User-defined keyboard shortcuts in Nautilus

In this post I describe how to add arbitrary keyboard shortcuts to the Nautilus file manager using its extension API. I really like Nautilus, it has a clean interface and lots of features under the hood. One of the things I was missing coming from the world of orthodox file managers was an embedded terminal which can be shown/hidden with a simple keyboard shorcut. Recently there appeared an extension called Nautilus Terminal that provides exactly this. It is quite good and I highly recommend to give it a try. However I was not entirely satisfied with it because of inability to use some usual shortcuts such as Ctrl+L, although you can use Ctrl+Shift+L instead. Also if you change a directory in Nautilus the embedded terminal is closed and a new one is opened in a new location. So you can't really have anything running in a terminal and at the same time browse the directories.

After some googling I've found another nice extension called nautilus-open-terminal which allows to open a terminal through a context menu. It is not bad but I would prefer a keyboard shortcut instead of the context menu. After some experiments I've found a hackish way to implement this by (ab)using LocationWidgetProvider. If you know a better way please tell me about it in the comments section below.

So here is a Python script that does the trick:

import gconf, gtk, nautilus, os, pipes, urllib
TERMINAL_KEY = '/desktop/gnome/applications/terminal/exec'
class ShortcutProvider(nautilus.LocationWidgetProvider):
    def __init__(self):
        self.client = gconf.client_get_default()
        self.accel_group = gtk.AccelGroup()
            ord('o'), gtk.gdk.CONTROL_MASK, gtk.ACCEL_VISIBLE,
        self.window = None
    def run_terminal(self, accel_group, acceleratable,
                        keyval, modifier):
        filename = urllib.unquote(self.uri[7:])
        terminal = self.client.get_string(TERMINAL_KEY)
        os.system(pipes.quote(terminal) + ' &')
        return True
    def get_widget(self, uri, window):
        self.uri = uri
        if self.window:
        self.window = window
        return None

To enable this extension first install the python-nautilus package (sudo apt-get install python-nautilus in Ubuntu), then copy the script to the extensions install path, e.g. ~/.nautilus/python-extensions/ and restart nautilus with the nautilus -q command. This script redefines the Ctrl+O shortcut to open a terminal. It can be easily adjusted to use a different key combination or to define several shortcuts with different actions. For example this script defines Ctrl+O to open a terminal and Ctrl-G to open gitg in the current directory of Nautilus. It also adds Compare… to the context menu when two files are selected.

Update: I've ported the script to Nautilus 3. The new version can be downloaded from here. Note that the script requires at least version 1.0-0ubuntu2 of the python-nautilus package.

Last modified on 2011-02-18