Opening folders in Ubuntu is one of the basic tasks you will perform daily as a regular Ubuntu user. While there are many ways to do it, each of us has our own preferences when it comes to accessing folders in our system.
In this article, we’ll explain several ways you can:
- Open a Folder In the File Manager (Nautilus)
- Search and Open a Folder through the Dash
- Access a folder In the command line (Terminal)
- Open a folder in the Terminal through the File Manager
- Open a folder in the File Manager through the command line
- Access a Folder as Administrator from the File Manager
The procedures in this tutorial are compatible with Ubuntu 22.04 and also Ubuntu 20.04.
Open a Folder In the File Manager (Nautilus)
The latest version of Ubuntu is Ubuntu 22.04, comes with a default file manager by the name of Nautilus. This open-source file manager created for our GNOME desktops gives us a way to manage our files and folders.
You can access the Nautilus File Manager in the following ways:
1. Searching for the term ‘Nautilus’ from the system Dash:
2. Searching for the term Files or File Manager from the system Dash:
3. Access the File Manager from the Files icon in the Ubuntu Dock/Activities panel.
The File Manager opens in your Home folder by default. In Ubuntu you can open your required folder by double-clicking it, or by choosing one of the options from the right-click menu:
- Open In New Tab
- Open In New Window
Search and Open a Folder through Dash
The Dash search lets you open a folder directly, rather than browsing it from the File Manager. Simply type the folder name in the Dash and the search results will display based on your criteria.
Through a simple click, you can open the relevant folder (see the path in case multiple search results shows).
Open a folder In the command line (Terminal)
The Ubuntu command line, the Terminal is also a non-UI-based approach to accessing your folders. You can open the Terminal application either through the system Dash or the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.
Here are some of the commands and symbols that will help you in browsing folders in the command line:
The cd or change directory command allows you to change your directory, or in other words, open a new folder. When you open the Terminal, you are in your home directory. The following command will help you in opening the folder of your choice:
$ cd /path/to/file
In the above image, we have first listed the folders in the current directory through the ls command and then opened the Downloads folder through the cd command. The command prompt of the Terminal, by default, shows the current folder you are in.
The tilde (`) symbol
The tilde symbol represents our home directory. You can use this symbol in the cd command to move to a folder in your /home/[user]/ directory.
In the following image, I will open the snap folder from my home directory, and then directly open the Downloads folder from my home directory by using tilde:
The tilde symbol here has helped me in avoiding going back to the home folder first and then opening the Downloads folder.
The pwd command stands for print working directory. If you want to know the exact directory path you are currently in, simply use the following command to do so:
The ‘/’ symbol
The / symbol with the cd command helps you in directly opening the root folder.
$ cd /
The ‘..’ symbol
The ‘..’ symbol with the cd command helps you in navigating up one directory level:
$ cd ..
The ‘-’ symbol
The ‘-’ symbol with the cd command helps you in going back to the previous folder you were in, before navigating to the current folder. You can think of this command as the ‘Previous Channel’ button on your tv remote control.
In the following example, I was in the /home/user/Downloads folder. Then I used the ‘..’ symbol to go back to my home folder. Now if I want to go back to the Downloads folder, I can use the following command to go back to the Downloads folder:
$ cd –
Open a folder in the Terminal through the File Manager
In order to open a folder from the File Manager to your Terminal application:
Right-click the selected folder and select Open in Terminal from the menu as follows:
Open a folder in the File Manager through the command line
If you are in the Ubuntu command line and want to open a specific folder in the UI File Manager, you can use one of the following two ways:
$ nautilus /path/to/that/folder
$ xdg-open /path/to/the/folder
Access a Folder as Administrator from the File Manager
While working with files and folders as a Linux Administrator, we frequently need to access and edit files and folders that require root permissions. We usually perform this task through the Ubuntu Terminal(the command line utility) using the sudo function. Here is a workaround to do the same through the Nautilus Admin application.
Install Nautilus Admin
The following steps will help you in installing the Nautilus file manager to your Ubuntu system:
Open the Terminal through Ctrl+Alt+T or through the Ubuntu dash.
Run the following command as an administrator:
$ sudo apt install nautilus-admin
Enter Y when prompted about the use of additional disk space.
Nautilus Admin will be installed on your system. You can open it by entering Nautilus in your Ubuntu Dash as follows:
The file manager in your system is now Nautilus Admin.
Opening a Folder as an Administrator
Let us suppose that you need to open a folder that requires root permission. You can access the folder through the UI file manager; right-click and then select Open as Administrator from the menu.
In this example, we want to access the root folder from Other Locations. Since this folder requires root privileges, we will access it as follows:
You will be asked to provide authentication information, after which you will be able to access the contents of the folder.
By now, you must have mastered accessing your Ubuntu folders both through the command line and the UI. You are now even able to open sensitive folders as administrators in Ubuntu.