For example when I try to save the destination of a link in firefox or save a copy of a pdf file in evince I get the following dialogue.

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I find it annoying that I have to do some clicks (for example the tmp button and that to its left in my example) to select the folder. So is there a way to do this with keyboard only with some kind of tab completion?

Perhaps it's just changing a key in gconf perhaps it is possible to replace the saving dialogues by something better.

1 Answer 1


The usual TAB doesn't work because it's bound to tab completion in the filename field. You can CTRL+TAB out of it and then TAB onwards (with or without CTRL once you're out of the name box) and then use the keyboard from there on (arrows/space).

That said, if you just select all the text in the name box (CTRL-A) and type a pathname like /home/ (with both slashes) and press enter, the dialog switches to the correct folder, which is my preferred way of doing it. If you know exactly where you want to save you can also just enter an absolute pathname in the name box, once you've typed the initial / you even have tab completion for folders.

So to save something as /home/Bristol/Downloads/a.pdf I can do [CTRL+A] (select all) / h [TAB] B [TAB] D [TAB] a.pdf [ENTER]

Note: This works on my Ubuntu 10.04/Gnome 2.30.2 system, I think it applies to all of Gnome but I'm not sure.

  • Thanks. However your method seems to depend on how fast I do it, let's take your example: After pressing [CTRL+A] /h pressing [TAB] works if I do it very very fast, otherwise it just selects the next GUI element and the textfield looses focus. Is there a way to adjust this "time limit"?
    – student
    Jul 20, 2012 at 14:35
  • I'm afraid I don't know of any way to adjust this. On my system (Gnome 2.30.2) I can type /h, wait 10 seconds and TAB will still autocomplete fine. Most likely this behaviour varies a bit between Gnome versions, according to some threads discussing this issue it also depends on whether you have a clipboard manager installed and which one.
    – user21105
    Jul 23, 2012 at 11:09

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