I would like to to have a "create new document" option in the right-click menu.

Currently it looks like this :

enter image description here

I am using Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS with GNOME 3.20.

  • 3
    Marked as a possible duplicate of this answered question
    – gsxruk
    May 26, 2016 at 9:42
  • Maybe Gnome is trying to be like Mac OS? Because Mac OS also just has "Create folder" and not "Create file/document". Here's Mac OS: imgur.com/a/Hc9aQbX Jun 2, 2019 at 20:54
  • 1
    The simplest solution is to use the single command: $ touch ~/Templates/"New Document" and this brings back the feature of add a New Document named empty file to the directory.
    – Pe Dro
    Apr 6, 2020 at 8:39
  • 4
    ubuntu 20.04 user here, any way to enable this option in desktop? the solutions here only work for file manager Jun 19, 2020 at 15:55

7 Answers 7

  1. See if you have ~/Templates folder2. Create one if it is missing using command:

    mkdir ~/Templates
  2. Now create an empty file from command prompt:1

    touch ~/Templates/Text\ File.txt

The "Create Document" option is back again and you can create a new text file or a new document.

1 The backslash is used to tell the shell that the space following it is part of the filename. Since the shell recognizes spaces as delimiters between commands/options/arguments, unless you "quote it", 'quote it', or quote\ it, the shell will treat whatever comes after the space as a separate argument.

2 The ~/Templates folder is localized, change his name accordingly to your localization (ex: ~/Modèles for French localization).

  • 4
    \ this is because of file name contains space you can use ""
    – HMagdy
    Dec 22, 2016 at 9:25
  • 13
    This should be the correct answer
    – Matteo
    Jun 14, 2017 at 12:57
  • 3
    Is there a way to edit the file's name upon creation ? currently it creates a text file with a default name "Text File.txt"
    – Roey
    Jan 8, 2018 at 9:09
  • 6
    @HassanMagdySaad Upon creation for every file without needing to manually rename it afterwards. This is how it works on MS Windows for any new file or folder with the right-click-menu. Thanks
    – Roey
    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:43
  • 3
    It is now 2020 and Ubuntu 18.04 still has this. This still works just cant believe they are not fixing this in the release.
    – Namphibian
    Feb 3, 2020 at 4:47

You can go into your ~/Templates folder and create templates yourself, then they will appear in the right-click menu. For example:

cd Templates

touch Filename.txt
  • I have the ~/Templates folder and created a newFile.txt there via CLI. still no new file entry in context menu. still does not work for me somehow on ubuntu 18.10 Mar 24, 2019 at 12:53
  • Please change the permission for this folder and file
    – Naveen
    Mar 25, 2019 at 8:47
  • as suggested above, this is not the Templates folder per se, but the localised version. You can get your folder name by running : xdg-user-dir TEMPLATES, in Swedish this is Mallar for example so my output is /home/user/Mallar . Oct 6, 2022 at 13:33

This functionality has been removed from Nautilus 3.20 (either by error or on purpose). There is a bug report on it here. If it turns out to be a bug it will be fixed upstream and then will either be back in 3.22 or backported into 3.20, or if this has been done on purpose then as you can see from the LP bug report they are wanting to make it a distro specific patch.


It seems like when the templates folder is empty this option is disabled. The simplest fix for this problem is to create a file in the templates folder:

touch `xdg-user-dir TEMPLATES`/Empty\ Text\ File.txt

It's definitely a bug as stated.

  • 2
    nice hint about that "xdg-user-dir" tool. it showed me, that my TEMPLATE Variable/Folder/Setting was set to my $HOME only somehow. NOT to my Template folder. However even if i reset this setting to $HOME/Templates it didnt worked for me so far on Ubuntu 18.10 . Mar 24, 2019 at 12:56
  • Same for me. I wonder if GNOME needs to be informed of the update.
    – user643722
    Aug 21, 2021 at 10:08
  • this also translates the folder name to the proper language in my case, perfect. Oct 6, 2022 at 13:31

In the case you are using an ubuntu with a different language that english, first check where your Templates folder is.

vi ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs

And in this file, check for XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR=. In spanish for example you will have something like:


Then you can apply the solution listed in the other answers:

mkdir ~/Plantillas  (or the name listed before)
touch ~/Plantillas/Documento\ de\ Texto.txt

And that is all.

  • 3
    As the remarks in this configuration file states, these entries are set/updated by the ''xdg-user-dirs-update'' cli tool. So i did a ''xdg-user-dirs-update --set TEMPLATES ~/Templates'' to reset my Templates setting to the $HOME/Templates folder within my homedirectory. However... it still does not work for me somehow on ubuntu 18.10 . still no "new document" on my context menu. Mar 24, 2019 at 12:59
  • 1
    Thanks, this did actually work for my Ubuntu 20.04. I tried the other options of creating an empty document, but nothing. Then I find that the Templates variable is set to $HOME. Sigh...
    – John C
    Apr 28 at 15:05

this method didn't quite work for me, items in the Templates folder weren't showing up in the context menu. something needed to be restored about how the system identifies and uses the Templates folder.

to fix this, i installed ubuntu tweak like so:

wget -q -O - http://archive.getdeb.net/getdeb-archive.key | sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu xenial-getdeb apps" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/getdeb.list'
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

and then used this method, namely, delete your Templates folder and then use this method to 'restore' the Templates folder, worked for me in 17.04 on a thinkpad t530:

How can I restore template functionality after having deleted the Templates folder in 12.10?

  • It also wasn't working for me after deleting (and recreating) the Templates folder. A simpler solution than installing Ubuntu-Tweak that worked for me was this one.
    – Garrett
    Jul 10, 2019 at 9:16

You can also use the LibreOffice 'Save As' feature to save an empty Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation or Drawing in the same way. Using touch to create files won't work (didn't for me anyway) since ubuntu still recognises them as text files. So you can have any type of new file available if you set up the right template for it, not just text files.

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