By default, Nautilus use/show the path bar:

Nautilus path bar

Using Ubuntu Tweak I managed to set by default the address bar:

Nautilus address bar

Is it possible to set both of them as default (show both: the buttons and the text input)?

Note: I know that I can use Ctrl+L to switch between them, so I'm not interested about this.

  • 3
    @oli Exactly. But I think that the only way is to modify the source code of Nautilus. I tried before, but without success... Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 8:25
  • 2
    Can you use Nemo instead of Nautilus?
    – Huseyin
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 20:20
  • 79
    +1 for the Ctrl+L shortcut
    – faizal
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 18:00
  • 3
    As moving from win10 to Ubuntu. Win has it as buttons, once you click on an empty area along the line of the buttons, the area will be automatically converted to a text field.
    – M J
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 23:37
  • 2
    This is one of my favorite things about the Windows Explorer. I use it almost every day. Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 21:05

8 Answers 8


Whilst I don't know if at all possible in Nautilus, I beleive Thunar may serve your wishes. It shows the button bar by default, but pressing Ctrl+L will result in the text bar popping out as shown below, allowing you to copy/paste or change directory by typing. When you press enter it goes away and you have the button bar. You have the best of both worlds.

enter image description here

In my opinion Thunar is "quicker" than nautilus but have no figures to back this up. It has an incredibly simple look and interface which I prefer.

  • 4
    In Ubuntu 18.04 this is actually works a lot better and is much closer to what OP wanted.
    – apokryfos
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 13:24
  • True solution, works on ubntu 18.04
    – vuhung3990
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 14:57
  • Working on Manjaro Phavo. Finally! So happy with Thunar, thank you for sharing.
    – progonkpa
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 9:19
  • Working in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
    – Ashishkel
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 4:23

No, it is not possible to do so.

The reasoning of "is it really not possible to do so" might be uninteresting, but I can say something about why it isn't, and probably shouldn't be, possible.

Fair warning: the answer is wordy. Its lengthy, but I believe its sensible. While I highly recommend that you do read on, feel free to not read on.

  • The design of nautilus: Having an option to display both would require disproportionate vertical widening of the icons area, as now there would be two lines required to display the pathbar as well as address bar. But then other buttons on the right would have slack space above and below them, unless they readjust themselves, which is again a big design question by itself.

  • The aesthetics of nautilus: Having both pathbar and address bar would be awfully ugly to see.

  • Most people, and I mean barring a handful of exceptions like you and me, people have preference for either. Its a clear choice for them. Having an option to "tweak" this would mean cluttering the preferences section of nautilus, again to no avail. In fact, in the recent version, you can see that a lot of configuration and menu options have been removed, or hidden to make the overall experience of the nautilus very very simple.

  • Wastage of screen real-estate: You would require only either of them at any point. This is true even if you are a person who use both of them multiple times throughout the day. You would want just either of them at any time, and it just makes sense, even from your point of view, to actually press Ctrl + L when you want the access to the other thing. Seeing the unrequired alternative on the screen would clutter the thinking process too.

  • 56
    This is something Windows did right, by merging them together.
    – Caimen
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 20:59
  • 45
    most of the answer is fluff anyways, so TL;DR, having both is impossible at the time of writing but you can switch to path bar using Ctrl+L and switch back to buttons using Esc.
    – Ejaz
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 13:07
  • 16
    Windows has it as buttons (clickable links) by default, however, once you click on an empty area along the bar line of the buttons, the area will be automatically converted to a text field and the user can copy/edit/paste the new path. Once the text field loses focus, it goes back to buttons.
    – M J
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 23:46
  • 4
    This is Linux we should be able to control it. I have a 43 inch monitor I don't care if a few extra pixels are needed for this functionality, which would obviously be helpful. Sometimes function needs to override aesthetics. Plus, windows did it right just replicate what they did .
    – neuronet
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 13:43
  • 11
    *uninstalls nautilus (thanks for the explanation though!)
    – jozxyqk
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 19:11

I don't think it's possible to have both buttons and path at the same time.

On a side note, another way to permanently enable the path instead of buttons is to use dconf, a "low-level key/value database designed for storing desktop environment settings". Install dconf-tools and launch dconf-editor:

$ sudo apt-get install --yes dconf-tools
$ dconf-editor

Then navigate to org > gnome > nautilus > preferences and check always-use-location-entry.

  • 7
    +10 for this answer! On my Ubuntu 19.04 package have different name, ie sudo apt install dconf-editor.
    – PeterM
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 12:39
  • 1
    Yes, this is the correct answer. The others are just fluff trying to sound intelligent without solving the problem at hand! Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 12:23
  • Note that in 20.04 it appears that the package name is dconf-editor too. Also Ubuntu Mate users should set org.mate.caja.preferences.always-use-location-entry.
    – jrh
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 21:39
  • dconf write /org/gnome/nautilus/preferences/always-use-location-entry true dconf is already present in (at least) Ubuntu 20.04 Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 8:33

First install dconf-tools

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

After installation open dconf-editor go to org –> gnome –> nautilus –> preferences and choose always-use-location-entry

Added image that highlights the change

  • 1
    This should work in Mate as well. For Caja, the location is org/mate/caja/preferences and the always-use-location-entry option.
    – Zamicol
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 17:24

I am not sure whether you prefer only nautilus, but I am writing in a hope that you would like this. You have helped me many times hope I'll return the same at least once.

XFE can display the path bar and address bar in much better way. Here are some images:

screenshot 1 screenshot 2 screenshot 3 screenshot 4

I found this file manager so useful and currently I'm sticking to it :)

To install in Ubuntu just execute this command:

sudo apt-get install xfe
  • These images are no longer available.
    – Josiah
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:10
  • 1
    Pretty decent and fast file explorer, however it's also pretty ugly and does not use system theme.
    – PeterM
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 12:46

There is a one-liner I have used a few times to switch from bread-crumb view to editable text address bar:

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences always-use-location-entry true

For ubuntu Mate:

gsettings set org.mate.caja.preferences always-use-location-entry true

I have used it on 18.x; 19.x and 20.04.

To switch the default back to bread-crumb view, simply re-run and replace "true" with "false"


A possible solution would be to install nautilus-terminal, which embed a terminal in the nautilus window, so you could enter the desired path with cd.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flozz/flozz
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus-terminal
  • 3
    Why would people downvote without giving a comment as to why they are downvoting? This seems like a constructive answer. Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 14:06
  • Absolutely. It is not possible by default so this can be an option Commented Apr 24 at 13:22

Consider using gnome-commander -- there you have what you are asking for, and a bunch of other things. Find it here.

enter image description here

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