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The Tumbler package contains a D-Bus thumbnailing service based on the thumbnail management D-Bus specification. This is useful for generating thumbnail images of files.


Tumbler has since version 0.1.27 a configuration file to control the priority, locations and file sizes the plugin is used for: tumbler.rc.

To override the default configuration, located in one of the xdg directories on your system, you can copy the rc-file to your $XDG_CONFIG_HOME directory.

NB: $XDG_CONFIG_HOME defaults to ~/.config.

mkdir -p $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/tumbler
cp /etc/xdg/tumbler/tumbler.rc $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/tumbler/

Each group in the configuration file is responsible for the settings of a particular thumbnailer plugin. The following keys can be used to adjust a plugin:


Cover Thumbnailer

By the default the cover thumbnailer is disabled. The reason is that it sends information (movie title extracted from the filename) to online services to retrieve a poster. This information is normally harmless, but it is private, so therefore it's not enabled by default.

In order to use the cover thumbnailer you need to copy the tumbler.rc file to your home directory as described above and set the Disabled key to false. It is also advisable to set the Locations path to the directory where you store your movies.


The movie thumbnailer supports two different movie APIs. By default, the The Open Movie Database API is used. You can also choose to use The Movie DB, but this site requires an API key which you have to request or uh… search.
The advantage of the latter is that their database has better support for internationalized movie names.

After creating the rc file, it is best to log off and on again to restart Thunar and Tumbler, because both applications cache the mime-type combinations.

Desktop Thumbnailer Plugin

As of version 0.2.0, the desktop thumbnailer functionality has been added back into tumbler. This functionality supports custom .thumbailer files placed in the /usr/share/thumbnailers folder.

For example, to create a custom thumbnailer for .dds files, do the following:

  1. Create the appropriate .thumbnailer file:
    [Thumbnailer Entry]
    Name=dds Thumbnailer
    Exec=/usr/bin/convert -thumbnail %s %i %o
  2. Ensure that a dds mimetype exists in your system (you can view mimetypes with the Xfce4 Mime Type Editor). If it does not exist, create the necessary mime file:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <mime-info xmlns="http://www.freedesktop.org/standards/shared-mime-info">
        <mime-type type="image/x-dds">
            <comment>dds file</comment>
            <icon name="image"/>
            <glob pattern="*.dds"/>

    …and run “update-mime-database ~/.local/share/mime”.