GNOME May Reduce Number of Nautilus’ Sidebar Entries

Ever look at Nautilus’ sidebar and think there are a few too many entries?

GNOME devs have. They’re proposing to prune the number of sidebar location shortcuts the file manager’s sidebar shows by default.

At present the file manager shows 10 shortcuts/bookmarks/locations:

  • Recent
  • Starred
  • Home
  • Documents
  • Downloads
  • Music
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Trash (Wastebasket in my locale)
  • Other Locations

But not all of these locations are frequently visited by users.

I certainly can’t remember the last time I used the “Documents” shortcut – certainly not often enough for it to be always visible. And while I do dip in to “Videos”, “Pictures” and “Music” on occasion I mostly access those via their respective Home folders.

So what’s the plan?

A Shorter & More Configurable List

Nautilus 45 alpha screenshot with red lines crossing out some sidebar locations
A simpler sidebar

“A better design would start with a smaller number of defaults, and allow users to customise which locations are displayed. That way, the sidebar contain a greater proportion of locations that are frequently used,” reasons GNOME’s Allan Day.

The “Documents”, “Music”, “Pictures”, and “Videos” folders are those earmarked for potential deprecation. “Home”, “Recent”, “Starred”, “Downloads”, “Network” (renamed from “other locations”) and “Trash” will remain in the default list.

Before panic sets in at hearing this I should stress that the folders shortcuts link to are NOT going away and will continue to exist in the Home folder (which users can open by clicking on the emblematic folders, just as now), irrespective of whether they’re in the sidebar.

Plus, users are free to re-add these (and other) shortcuts back to the sidebar if they want — a task that will be improved if a new ‘editable sidebar’ mockup gets implemented.

Sensible defaults, innit

It’s all about sensible defaults that work best for most people – arguably the reason d’être for GNOME itself.

Having a lengthy list of locations is helpful, but only to a degree. Shortening the list of default sidebar entries provides a more focused springboard, a cleaner look, and emphasises the usefulness of dynamic locations like “Recent” and “Starred”.

Plus, shortening the list of entries frees up on-screen space in the sidebar which could, potentially, be made better use of, like showing temporary file transfer info.

Of course, nothing has been committed or confirmed regarding this, so consider it all “TBD” for now.

All I Need is “Downloads”, Tbh!

Speaking personally, I have no problems with this suggestion, especially since the idea is to make the sidebar more configurable than it is now so I (and others) can choose what appears.

The only sidebar location I truly need is “Downloads”.

This is the folder I visit the most as it’s where new files, videos, pictures, etc I save from the web go. I should move them to their relevant location after, but I don’t. They stay there cluttering up Downloads, resulting in me struggling to find something when I need it… xD

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