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Tumbler - Thumbnail Service


Tumbler is a D-Bus service for applications to request thumbnails for various URI schemes and MIME types. It is an implementation of the thumbnail management D-Bus specification described on


written in an object-oriented fashion using GLib and GObject. Its modular architecture makes it very flexible and useful in many situations. It provides plugin interfaces for extending the URI schemes and MIME types for which thumbnails can be generated as well as for replacing the storage backend that is used to store the thumbnails on disk. Tumbler's functionality can also be extended via specialized thumbnailer services implemented in accordance to the thumbnail management D-Bus specification.

Tumbler is used by Thunar, Ristretto, Xfce.


You can override the default cache directory $HOME/.cache in which, besides other non-essential files, thumbnails are stored:

  • D-Bus/ systemd
    • create a file below ~/.config/environment.d/ and inside set XDG_CACHE_HOME. E.g:
    • XDG_CACHE_HOME=$HOME/.my_new_cache
  • Other
    • Extend $HOME/.profile, $HOME/.bash_rc or similar
    • export XDG_CACHE_HOME=$HOME/.my_new_cache

After that, re-login, make sure the variable is set, and check if it works fine.

Tumbler has a configuration file tumbler.rc described in a dedicated page.

Available Plugins

Tumbler allows to load a number additional tumbler plugins to support different file formats. Most plugins are loaded by default, if the required libraries are provided.

Standards compliance

Debugging Support

As with all Xfce components, you can set debug support at compile time, but this is more likely to be of interest to developers or package maintainers.

To get debug logs at runtime, starting with Tumbler 4.17.0 (first stable release 4.18.0), you can do the following:

pkill tumblerd
G_MESSAGES_PREFIXED= G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=all $(pkg-config --variable=libdir tumbler-1)/tumbler-1/tumblerd

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Required packages

Tumbler depends on the following packages:

  • GLib >= 2.66.0

Tumbler can optionally use the following packages:

  • gdk-pixbuf >= 2.40.0 (various image formats, some of them requiring the installation of optional libraries specific to gdk-pixbuf; also required for all other plugins below)
  • FreeType >= 2.0.0 (font)
  • A libjpeg implementation (e.g. libjpeg-turbo)
  • FFmpegthumbnailer >= 2.0.0 (video)
  • GStreamer >= 1.0.0 (video)
  • Poppler >= 0.12 (PDF/PS)
  • libgsf >= 1.14.9 (ODF)
  • libopenraw >= 0.0.4 (RAW images)
  • libpng >= 1.2.0 (for the Thumbnail Managing Standard storage backend)
  • libgepub >= 0.6.0 (EPUB)

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Latest Release

  • tumbler 4.19.1 released (2024/02/05 19:59)


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Source Code Repository

Reporting Bugs

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