I can't find the global settings to fix visible columns in the 'Files' file manager. I repeat: Global settings for the whole system thus NOT per directory.

Thanks for helping out.


In nautilus (the 'Files' manager), open the Edit menu and select Preferences.

In the appearing configuration window, navigate to the List columns tab. You should see a list of checkboxes like the one in my screen shot below:

Nautilus / Preferences / List columns

Simply select your preferred default columns you want to see here.

However, if you ever manually changed the columns for a single folder only, that folder got its own configuration, which has a higher priority than the global defaults this method has set. Therefore it won't take effect in these directories.

You must reset the view settings for those directories manually using one of these methods:

  • In the View menu, click Reset view to defaults to reset the current folder's view.
  • Right-click on the column headlines of the current folder, then select Use defaults.
  • To reset all folder-specific view settings everywhere, delete all files in /home/YOUR_USERNAME/.local/share/gvfs-metadata.

    You should do this from a terminal using the command

    rm ~/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/*

    Then restart Nautilus (there's a daemon running in the background as well!) using the command

    nautilus -q ; nautilus -n & disown
  • 1
    Thanks for your prompt effort however this is not the settings changing invisible/visible columns for the whole system but for the currently open directory. :) --- In the past I have been able to set the default setting but forgot how. So what I mean is how to set the default invisible/visible columns settings. – user232365 Dec 21 '15 at 17:48
  • @user232365 See my edit. The method I described sets the default, but it gets overridden by the custom, folder-specific settings you made once. – Byte Commander Dec 21 '15 at 18:00
  • @JacobVlijm I found out how to reset all view settings. It's described here: askubuntu.com/q/164551/367990. I also edited my answer. – Byte Commander Dec 21 '15 at 18:19
  • That's it! Unfortunately, it makes the question a dupe. Not the answer however :) – Jacob Vlijm Dec 21 '15 at 18:23
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    @Matsmath Well, I tried it on 16.04. Maybe the functionality got (re)moved. I think you should ask a separate question, the comments here are not meant for extended discussions. – Byte Commander May 26 at 11:12

For Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Bionic

  1. Open Terminal with Ctrl-Alt-T

  2. Install dconf-tools:

    sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
  3. Open dconf-editor using dconf-editor command.

  4. Go to org/gnome/nautilus/list-view/default-visible-columns. There you can edit the custom value field with the name of the columns you would like to be as the default view for all your folders.

  5. Also, you can go to org/gnome/nautilus/list-view/default-column-order and set the default order the columns will appear as per your desire.


In 18.04.1 and beyond GUI method Click Files then Preferences and you'll get this:

enter image description here

Check the boxes for the information you'd like to see in list view and close the Preferences dialog box.

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