The KDE Dolphin File Manager

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I’ve noticed that many file managers in Linux are changing in the way many Linux desktop environments are changing. They are becoming simpler. That is a bad thing. File management has not gotten simpler. If anything, it has gotten more complicated. I need a powerful tool, not a dumbed down stick. That’s why I like the KDE file manager, Dolphin.

Here are a few tips and tricks to tweak the dolphin.

Some of the most obvious things you can do are right in front of you, but this will depend on exactly what version of Dolphin you have. When I open Dolphin, I see a “preview” and a “split” icon on top. The utility of these buttons is obvious, and both are useufl. Note that with preview you can use a scaling bar at the bottom of the window to change the size of the preview.

I also see a “control” button over to the right. That leads to the menu that does most of the work in configuring the software. Play around with it. Below are a few specific suggestions that generally involve diving deepish into the menu structure.

Also, don’t forget to right click on everything until you’ve found out what all the right clicking mojo is. There is a lot of right-click mojo in KDE generally, and in Dolphin in particular.

Adding information to icons in Icon View

Dolphin has three modes for viewing files. One is “details” and to be honest, that’s all I want to know most of the time. But if you use the “Icon view” you may want to see the file size under the filename (below the icon) and the number of files under the folder icon, for each item. Or, you might want other info, like creation date, or file type. If you do, change the view mode to Icon, then under Control pick “Additional Information” and click whatever info you want to appear with the icon.

Obviously this also works with the detailed view to give you new columns on which to sort things. It also works with “compact” mode.

Making all folders behave the same way

One of the nice things about Dolphin, and this is true of many file managers, is that you can set individual folders to have specific behaviors, and those behvaviors will be there when you reopen the folder at another time. You can always change the behavior if you need to. But, an even nicer thing in Dolphin (but not in many other file managers) for some people is this: You can tell Dolphin to “Use Common Properties for All Folders” by going to Control, then Configure Dolphin, then under the “General” page, pick the Behavior tab, then check “Use common properties for all folders” as opposed to “Remember properties for each folder.”

Personally I prefer to have each folder remember its properties, but you may prefer the consistancy across all folders.

Group folders and files

Under “Control” you can select “show in groups.” Interesting things happen. Mainly, the files and folders get grouped up either alphabetically or by time. It is kinda freaky. You might like it.

Panels that show more information

Under Control >> Panel you can select several cool options.

A “details” panel appears on the right, and is like a “properties” tab, with information like file size, type, when it was modified, etc. There is additonal information that depends on file type. A picture will show the size of the picture, a video the length of the video, etc. This panel allows you to add tags and comments, and rate a file.

A “terminal” panel appears down below the file manager. As you switch around between directories, the termnial changes directory (and you can even see the cd [directory] command being implemented).

The “Places” Panel is probably on by default, and that is the strip to the left of the icon or details area. A navigation tree is also a panel, and it apears on the left.

You can resize the panels. And, if you unlock them (right click) you can move them around to a certain extent!

Depending on where on Dolphin you right click, you can bring up a menu with the various panels listed, as well as the main tool bar.

So, one thing you can easily do, is to set Dolphin to show previews, be in a folder with pictures you want to review, then turn off all the panels so your pictures can take up maximum room on your screen. Then you’ve got what acts like a dedicated photo album viewer, sort of.


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One thought on “The KDE Dolphin File Manager

  1. I use the filter feature often when searching for a file or a bunch of files in a folder that has a whole lot of files like the Documents folder.

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