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Ubuntu: search file [Guide]

Are you trying to find a file on your Ubuntu PC? Want to search for it but don’t know the first thing about searching for files on Linux? We can help! Follow along as we go over various ways to search for files on Ubuntu!

Ubuntu: search file – Ubuntu file manager

The Ubuntu file manager that comes included with the Gnome desktop is the most efficient way to search for files. It has a robust search that can find pretty much any file or folder, even if they’re in system folders.

To search for a file using the Ubuntu file manager, start by launch the file manager. You can launch it by pressing Win on the keyboard, typing out “Files,” and launching the app with the “Files” name.

Once the Ubuntu file manager is open and ready to use, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to search for files.

Step 1: Locate the search button in the Ubuntu file manager. If you cannot find the search button, it is right next to the folder path. Click on the search button with the mouse.

Step 2: When you’ve selected the search button with the mouse, the folder path area in the Ubuntu file manager will become a search box. Using this search box, type out your search term.

For example, to find a video named “test.mp4,” type out “Video.mp4” in the search box.

Step 3: Once you’ve typed out your search term, the Ubuntu file manager will instantly show results. If you do not see results, try searching again. For best results, always start a search from the “Home” folder.

Step 4: When you’ve found the file you’ve been searching for, right-click on it in the search results. After right-clicking on the item, locate the option “Open Item Location” and select it.

By clicking on “Open Item Location,” the Ubuntu file manager will instantly take you to your item’s location on the computer.

Ubuntu: search file – Gnome Search

Another way to search for files on the Ubuntu desktop is the “Gnome Search” feature built into the default Ubuntu desktop environment, Gnome Shell. It can scan your entire computer for various files and folders.

The Gnome Search function is handy, especially if you want to find something quickly and don’t want to fuss around with external programs to locate the item you need. Here’s how to use it.

Step 1: Press the Win key on the keyboard to open up Gnome “Activities” mode. Activities mode is where you will find the Gnome Search feature. 

Step 2: Once inside of “Activities” mode, start typing your search term. For example, to locate “test.txt,” you’d type out “test.txt.” Or, to find a folder, say “test folder,” you’d type “test folder.”

Step 3: After typing out your search term into the search box, you should start to see search results appear in Gnome “Activities” mode next to “Files.” From here, click on the item in the search results.

When you click on an item in the search results, Ubuntu will launch it in the default program. If it is a folder, it will show it to you in the Ubuntu file manager.

Ubuntu: search file – Catfish

Another way to search for files on Ubuntu is with the search tool Catfish. It works as a front-end for the terminal app Mlocate and is very powerful. It’ll be able to find any file or folder you specify!

Unfortunately, Catfish is only pre-installed on Xubuntu, and not all Ubuntu flavors. As a result, we must quickly go over installing the app before showing you how to install it.

To install Catfish, open up a terminal window. Once the terminal window is open, use the following apt install command below to get the program up and running.

sudo apt install catfish

Once the Catfish app is installed, launch it by searching for “Catfish” in your app menu. With the app open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to search for files on Ubuntu.

Step 1: Find the search box in Catfish, and click on it with the mouse. After clicking on the search box, press the Enter key to start searching.

Searching may take a couple of seconds, depending on how many files match your query. Sit back and allow the search.

Step 2: When the search is complete, Catfish will display results on the screen. Look through the results for the item you were searching for. Then, right-click on it to bring up the right-click menu.

Step 3: Inside the right-click menu, locate the “Show in file manager” button and click on it with the mouse. By selecting this option, you’ll be able to access it in the file manager. Alternatively, double-click on the search result to open it up in the default program.

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