Table of Contents

Custom Actions

Thunar allows users to add custom actions to the file and folder context menus (by the use of the thunar-uca plugin, part of the Thunar distribution, in the plugins/ subdirectory). You can set up new actions in the Custom Actions dialog, available via the Configure custom actions... item in the Edit menu.

This page serves as an introduction to the Custom Actions plugin, and includes a list of useful examples.

Adding a Custom Action

This section provides a step-by-step introduction to the Custom Actions plugin, demonstrating how to add a Print File action, which uses xfprint to print text files. We start by opening the Custom Actions dialog as explained above. In the dialog, click on the first button in the list of buttons (the one labeled with the +). The Create Action dialog will appear, as shown in the screenshot below.

Create Action Dialog

On the first page, enter Print File in Name: and Print the selected file using xfprint in Description: Enter xfprint4 %f for the Command: (the %f will be replaced with the path to the selected file, as explained in the dialog), and select an icon by clicking Icon: (in the screenshot the printer-symbolic.svg icon was used).

Thunar seems to do the sensible thing when passing file/folder names with spaces in them, so don't worry excessively about putting single or double quotes around the “%” placeholder.

Now, continue with the second page (the Appearance Conditions page).

We want to create an action that is only applicable to text files, so select the Text Files options and unselect the options for the other file types. Next you can specify a File Pattern to display the action only for text files that match a certain pattern. In the example, we set the file pattern to * (which matches all filenames) to indicate that the action should be displayed for all text files.

That's all. Click OK to close the Create Action dialog. The new action, labeled Print File will appear in the Custom Actions list.

Now close the Custom Actions dialog, select a text file in Thunar and open the context menu (right-click on the file icon). The newly created Print File action will appear in the context menu, as shown in the screenshot below.

Custom Actions Dialog

Use mnemonics to open Thunar Custom Actions

When you create a Thunar Custom Action you can set the name with an underscore “_” before a letter to use it as mnemonic. When you right click in a Thunar view, you can type the letter to access your custom action.


Here are a few useful examples of custom actions. Feel free to extend this list.

Finding files in the current folder

Note: For this action, you'll need to have gnome-search-tool installed, which is part of the gnome-utils package. This program also has a lot of other nice command-line options which you could use to create even more specialized actions.

Finding files in the current folder with catfish

Note: For this action, you'll need to have catfish installed, which is part of the catfish package.

Finding files inside the selected folder with catfish

Note: For this action, you'll need to have catfish installed, which is part of the catfish package.

Working with archives (tar, gzip, etc)

Hint: You may prefer the Thunar Archive Plugin, which does pretty much the same thing with less manual setup required on your part. It's either included with your distribution (in the case of Xubuntu), or available as a separate package (thunar-archive-plugin in Debian Etch). You might also need the xarchiver or “squeeze” package for things to work quite right.

Playing music files

Hint: Works exactly the same with Audacious.

Burning an ISO file to a CD

Viewing images

Note: This tip also works just as well with GThumb

Converting PNGs to JPEGs

Hint: `basename %f .png`.jpg (be careful–those are backticks) will strip the old .png extension off of the original filename.

Losslessly Rotating JPEGs

Note: jpegtran is available as part of the libjpeg or libjpeg-progs packages of most distributions. Unlike using “convert”, the complicated loop structure is necessary with “jpegtran”: “jpegtran -rotate 90 -outfile %F %F” will produce a 0kb file.

Here an example how rotation can be scripted with “convert”.

Opening a terminal

Note: You might need to type xfce4-terminal instead of just terminal for some distributions.

Opening a root terminal

Note: You should rewrite the command with normal straight quotes.

Opening a root Thunar

Note: Some distributions no longer include gksu. Use pkexec instead.

Editing as root

Note: You'll need to replace put-your-favourite-text-editor-here with your favourite text editor (e.g. mousepad or geany). Also, see previous note about gksu.

Saving the selected file/folder's pathname to the clipboard

For fans of the Windows “SendTo Extensions” power toy. This tip requires the xclip program, which you may need to install using your distribution's package manager.

Setting an image as the desktop background

Viewing the disk usage of the current directory

Note: The idea is to get a visual picture of the current directory and any subdirectories. You could also use fsview or filelight, but the visuals are crisper in baobab.

Using 'nano' text editor

Since nano isn't a GUI app, you must start it in a terminal window.

Comparing selected files/directories

Note: You will need the meld package.

Changing OpenDocument-supported formats

Note: You will need unoconv package for all following actions.

You can go on, try man unoconv for details.

Download subtitles with periscope

Note: You will need python-periscope package. Get it here. You'll also need zenity package. This command will try to get the English subtitles, change -l en to something else (fr, de, pt-br, …). You should rewrite the command with normal straight quotes.

Rename subtitles easily

Note: You will need subrnm script. Get it here. You'll also need zenity package.

Move files into a new folder

Note: You'll will need the zenity package.