6 ways to open folders in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

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Opening folders in Ubuntu is one of the basic tasks that you do as a normal Ubuntu user. While there are many options, we all have our preferences when accessing folders on our system.

In this article we will explain a few options to you:

  • Open a folder in the file manager (Nautilus)
  • Find and open a folder from the Dash
  • Accessing a Folder From the Command Line (Terminal)
  • Open a folder in the terminal via the file manager
  • Open a folder in the file manager from the command line
  • Access a folder through the file manager as an administrator

We have the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a. executed Ubuntu 04/20 LTS system.

Open a folder in the file manager (Nautilus)

The latest versions of Ubuntu, like Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or Ubuntu 21.04, come with a standard file manager called Nautilus. This open source file manager, created for our GNOME desktops, gives us a way to manage our files and folders.

You can access the Nautilus file manager as follows:

1. Search for the term ‘nautilus‘from the Dash system:

2. Search for the term Files or File manager from the Dash system:


3. Access the file manager via the files icon in the Ubuntu Dock / Activities panel.

File manager in the Ubuntu Dock

The file manager opens in your home folder by default. In Ubuntu, you can open your desired folder by double-clicking it or choosing one of the options from the context menu:advertising

  • Open minded
  • Open in a new tab


  • Open in new window

Open the Ubuntu file manager

Find and open a folder from Dash

Dash Search allows you to open a folder directly instead of searching through the file manager. Just enter the folder name into the dash and the search results will be displayed based on your criteria.

Browse folders with Dash

You can open the corresponding folder with a simple click (see path if several search results are displayed).

Opening a Folder From the Command Line (Terminal)

The Ubuntu command line, the Terminal, is also a non-UI based approach to accessing your folders. You can open the Terminal application either from the System Dash or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.

Here are some of the commands and icons to help you browse folders on the command line:


With the command cd or change directory you can change your directory, ie open a new folder. When you open the terminal you will find yourself in your home directory. The following command will help you open the folder of your choice:

$ cd /path/to/file

Use the cd command

In the image above, we first listed the folders in the current directory using the ls command and then opened the Downloads folder using the cd command. By default, the terminal’s command prompt shows the current folder you are in.

The tilde symbol (`)

The tilde symbol stands for our home directory. You can use this icon in the cd command to change to a folder in your / home /.[user]/ Directory.

In the following figure I open the Snap folder from my home directory and then directly open the Downloads folder from my home directory with tilde:

Use the tilde symbol

The tilde icon here helped me avoid going back to the home folder first and then opening the Downloads folder.


The pwd command stands for print working directory. If you want to know which directory you are in, just use the following command:

$ pwd

The pwd command

The symbol

The / symbol with the cd command helps you open the root folder directly.

$ CD /

The symbol

The symbol

The ‘..’ symbol in the cd command helps you to navigate up one directory level:

$ cd ..

The symbol

The symbol

The ‘-‘ symbol with the cd command will help you go back to the previous folder you were in before navigating to the current folder. You can think of this command as the Previous Channel button on your TV remote control.

In the example below, I was in the / home / user / Downloads folder. Then I used the ‘..’ icon to return to my home folder. Now if I want to go back to the Downloads folder, I can use the following command to get back to the Downloads folder:

$ CD –

The symbol

Open a folder in the terminal via the file manager

To open a folder from the file manager in your terminal application:

Right click on the selected folder and choose Open in Terminal from the menu as follows:

Open the file manager from the terminal

Open a folder in the file manager from the command line

If you are at the Ubuntu command line and want to open a specific folder in the UI file manager, you can do one of the following two ways:

$ nautilus /path/to/that/folder


$ xdg-open /path/to/the/folder

Access a folder through the file manager as an administrator

When working with files and folders as a Linux administrator, we often need to access and edit files and folders that require root privileges. Usually we do this task through the Ubuntu Terminal (the command line utility) with the sudo function. Here is a workaround to do the same through the Nautilus Admin application.

Install Nautilus Admin

The following steps will help you install the Nautilus file manager on your Ubuntu system:

Open the terminal through Ctrl + Alt + T or via the Ubuntu dash.

Run the following command as an administrator:

$ sudo apt install nautilus-admin

Install Nautilus

Enter AND when prompted to use additional space.

Nautilus Admin will be installed on your system. You can open it by typing nautilus in your Ubuntu Dash like this:

Nautilus is now the file manager in Ubuntu

The file manager in your system is now Nautilus Admin.

Open a folder as an administrator

Let’s say you need to open a folder that requires root privileges. You can access the folder through the UI file manager. Right click and then choose Open as administrator from the menu.


In this example we want to access the root folder from other locations. Since this folder requires root privileges, we will access it as follows:

Open file manager as administrator

You will be asked to provide authentication information which will allow you to access the contents of the folder.

By now, you have to master access to your Ubuntu folders from both the command line and the user interface. You can now even open sensitive folders as administrators in Ubuntu.

6 ways to open folders in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS