Can we some how use color labels on icons like OS X?

Something like this:

enter image description here

  • I'm developing an app to add suport for labeling files. It's still alpha. I'm looking for some opinions (and help). Checkout here: code.google.com/p/labelfs – user36311 Dec 2 '11 at 8:22
  • Can you add a screenshot of this in action? Never seen this feature before. – Oli Sep 8 '12 at 14:03

There are 2 options which resemble Mac OS very closely, both designed from similar code

  1. Marlin (runs as application, keeping Nautilus as default)
  2. Pantheon Files (can easily replace Nautilus)

Color Labels Example

Update This is a duplicate question.

UPDATE 2 I tried both Marlin and Pantheon Files (from other Stack Exchange contribution, see below). It seems that Pantheon files makes it easier to switch over from Nautilus. I am using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

It is called Marlin File Browser

Installation of Marlin

Option 1: Marlin with Dropbox / Ubuntu One support

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install marlin marlin-plugin-dropbox marlin-plugin-ubuntuone

Option 2: what I have tested without dropbox/ubuntu one support

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:marlin-devs/marlin-daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install marlin

According to the website, it is rather new and might have issue. Check out this article with some nice pictures showing how similar it is to Mac OS X file and folder color labeling.

Also, see this article for how to install it on Ubuntu 12.04 or 11.10 or on Linux Mint.

Installation of Pantheon File Browser:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pantheon-files

For Dropbox or Ubuntu One support, add the plugins:

sudo apt-get install pantheon-files-plugin-dropbox
sudo apt-get install pantheon-files-ubuntuone
| improve this answer | |
  1. Install the gnome-color-chooserInstall gnome-color-chooser package.

  2. Open GNOME Color Chooser and switch to the Desktop tab.

  3. Check beautify icon labels (needed for icon label settings!) and then set your label text and background colors:

    enter image description here

  4. Click Apply.

    enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    That's a cool hidden setting, but it's not really analogous to color labels on the mac, which lets you assign label colors to individual files as a quick way of tagging them (frex. you might give green labels to files that are ready-to-ship and yellow labels to files that need work). – cscarney Jul 4 '11 at 20:09
  • I'm wondering is it possible too? – quangtruong1985 Aug 4 '11 at 3:42
  • Don’t think it is possible. I’m in the ‘would like’ camp tho. For people who not sure what is meant: On a Mac it’s possible to assign a color to a label by opening the icons context menu and select a color from there. – Mood Aug 4 '11 at 5:43

Post GNOME 3.26 (Tentatively):

Nautilus may get this feature as of GNOME 3.26: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/07/tags-tab-restore-features-coming-to-nautilus

Prior to GNOME 3.26:

This is not possible with Nautilus, but if you use Pantheon Files, you can add colours to your folders.

To install Pantheon Files:


This will only work on supported versions of Ubuntu.
Check the PPA details for which releases are available.

GUI Method

  • Add this PPA: ppa:elementary-os/daily
  • Refresh your sources.
  • Install Pantheon-Files from the Software Center
  • Optionally you can add the Dropbox and/or Ubuntu One plugins.

CLI Method

Run the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pantheon-files

If you use Dropbox or Ubuntu One, you can install the appropriate plugins:

sudo apt-get install pantheon-files-plugin-dropbox
sudo apt-get install pantheon-files-ubuntuone


Pantheon Files

| improve this answer | |
  • On Ubuntu 15.10: Seems like the PPA for Marlin is offline. URL’s 404’s and upon trying install, the package is not found. Also, the pantheon-files package is not found as well after adding the repository and updating. – kleinfreund Jan 5 '16 at 11:06
  • @kleinfreund my apologies. This is an old answer. Marlin is no longer developed, and Patheon Files is only available on supported versions of Ubuntu. You have to check the PPA to see which one. – RolandiXor Jan 8 '16 at 4:18

It is possible to assign additional custom icons to files and folders in Gnome (smaller icons which are overlayed on the "normal" icon of a file or folder). Functionally it is equivalent to color labels from MacOS, I believe.

| improve this answer | |

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