The Nautilus file manager is just one of the many file
managers available for the Linux desktop. Although it may not be the most
powerful or flexible, it is the default tool for Ubuntu Unity and GNOME

Out of the box, Nautilus has enough features to make it highly usable
and user-friendly. One of those features is the included bookmarks system. Just
like bookmarks in your web browser, you can save locations within Nautilus that
enable you to quickly get to your most-used locations on your file hierarchy.
There are a number of ways you can work with bookmarks, and I’m going to show
you them all.

You can bookmark the following:

  • Local directories
  • Directories on connected external drives
  • Network drives via SMB

The bookmarking process can be done through both the
Nautilus GUI or by editing the flat-text configuration file. I’ll illustrate
how this is done via the config file first, then we’ll move onto the GUI.

The configuration file for the Nautilus bookmarking system is
~/.config/gtk-3/bookmarks. Open that file in your favorite text editor, and
you’ll see the structure looks like:






The format of the configuration line should be easy to
figure out. For SMB shares, the structure looks like:



  • IP_ADDRESS is the IP address location of the SMB
  • SHARE_NAME is the name of the share
  • SHARE_BOOKMARK_NAME is the human-readable name
    for the bookmarking

You can add as many bookmarks as you like within this
configuration file. As soon as you save that file, the bookmarks will
automatically appear in the bottom left pane of the Nautilus file manager (Figure

Figure A



Bookmarks appear in the bottom left pane of Nautilus.

Now that we’ve brought the GUI into the picture, let’s see
how bookmarks are handled there. There are a couple of ways you can add
bookmarks to Nautilus. The first is with a keyboard shortcut. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate
    to the location you want to bookmark
  2. Press
    the [Ctrl]+[D] key combination
  3. Check
    the lower left pane to make sure the bookmark appears

That’s it.

You can also use the GUI like so:

  1. Navigate
    to the location you want to bookmark
  2. Click
    on the gear icon in the upper right corner
  3. Select
    Bookmark This Location
  4. Check
    the lower left pane to make sure the bookmark appears

Moving bookmarks

Let’s say the location of a bookmark has changed or you
just want to re-order the bookmarks as displayed in Nautilus. To manage this,
open up Nautilus and then click File | Bookmarks. From within this new
window (Figure B), you can rename bookmarks, re-locate bookmarks, and
re-order the bookmarks as they appear in the bottom left pane of the file

Figure B



The Nautilus Bookmarks window is where you can manage
current bookmarks.

Renaming a bookmark only changes the human-readable name
that appears in the file manager. To do this, select one of your bookmarks from
the Bookmarks window and then change the Name field to reflect exactly what you
want it to be. There is no need to “save,” because the changes are automatic.

From that same window, you can re-order the bookmarks as
they are seen in Nautilus. This is done by simply selecting the bookmark (in
the Bookmarks window) and then clicking either the up or down arrow (depending upon how you want the bookmark to move) until the bookmark is in the
correct location. Again, no saving is necessary.

Finally, you can re-locate a bookmark in this window. If you’ve moved your Documents folder from ~/Documents to /media/DATA/Documents
and you want the bookmark to reflect this, just open the Bookmarks window,
select that particular bookmark, and change the path (no saving necessary).

One hiccup

I’ve come across instances where all bookmarks disappear
from Nautilus. I can’t explain why this happens, but when it does, there’s a a
simple trick to get them back.

  1. Open
    up Nautilus
  2. Create
    a new bookmark
  3. Watch
    your bookmarks re-appear
  4. Go
    back into the Bookmark window and remove the newly created bookmark (unless you
    want to keep it)

That should do it.

I’m a big fan of using anything to save me time. The
Nautilus bookmarks feature is one such time-saving tool. Once you get used to
using them, you’ll wonder how you ever worked with a file manager that didn’t
have bookmarks. 

What file manager do you prefer? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.