How To Make Xfce’s File Manager Thunar More Usable

Easily add some useful functionalities to Thunar and enrich your overall Xfce experience.

Updated Sep 29, 2016How To's
Make Thunar more usable

No doubt Xfce is one of the most customizable desktop environments Linux ecosystem has to offer.  However, out of the box it may sometimes have the tendency to be a bit lacking.

That’s why in this short Tutorial I’d like to teach you how you can easily extend Xfce’s file manger functionality so that Xfce in general would become a lot more featureful for you.

1) Search

Requirements:

  • Catfish – a GUI search tool
  • mlocate – a CLI search tool

To add a search functionality to Thunar simply open it up and click on Edit from the top menubar, then select Configure custom actions… > click the Add new custom action button and in the dialog that opens fill in the following details:

Name: Search

Description: Search for files and folders

Command: catfish –path=%f

Icon: choose whatever you like or leave empty

Now click on the Appearance Conditions tab and fill the following:

File Pattern: *

Appears if selection contains: Directories

That’s it, click OK button.

Add Thunar search

2) Open A Root Thunar Here

Requirements:

  • gksu – a gtk+ frontend for integration of su into applications

To add the ability to open Thunar with root user privileges right from the same location you’re in on regular user Thunar, once again, open it up and click on Edit from the top menubar, then select Configure custom actions… > click the Add new custom action button and in the dialog that opens fill in the following details:

Name: Open A Root Thunar Here

Description: Opening a root Thunar

Command: gksu thunar %f

Icon: choose whatever you like or leave empty

Now click on the Appearance Conditions tab and fill the following:

File Pattern: *

Appears if selection contains: Directories

That’s it, click OK button.

Add open Thunar as Root

3) Edit Text Files As Root

Requirements:

  • gksu – a gtk+ frontend for integration of su into applications

To add the functionality of opening a text file you want to edit with root previliges, open up Thunar and click on Edit from the top menubar, then select Configure custom actions… > click the Add new custom action button and in the dialog that opens fill in the following details:

Name: Edit As Root

Description: Edit selected file as the root user

Command: gksu -l mousepad %f

Icon: choose whatever you like or leave empty

Now click on the Appearance Conditions tab and fill the following:

File Pattern: *

Appears if selection contains: Text Files, Other Files

That’s it, click OK button.

Thuanr add edit as root

*Bonus: Thunar Hidden Functionality

When opting for the Pathbar style in Thunar’s location selector you may feel uncomfortable for the loss of the back and forward buttons.

Yet do not despair, for there’s a not so widely known functionality that can compensate for that.

Use the 3rd mouse button (typically the wheel) gestures in order to quickly invoke the very same functionalities you’ve lost:

Hold it down and drag – right for forward, left for backward and down to reload. :)

COMMENTS (beta 4)

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3
Mike 3 mons ago
The command should be: 
catfish --path=%f

Notice the two dashes before path.
2
cmcanulty Jul '16
Is there a hack to add the option to permissions to make a file executable? I keep nautilus just for that. Nice article!
1
George Vasiliou Jul '16
I just could not comment that Thunar is nice, but lucks support for touch screen enabled laptop - very popular nowdays. On the other hand, similar file managers like Caja do support touch screens (i.e scroll down the files list with your finger).

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