How to add a built in search for Thunar using Catfish

One of the things Micro$oft actually did a nice job on was the file search capability that came with their file browser Windows Explorer. You could simply right click on any folder to search. As handy as this was, the same feature does not come with Ubuntu or Xubuntu. Sure there is the "find" command, but having a way to search using the GUI is handy too.

Fortunately there is an easy way to add this feature using a free Linux tool called Catfish. This article will go into how to install and configure Catfish, and integrate it's search capabilities into the Thunar file browser. When finished, you will be able to right click on a folder in Thunar and get an option to recursively search that folder.

search feature in Thunar

Step 1: Install Catfish
If you are using Ubuntu/Xubuntu Hardy, you already have the most recent version in the repositories, so all you have to do to install is run the following in a temrinal:

sudo apt-get install catfish

If you are using Ubuntu Gutsy or older, Catfish will most likely be out of date or missing altogether. So, in that case I recommend you compile it from source so you don't miss out on any features. It's easy to compile -- just make sure you have gettext installed before you begin. You can get download the source tarball for Catfish at the developers site

Step 2. Configuring Thunar to use Catfish Once you have Catfish installed you need configure a custom action in Thunar so you can use this. To do this, launch Thunar and go to:

Edit > Configure custom actions... > then click on the "+" sign on the "Custom Actions" box that pops up.

create action dialog box

Now what you want to do is copy the values below into the appropriate fields.

Configuration Details

Name: Search
Description: Find files or folders
Command: catfish --fileman=thunar --path=%f
Icon: Click on the "No icon" button and then select "action icons" from the drop down box. If you scroll about 2/3rds of the way down you will see a nice magnifine glass icon called "Search" - click on it to select it.(see below)

finding the search icon

When you return to the "Create Action" you want to click on the "Appearance and Condition" tab.

Appearance & Condictions tab

Finally, you want to make sure that there is an "*" in the "File Pattern" field and that "Directories" has a checkmark next to it.

That's it, once you close out any open instances of Thunar and reopen it, you should have a Search option when you right click on a directory.