I'd like to press "Backspace" to go up/back in file explorer as I do in Windows. However, My OS is Debian 9 and I'm using Nautilus(GNOME nautilus 3.22.3) and "Alt + Left Arrow" is assigned for this function. How can I change it? I tried a few methods that used for Ubuntu but they didn't work.

2 Answers 2


Nautilus currently doesn't support shortcut's customization. There are many similar threads as this one with complaints about Nautilus' lack of shortcut customization and the old solutions available don't seem to work in 2020.

Backspace is probably not enabled by default for navigating one folder back because it might create issues when editing a text (for example if you are trying to rename a file/folder), although Microsoft Windows Explorer and even older versions of Nautilus handle it very well.

In my opinion, the current default Alt+ totally kills the usability in navigating through folders on Nautilus when you can't use one hand on the keyboard to move backwards.

One way that I have found to work around is to enable the "Allow folders to be expanded" option on Preferences/Views. This way, you can navigate using and keys.


On https://askubuntu.com/q/289535/676490 are several solutions to this problem.

I used https://askubuntu.com/a/1212889/676490

if [ -f "/etc/debian_version" ]; then
 sudo apt-get install python-nautilus
if [ "$(grep -Ei 'fedora|redhat' /etc/*release)" ]; then
 sudo dnf install nautilus-python
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions
cd ~/.local/share/nautilus-python/extensions
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/riclc/nautilus_backspace/master/BackspaceBack.py
killall nautilus

The file BackspaceBack.py contains:

#!/usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
# by Ricardo Lenz, 2016-jun
# [email protected]

import os, gi
gi.require_version('Nautilus', '3.0')
from gi.repository import GObject, Nautilus, Gtk, Gio, GLib

def ok():
    app = Gtk.Application.get_default()
    app.set_accels_for_action( "win.up", ["BackSpace"] )
    #print app.get_actions_for_accel("BackSpace")
    #print app.get_actions_for_accel("<alt>Up")

class BackspaceBack(GObject.GObject, Nautilus.LocationWidgetProvider):
    def __init__(self):
    def get_widget(self, uri, window):
        return None

I recommend before installing nautilus-python-extensions, to make a basic check if the code looks suspicious like malware. (Don't know if such malware could exist, but I prefer to be on the safe side.)

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