What graphical interfaces exist to assist the user in searching for files?

  • 1
    This is quite opinion based, and there will be no correct answer. Consider editing your question to be more asking "what tools are there?" rather than "what do you use?"
    – user3
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 11:18
  • 2
    I don't think this needs closing, I've suggested an edit that should do.
    – Lewis Goddard
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 11:35
  • I'm voting to close this question as too broad because there are many, many ways to search for files. I suggest restricting the question in one or more aspects such as searches that don't require an index; command line or GUI; specific kinds of searches (by file name, content, etc.); things that can be done without installing extra software; etc. Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 18:09
  • @Gilles Thanks for your suggestion. I limited my edit to only graphical interfaces. What do you guys think?
    – orschiro
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 6:01

4 Answers 4


I installed gnome-search-tool:

sudo apt-get install gnome-search-tool

Create find.contract in /usr/share/contractor and add to the entry:

[Contractor Entry]
Name=Search Here
Description=Find files
Exec=gnome-search-tool --path=%f %U

After these steps, I can use advanced search in any folder.

contractor search tool

  • This is extremely useful.
    – Lewis Goddard
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 11:31
  • What is the advantage of this over just using Ctrl + f in Files?
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 12:01
  • 1
    More options. For Example "Contains the text". Also, I use Luna :)
    – png2378
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 12:10
  • Can you add a screenshot of the actual tool in action?
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 6:14
  • @RolandiXor updated.
    – crow
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 1:36

The default file manager Pantheon Files has a search option:

  • Open the folder you need to search in
  • Press Ctrl + F and the path bar will show a search glass icon.

    If you just open a folder and start typing your search, the search glass icon appears anyway, but then the search will NOT go within the sub-folders

  • Just type there your search: a list of findings is immediately displayed

  • Don't touch anything!

  • Wait for it to finish without clicking anywhere on the desktop, or the search (and the list of findings) will close if the path-bar (now search bar) loses focus.

enter image description here

Other solutions:


What I don't like about Pantheon Files' search is that the search results are not displayed in a proper window, just a list that is closed when it loses focus.

So, one may use of course other file managers that have a search function, like Nautilus. (I use Nautilus, because it is installed automatically with some applications that I need.) I see no disadvantage in having Nautilus alongside Pantheon Files.


Or you may use other popular search tools like catfish. (gnome-search-tool was already covered in a previous answer). Catfish is present in repos, so use Synaptic, or

sudo apt-get install catfish

That can be added to the context menu in the file manager as indicated in another answer in relation to gnome-search-tool.

With gedit as text editor:

sudo gedit /usr/share/contractor/catfish_search.contract

Paste this:

[Contractor Entry]
Name=Search Here
Description=Find files
Exec=catfish --path=%f %U

Save and close text editor.

  • thanks, It worked on Elementary 5.1.4, I couldn't find gnome-search-tool on apt.
    – funder7
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 16:37

I highly suggest you to try Synapse launcher.

It's basically an alternative application launcher that can search for files as well as applications. It just sits there in wingpanel and gets activated once you press the keyboard shortcut : Ctrl+Space (which you can modify to be anything you want to). You can add and remove extensions so it searches for anything you like.

It comes pre-bundled with a couple of themes. Here's a screenshot of me typing the word elementary in it using one of the pre-bundled themes:

Installation instructions

Here's how to install Synapse in Elementary:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:synapse-core/ppa 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse
  • Thanks! Can you please edit your answer to add how to install synapse on eOS?
    – orschiro
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 10:00
  • You're welcome! I already added the instructions in my answer.
    – r3bl
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 14:33
  • Synapse looks great! Two questions: It does not provide a decent eOS design, does it? Are there any extra extensions that you recommend to install?
    – orschiro
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 8:29
  • Even without the launcher you can install the package synapse (under 0.4 loki at least).
    – lemonslice
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 14:14

If you, like me, prefer K-Find rather than Gnome Search Tool, then install K-Find through sudo apt-get install kfind, run sudo nano /usr/share/contractor/find.contract (see https://github.com/elementary/contractor for more info) and paste the following content:

[Contractor Entry]
Name=Search here
Description=Find files here
Exec=kfind %f

Then hit Ctrl+O (letter 'O', not number '0') to save and Ctrl+X to exit.

To use K-Find, open the folder where you want to locate your file, right click any empty area of the window and click "Search here".


  • Thank you! What makes it better in your opinion than the Gnome search tool?
    – orschiro
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 11:10
  • 1
    You're welcome! Both are nice tools, and they have the same filters. However, when using Gnome Seach Tool, you must select the desired filters on a combo box and go adding filters as you want. With K-Find you have the same filters, but in a tabbed interface. I think it is more "organized" and easier to use. Or perhaps I just prefer K-Find because I've entered the Linux world with the KDE interface lol Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 18:29
  • KDE UI is nice.I think this is a Qt application
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:42

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