As a happy Linux user for almost a year now, this is the bane of my existence. Does the Linux community hate tree views for some obscure reason?

I don't mean a tree view in the side panel. That's useless. I mean a proper tree view, such that, when I click the triangle, all files and subdirectories contained within the directory show beneath, and I can drag and drop files, open and close trees.

It is extremely frustrating to navigate and move files around deeply nested directories without this feature.

I've tried: Nautilus, PCManFM, emelFM2, Krusader. I find it hard to believe that even crazilly-full-featured file managers like Krusader would be missing this most obvious of features... and yet, here I am. For all the effort put into those file managers, is this so far-fetched to ask for?

I just need a simple, single-pane file manager with a tree view option. Help!

And -- please -- HOW IS THIS FUNCTION INVOKED ?? (Do I left/right click while pressing control/alt/shift? Is some setting required?)

3 Answers 3


Nautilus does this.

Ubuntu up to version 12.10

  • Just switch to View > List.


Ubuntu 13.04

Feature is missing in this release

Ubuntu 13.10 and newer

  • activate Preferences > Display > Navigate folders in a tree
  • switch to List View


  • 6
    Not anymore: askubuntu.com/questions/256986/… -- because convergence. By far the dumbest decision anyone has ever made... actually merging a commit that removes functioning code for a useful feature, because it's not as useful on some device that doesn't exist yet.
    – o_o_o--
    Aug 29, 2013 at 23:57
  • 1
    Bummer! Didn't know that. Sorry. One more reason not to update to 13.04...
    – Germar
    Aug 30, 2013 at 0:04
  • 1
    Nah, it's still there. Preferences > Display > Navigate folders in a tree. Might have been missing for one release, though. Aug 30, 2013 at 0:28
  • 1
    still there in 15.10
    – Mateo
    Oct 26, 2015 at 0:54
  • 1
    it's there : files -> preferences -> allow folders to be expanded
    – maxbellec
    Jun 22, 2017 at 11:42

Dolphin appears to have this capability.



You could use Marlin as well https://launchpad.net/marlin

enter image description here

Install with

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:marlin-devs/marlin-daily
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install marlin marlin-plugin-*

UPDATE : haven't tested this, but it should work to set Marlin as the default file manager.

xdg-mime default Marlin.desktop inode/directory
  • very sexy indeed!
    – qed
    May 16, 2014 at 20:44
  • For Ubuntu 14.04 you need to use a different ppa ppa:noobslab/apps May 27, 2015 at 5:42
  • how to set it up as your default file manager?
    – Waqas
    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:41
  • check my post again, I updated it.
    – Goddard
    Aug 6, 2016 at 18:03

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