I would prefer to not have directories sorted before files within the file open/save dialogs. I would like everything sorted by modification date regardless of file or directory.

I have done a fair amount of googleing with trial and error still without a solution.


  • xubuntu 14.04
  • no desktop enviornment, gui started via startx
  • thunar version 1.6.3
  • gtk2 version 2.24.23
  • gtk3 version 3.10.8

I have a solution for GTK applications, and a solution for dolphin. I've never figured out how to fix this for non-GTK applications (e.g., LibreOffice).

For GTK:

  1. Fire up dconf-editor.
  2. Navigate to org/gtk/settings/file-chooser.
  3. De-select the box next to sort-directories-first.
  4. Close the dialog.

For dolphin:

  1. Navigate to Control / Sort by >.
  2. De-select "Folders first" at the bottom of the menu.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: I see someone else asked / addressed this problem here. I mention it because that thread has an easy command-line answer for the GTK+ part:

gsettings set org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser sort-directories-first true
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  • thanks for the reply. I don't have an option sort-directories-first nor do I also don't have dolphin installed. – winchendonsprings Jun 25 '16 at 5:22
  • OK - you don't have dolphin because you have nautilus. They are just somewhat different system file management programs. But to address the GTK issue specifically: try the command gsettings list-keys org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser and see if there is something in there mentioning sorting or directories. The key that exists on my system is sort-directories-first. If that key is there, then try the command-line version I gave above. If not ... you can also try gsettings list-keys org.gnome.nautilus.preferences and look for an equivalent key there. – JD Baldwin Jun 27 '16 at 1:30
  • I have neither nautilus nor dolphin. I have the default xubuntu file manager, thunar. Still no results on the commands either. Thanks though – winchendonsprings Jul 1 '16 at 20:06
  • Thanks! Dolphin default sort order was driving me nuts.... I was searching under preferences/settings/whatever to get it to sort like normal ls... I rarely look at & use "toolbars" -- the option was hidden in plain sight. (Still, it's a stupid UI/usability choice, but it's still better than f'ing nautilus 16.10+, which is completely hozed.) – michael Aug 30 '17 at 23:30

In Thunar just set the option in the (edit>)preferences under view.

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  • This doesn't change the sort order for the file open/save dialogs of firefox or chromium though? – winchendonsprings May 29 '17 at 23:02

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