One of the reasons why I sometimes envy Windows users is that under Windows, most applications use the native file chooser, which is quite usable.

Under Linux, this depends on the toolkit. For Qt/KDE programs, I get something reasonable with a user interface I understand. However, for GTK programs (e. g. Thunderbird), I get this abomination:

GTK file chooser example

There are two things that make it an absolute pain for me to use:

  • The address line at the top is not editable. So I cannot quickly type or paste a path like in other file choosers. Sometimes with these breadcrumb-style navigation bars, you can click in the empty area of the line to get a simple text input instead, but this doesn't work here. Also, there's no context menu if I right click anywhere.
  • If I just type some letters, I expect to jump to the first file in the current view that starts with these letters. The GTK dialog instead thinks it has to do a recursive search for the typed text. For me, this usually takes too long and it's also not helpful in many situations.

I would like to know there is some trick to using this dialog that I'm not aware of. My usual use case is that I already know the full path and usually have it available for copy & pasting in an open terminal window.

Things that I'm not looking for:

  • I know that you can add favorites to the left navigation bar, but to me that's just more work in managing them.
  • I know that many programs allow you to specify a file to edit/open on the command line. I already do that whenever possible.
  • Navigate file easily in Linux GUI Apps? is too generic and the GTK file chooser shown in one of the answers seems to be different from what I get.
  • 2
    To edit the address bar you can use Ctrl-L, is that enough? Feb 8, 2020 at 10:19
  • @MunzirTaha: That's amazing and exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Care to make it an answer?
    – wrtlprnft
    Feb 8, 2020 at 15:49
  • Pleased to see this solved your issue. I also added more shortcuts to the answer. Feb 8, 2020 at 20:06
  • Pleases don't forget to accept the answer since it resolved your question.
    – MountainX
    Feb 8, 2020 at 20:29
  • You say you envy windows and then complain about recursive search which windows has and GTK file chooser also has by default (until now because people like you complained). If you don't want recursive search, you can use the / key or press CTRL+L. I'm beginning to think you all are microsoft trolls trying to make linux less functional by complaining about basic modern features so people will consider windows a more functional and modern alternative.
    – mchid
    Oct 22 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


There are known shortcuts to edit the location bar: Ctrl+L, /, ., ~.

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