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If there are pictures in folder A, B, C.....Z, how do I automatically set the first picture in each of these folders as its folder icon? Is there a way like a script or something else?

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1. Automatically change folder icon into the first found image inside

The python script below will change the icon of all folders inside a directory (recursively) into the first found valid image file inside the folder.

The script

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import subprocess
import os
import sys

# --- set the list of valid extensions below (lowercase)
# --- use quotes, *don't* include the dot!
ext = ["jpg", "jpeg", "png", "gif","icns", "ico"]
# ---

dr = sys.argv[1]

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(dr):
    for directory in dirs:
        folder = os.path.join(root, directory)
        try:
            first = min(p for p in os.listdir(folder) 
                        if p.split(".")[-1].lower() in ext)
        except ValueError:
            pass
        else:
              subprocess.Popen([
                  "gvfs-set-attribute", "-t", "string",
                  os.path.abspath(folder), "metadata::custom-icon",
                  "file://"+os.path.abspath(os.path.join(folder, first))
                  ])

Download from Pastebin

How to use

  1. Copy the script into an empty file, save it as change_icon.py
  2. In the head of the script, edit, if you like, the list of extensions to be used as valid icon images.
  3. Run it with the targeted directory as an argument:

    python3 /path/to/change_icon.py <targeted_directory>
    

That's it!

2. More advanced

...is to make it a right-click option in nautilus:

enter image description here

The script is slightly different then:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import subprocess
import os

# --- set the list of valid extensions below (lowercase)
# --- use quotes, *don't* include the dot!
ext = ["jpg", "jpeg", "png", "gif", "icns", "ico"]
# ---

# retrieve the path of the targeted folder
current = os.getenv("NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_CURRENT_URI").replace("file://", "").replace("%20", " ")
dr = os.path.realpath(current)

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(dr):
    for directory in dirs:
        folder = os.path.join(root, directory)
        try:
            first = min(p for p in os.listdir(folder) 
                        if p.split(".")[-1].lower() in ext)
        except ValueError:
            pass
        else:
              subprocess.Popen([
                  "gvfs-set-attribute", "-t", "string",
                  os.path.abspath(folder), "metadata::custom-icon",
                  "file://"+os.path.abspath(os.path.join(folder, first))
                  ])

Download from Pastebin

To use

  1. Create, if it doesn't exist yet, the directory

    ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts
    
  2. Copy the script into an empty file, save it in ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts as set_foldericons (no extension!), and make it executable.

  3. Log out and back in, it works.

Notes

  • This will change the icon of all folders inside the right-clicked folder, not of the folder itself.
  • Since os.path.realpath() is used, this also works if the targeted folder is a link.

EDIT

Undo (reset) the custom icons inside a directory recursively

If, for some reason you'd like to reset the icons inside a folder to their default icon(s), use the script below. Simply:

  • copy it into an empty file, save it as reset_icons.py
  • run it by the command:

    python3 /path/to/reset_icons.py <target_directory>
    

The script

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import subprocess
import os
import sys

dr = sys.argv[1]

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(dr):
    for directory in dirs:
        folder = os.path.join(root, directory)
        subprocess.Popen([
            "gvfs-set-attribute", os.path.abspath(folder),
            "-t", "unset", "metadata::custom-icon"
            ])
  • I found that I had to input the full path, such as "/home/user/folderName" – JulianLai Jul 9 '16 at 6:28
  • If they add this function to Nautilus, it will be a better file manager. – JulianLai Jul 9 '16 at 6:43
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Jacob Vlijm Jul 9 '16 at 9:49
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – terdon Jul 15 '16 at 10:39
  • @JacobVlijm instead of first image in the folder can I make it to choose a unique file, for example .folder.png in every folder. this is really helpful for the directories with more than one image. I've been using this script and that's one improvement that I'd love to see in it askubuntu.com/questions/900785/… – Sumeet Deshmukh Apr 30 '17 at 16:10

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