“Type ahead search” in Ubuntu 18.04+

Defaults in Ubuntu nautilus

In Ubuntu 18.04, typing in Nautilus file manager makes a deep search through it’s all subdirectories. This is potentially a powerful and convenient tool but, unfortunately, not for me as it doesn’t fit into my workflow. I’m less of the GUI fan and only use a graphical file manager when I need to do some quick drag and drops on file bulks. Typically, if I’m using Nautilus, I’m already in the directory where I need to be and just want to quickly jump to a file/dir by the name. Shortly: yes, bring back the ye olde stuff.

Unfortunately, it seems that Nautilus has removed the type ahead feature a long time ago (2013) and it was the Ubuntu who was patching for its Unity. With the 18.04 we’re back to Gnome so no patches are, and won’t be(?), provided. Maybe at some point, when I have SSD and Ubuntu improves indexing, I’d like to use the deep search but for now, let’s revert this.

Reverting options

For reverting to the type ahead search there are two options:

  1. Use a different file manager. Apparently, Nemo and Caja are reasonable alternatives.
  2. Install a forked and improved version of Nautilus. Steps below are based on OMGUbuntu and AskUbuntu.

Installation:

Installing forked version means adding a ppa to the modified code. The ppa addition doesn’t modify the default one so it’s easily revertable.

  • Add PPA: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead
  • Install/override nautilus: sudo apt full-upgrade
  • Restart Nautilus: nautilus -q

To remove the modified version simply remove the ppa and update apt with

  • Make sure you have ppa purger: sudo apt install ppa-purge
  • Purge the ppa: sudo ppa-purge ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead
  • Install/override nautilus: sudo apt full-upgrade
  • Restart Nautilus: nautilus -q

There you go. The World is better by being the same as before.

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