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How to customize the search results in Gnome Shell

Gnome Shell has a robust search feature that allows users to find everything from the weather to browser bookmarks, files, and more directly from the app menu. But did you know that you can add your custom search locations to Gnome?

In this guide, we’ll show you how you can customize the search results in Gnome Shell to add custom search locations, turn search features off, and more.

Adding custom search locations in Gnome Shell

Gnome Shell has a lot of search locations and providers enabled by default. However, adding custom search locations from anywhere on your PC to the search system is also possible.

To add a custom search location in Gnome Shell, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Press the Win key on the keyboard to open up the search box. Then, type in “Search.” Upon typing “Search,” select the icon that says “Control which applications show search results.”

Step 2: You’ll see a long list of enabled search results inside the search window. Locate the “Search locations” button inside of the search window. This area is where all custom searches are added to Gnome Shell.

Step 3: Scroll down inside the “Search Locations” windows for “Others.” Then, click on the “Add Location” button.

Step 4: After selecting the “Add Location” button, a pop-up window will appear on the screen. Browse for the folder on your system that you wish to add to the Gnome Shell search locations.

Step 5: Once your custom location is added to Gnome Shell, it will appear under the “Others” section. Repeat steps 3-4 to add multiple custom search locations to your Gnome Shell search.

Removing custom locations

If you’ve added custom locations to Gnome Shell and no longer wish for them to appear in your search results, do the following.

Step 1: Press the Win key to open up the Gnome Shell search function. Then, type in “Search” and click on the icon that says “Control which applications show search results.”

Step 2: Find the “Search Locations” section in the Search window and click on it with the mouse. Clicking on this button will take you to the “Search Locations” area of the Gnome Shell desktop.

Step 3: Inside the “Search Locations” area, scroll down and find the “Other” section. Click on the “X” button to remove the custom search location. Alternatively, click on the slider next to the custom location to temporarily disable it.

Repeat steps 2-3 to remove all of your custom search locations from Gnome Shell. Note that you may need to log out for the changes to take place fully.

Removing existing search plugins in Gnome Shell

There are a lot of existing search plugins built into Gnome Shell. These search plugins add usefulness to Gnome Shell and can help you quickly find a file, locate a contact, check the time, find a browser bookmark, run a terminal command, search for exciting software, etc.

Below is a list of each search plugin for Gnome Shell. Each of them can be enabled or disabled independently of the other.

  • Contacts
  • Files
  • Boxes
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Characters
  • Clocks
  • Firefox
  • Photos
  • Settings
  • Software
  • Terminal
  • Weather

In addition to all application search plugins available by default in Gnome Shell, there are also “Search Locations.” These “Search Locations” are the default folders for the user, like “Documents, Music, Pictures, Downloads, Videos, and Home.”

If you wish to turn off any of these existing search plugins or search locations, you can follow these instructions.

Turn off app search results

Open up the Gnome Shell search area by pressing the Win key on the keyboard.  Once the search window is open, type in “Search,” then click on the icon that says “Control which applications show search results.”

Find “Search Results” and look through the individual search plugin you wish to disable in the search area. For example: to disable Photo search in Gnome Shell, find “Photos” and change the slider off.

Alternatively, if you wish to shut off all application search results in Gnome Shell, find the “Application Search” slider at the top of the search window and click it. Selecting this will fully disable all app search features.

Turn off folder search results

Want to turn off folder search results in Gnome Shell? Open up the search area by clicking on the icon that says “Control which applications show search results.” Then, find “Search Locations.”

Inside the “Search Locations” area, find “Places,” and disable the locations in the menu you wish to shut off. Alternatively, turn off all locations under “Places” to shut all folder search results off.


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