file in the containing folder:


nautilus "$1"

If you do not wish (like me) to install nautilus-actions, there's a workaround.

  1. Right click the file and select Properties or press ctrl + i.
  2. Double-click the location and it will be selected. Press ctrl + c to copy the location to the clipboard.
  3. Press ctrl + l to open the location bar.
  4. ctrl + v to paste the file's location followed by enter.

It's not as convenient as the Nautilus actions method, but it avoids installing a package that might in principle, have security issues.


The GNOME 3 Nautilus component in its version 3.10 (provided with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr) has a new option "Open Item Location" in the item selection context menu of a search. It opens the parent folder of the selected item, and differs from jadonchristensen's Nautilus custom action (reported by scrondo) for the selection context menu in 2 ways:

  • The option "Open Item Location" is only displayed in the context of a search and in the Recent place (listing files recently accessed). The custom action is always displayed, but outside a search it will merely refreshes the content of the current folder. In the Recent place, it will not work as expected and will open the root directory instead.
  • In search mode, selecting "Open Item Location" opens the item's parent folder in the same tab, whereas the custom Nautilus action opens it in a new window except if a tab is already opened on the same location (in which case the focus will move on this tab).

I do not know if there are some ways to configure the custom action so that its behavior matches the new "Open Item Location". It seems especially difficult for the Recent place, which is neither a physical folder nor the result of a classic search.


It's not possible with the default nautilus that is currently shipping with Ubuntu. If you'd like to see this feature, you have two options:

  • Ask nautilus or nautilus-elementary projects to add the feature. (go to their project website to get in touch with them)
  • Ask a nautilus plugin developer (like me) to write a quick python plugin to add the option.
  • 4
    Hey, write a quick python plugin to add the option! :)
    – fl00r
    Oct 28 '11 at 14:41
  • That'll be 6 grand please. ;-) Oct 30 '11 at 8:20
  • sure man, wait for it
    – Sohail
    Sep 16 '13 at 7:26

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