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Working with Files and Folders

Opening Files

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When opening a file, either via the menu, via the file's context menu, by double-clicking on it, by hitting the enter key, the file manager performs the default action for that file type. For example, opening a text file will display it in the default text editor, while opening an image file will display the image in the default image viewer.

You can set Thunar preferences so that you click once on a file to execute the default action. For information, see the section called Behavior Preferences.

Executing Non-Default Actions

To execute actions other than the default action for a file, select the file that you want to perform an action on. Choose the desired action from the Open With choices available in File menu or an Open With submenu. The choices in Open With will be sorted by a last used criteria, that means that the recently used actions will be listed on top, while the least recently used application will appear at the bottom of the list.

Adding Actions

To add actions associated with a file type, perform the following steps:

  • In the main area, select a file of the type to which you want to add an action.
  • Choose FileOpen With Other Application... from the main menu.
  • Either choose an application in the Open With dialog or select Use a custom command and browse to the program with which you wish to open this type.

The action you have chosen is now added to the list of actions for that particular file type. If you enabled the Use as default for this kind of file option or there was no prior action associated with the type, the newly added action is the default.

You may also add actions using the Open With button under FileProperties....

Modifying Actions

To modify the actions associated with a file or file type, perform the following steps:

  • In the main area, select a file of the type for which you want to modify the action.
  • Choose FileProperties... from the main menu.
  • Select the new default action using the Open With button or add a new action by choosing Open With Other Application... from the drop down menu.

To remove a previously added action for a file type, bring up the Open With dialog as described above, right-click the action you want to remove and choose Remove Launcher.

File Properties

File Properties

The file properties window shows more information about any file or folder in the file manager. With this window, you can also do the following:

  • Change the icon for special files, such as application launchers and URL links.
  • Add or remove emblems for a file or folder.
  • Change the UNIX file permissions for a file or folder.
  • Choose which application is used to open a file and other files of the same type.

To open the file properties window, perform the following steps:

  • Select the file or folder which properties you want to examine or change. You can select multiple items at once and display the properties that are in common to all items currently.
  • Do one of the following:
    1. Choose FileProperties... from the main menu.
    2. Right-click the selected item and choose Properties... from the context menu.
    3. Press Alt-Return.

If there are no files or folders selected, right-clicking anywhere on the whitespace or performing any of the other actions listed above will present the context menu of the current folder that you are viewing.

In the details view, accessing the context menu of the folder works similar, with a few exceptions. As in the other views, you can click somewhere on the whitespace if it is available, that is the view is not full of files. Alternatively, any column except the left-most one is treated similar to whitespace when right-clicking on it and the row you clicked on has not been selected. In any other case, the context menu of the clicked or selected file(s) will appear instead of the folder context menu.

Selecting Files

There are various ways to select files in thunar.

To select a single file, you can simply click on it with the left mouse button. You can select multiple single files by holding down the control key and clicking on the files, or hold down the shift key to select a range of files. Also, with the mouse you can click somewhere in the whitespace and drag a selection box over the desired files.

The details view is special in this regard because it does not support starting the selection from whitespace, only from existing rows. That's due to the way the GtkTreeView widget works that is used for the implementation of this view. To compensate for this, it allows dragging files only by clicking on the “Name” column, that is the one showing the filenames, while starting a selection can be performed by clicking and holding the mouse button in any of the rest of the columns. To put it in a nutshell: If you want to drag or select single files with the mouse click on their names, and if you want to select multiple files with the mouse, start the selection by clicking on and dragging over any of the other columns.

You can also select files by providing a pattern with the keyboard shortcut Control+s or from the main menu EditSelect pattern.... For example, to select all text files, hit Control+s and enter “*.txt” in the dialog.

If you want to find a single file and know the start of the filename, simply start entering the filename in the view. A text box will appear in the bottom-right corner, and if the file exists the view will scroll to it, selecting the file.

Other options are “Select all” (Control+a) and “Invert Selection”, which can be found in the Edit menu.