Howto: Enable Tagging in Ubuntu Gutsy in 4 simple steps

Today marks the release of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. One brand new feature of gutsy is that tracker, a desktop indexer like google dektop, runs by default. Tracker also supports taxonomy for your files and folders but this feature is not yet integrated into gnome. But wait…you can have it anyway in a few simple steps:

  1. Install python-nautilus package:
  2. sudo aptitude install python-nautilus

  3. Download “Tags-Tab”-Extension and move it to .nautilus/python-extensions (you may have to creat this folder)
  4. Restart Nautilus:
    Alt+F2 and type in killall nautilus
    Now you can start tagging files and folders. Simply right-click on the item you want to tag, go to the “Tag”-tap and insert your tags.tagging1.png
  5. Setup Searchfolders
    In order to have your tagged items on your hand when ever you need them, simply go to nautilus click on the search button and type:
    Then go to File->Save search… tagging2.png

Voila, now you can start reorganizing your desktop with tags. I “implemented” some sort of GTD-System with a “next”-tag for files I want to work on in the next days.

Update 29.10.07: User k20878 notes that if this did not work for you, you should try to make both the .py and .pyc files in the
extensions directory executable.

Update 16.02.08: The download link should work again.


55 Responses to “Howto: Enable Tagging in Ubuntu Gutsy in 4 simple steps”

  1. 1 a0peter October 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    This doesn’t work for me. I have downloaded it and put it in .nautilus/python-extensions but nothing happens when I go looking for the tag-tab. How can I troubleshoot this?

  2. 2 Sam October 23, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Fantastic! I’ve been looking for something like this. Can’t wait to try it.

  3. 3 joelotz October 24, 2007 at 3:57 am

    I’m in Feisty Fawn and it isn’t working for me either. I chmod permissions on the dir and file but no go. Anyone have ideas?

  4. 4 zhinker October 24, 2007 at 4:41 am

    This doesn’t work for me either. I restart nautilus but there’s not tag tab in the properties window.

    Doesn’t seem like anyones gotten this to work so far. Are you sure you posted this correctly?

  5. 5 Chris October 24, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Awesome! This is great, thanks.

  6. 6 brib October 24, 2007 at 10:51 am

    For me it worked exactly like that, but I will try to find out why it doesn’t for some people.

  7. 7 k20878 October 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    I got it to work by making both the .py and .pyc files in the
    extensions directory executable.

  8. 8 nullzero October 30, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Maybe need to install python-dev?

  9. 9 a0peter October 31, 2007 at 12:08 am

    What .py and .pyc file, this page only links for an .pyc file?

  10. 10 a0peter October 31, 2007 at 12:35 am

    The python-dev solved my problems. Thanks a lot nullzero!! 🙂

  11. 11 ewanchic November 2, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks. Installing python-dev solved my problem too. And, I was currently using gusty.

  12. 12 Brent Hopkins November 3, 2007 at 12:00 am

    (1) In my case, the proper directory to install into was usr/lib/nautilus/extensions-1.0/python
    (2) In order to do this I had to open the terminal and type
    sudo nautilus . Without sudo I could not paste the file.
    (3) I also installed the python-dev package thru synaptic just in case.
    (4) It works! Cool.
    (5) Does anyone know how to enable Tracker tagging in Konqueror?

  13. 13 Kitano November 4, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Works for me after installing python-dev. Thanks.

  14. 14 Mayuresh November 26, 2007 at 11:12 am

    There is a project on google code that allows to organize files with tags. Take a look at

  15. 15 Steven Shaviro December 4, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I have followed the steps outlined here, and (after also installing python-dev) a “Tags” panel has been added to the Properties that I can get by right-clicking on any file in Nautilus.

    However, Search is unable to find these tags. Searching, whether directly in Nautilus or through the Tracker Search Tool, fails to come up with anything when I type

    What am I doing wrong? or, what else needs to be done?

  16. 16 brib December 4, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    @steven: Did you typed the [ brackets ? If so try without them: tag:tagname

  17. 17 Steven Shaviro December 6, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    @brib: yes, I did type without the brackets, and I observed the proper capitalization for the tags, and still… nothing.

  18. 18 brib December 6, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    @steven: strange. Do you find the files if you just search for the tagname?

  19. 19 Steven Shaviro December 6, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    @brib: No, the search doesn’t seem to find any of the tags (or other metadata for that matter).

    However, I seem to have found a workaround. If I type
    > tracker-tag
    in the Terminal, I do get a list of all the tags, and of how many files are tagged with each tag. But that doesn’t give me the names of the files. So tracker was finding the tags some way or another, even if a tracker search failed to produce them.

    The workaround was to install a program called paperbox. This is a frontend that finds all the tags in tracker and lets me search them.

  20. 20 tich December 20, 2007 at 10:19 am

    this works for me for files on my computer’s hard drive but the preferences doesn’t have a tags tab for files on my external (usb) drive.

  21. 21 brib December 20, 2007 at 11:57 am

    I think trackerd, which is the backend for the tagging, only indexes your home dir, but you can setup more folders in the tracker preferences

  22. 22 David January 9, 2008 at 8:21 am

    I tried this in Ubuntu 7.10 and Nautilus hangs when calling the property pages. Check out the bug-report here:

  23. 23 Ryan March 16, 2008 at 4:47 am

    I installed the python files, as well as python-dev. The properties of zipped files and certain other file-types have a Tag tab, but not txt files or media files. Additionally, the tag tab only appears for files on my desktop, not in my home folder or any other folders as far as I can tell. Any suggestions?

  24. 24 train April 23, 2008 at 9:06 am

    for those of you using ubuntu 7.10, just type the tag name into the tracker search field and the item with that tag should show up at the bottom of the search box. ie. type “photos” without the quotes and without “tag:” to see all documents tagged with the word “photos”

  25. 25 dude May 2, 2008 at 10:45 am

    can you support xp? i wish xp has tagging feature.

  26. 26 "Techie" Jim June 22, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Me = Figured it out.

    First, make sure your file is executable.
    chmod u+x ~/.nautilus/python-extensions/

    Then, and this is very important: Make sure the package “python-nautilus” is installed! That is the package name for Ubuntu Hardy. It should be same/similar for all other distros/versions!

    Now it is working on mine!

  27. 27 fantax December 24, 2008 at 1:23 am

    I found out that if the file you try to tag is not being indexed (stated in Tracker Preferences), then the Tag tab is not available when you view the Properties of the file.

  28. 28 Бронислав January 4, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Занятный пост, очень интересно было почитать

  29. 29 Никита January 5, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Удачи вам! Я думаю у вас все получится 🙂

  30. 30 m4cph1sto January 9, 2009 at 2:02 am

    In Ubuntu Intrepid, this python code is causing nautilus to crash when clicking on file “properties”. dmesg displays a segmentation fault:

    nautilus[6055]: segfault at 4 ip b594bded sp bff3dc30 error 4 in[b58ed000+110000]

    whatever that means… I tried copying the file to either .nautilus/python-extensions or usr/lib/nautilus/extensions-2.0/python and made it executable, both produced the same error. Anyone else having this problem or know of a solution?

  31. 31 Rylan January 18, 2009 at 6:30 am

    yes i have the same problem

    the first time i click properties on a fresh login

    all nautilus window crash

    then the next time the script works and i have a tag tab
    in preferences

    however tracker wont find the tags but
    $traker-tag -l will list them

    if i then do a re-index with tracker the tags made with
    the python script do work in tracker-search-tool

    also if I drag a file from a non tracked folder into a folder tracked
    by tracker and the click properties it will not have the tag tab

    not untill i log off

  32. 32 Rylan January 18, 2009 at 6:48 am


    tracker would not find the tags that were set by the python script

    because i was using a coma and a space to seperate the tags

    like this “tag1, tag2, tag3, …..”

    this will not work

    you must use only commas! like this “tag1,tag2,tag3,…..”

    the script dosent truncate the spaces in the front
    or rear of a tag your entering

    just listen to your hard drive writing to the traker.db file

    as you change this “tag1,tag2,tag3” to this “tag1, tag2 ,tag3”

    dose that help anyone else?

  33. 33 Leonardo C. February 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Doesn’t work for me at all… I’m using Ubuntu 8.10. I’ve installed python-dev and python-nautilus, created ~/.nautilus/python-extensions, copied the file there, made both files +x.

    First time I log in, every time I click on properties of any file, Nautilus crashes. From then on, all goes normal, but no tag tab…. =/

  34. 34 Rylan February 26, 2009 at 2:12 am

    well I had it working as stated above but now I am having the same
    problem as Leonardo C.

    also I tried re indexing and lost all my old tags – which isn’t supposed to happen, luckily I had all the .db files from

    ~/.cache/tracker/ backed up

    But still this will be useless if to backed up .db (data base) files wont merge upon re-indexing

    i386 ubuntu 8.10

  35. 35 Jake March 3, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Didn’t work for me on Ubuntu 8.04. Tags tab simply not showing up in preferences dialog. All correct packages are installed, permissions are set correctly on the file. Not sure what else to do.

  36. 36 Hemanti May 6, 2009 at 1:47 am

    On Jaunty nautilus also crashes reproducibly when clicking on properties. 😦

    Anyone knows any other way to tag files with nautilus?

  37. 37 Maths May 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Finally! After going through all the tips on this page and still getting no result, I got Tag-tab working. My solution was to run Tracker. I have never used it before, so I had to run the indexing tool. No it works just fine. Thanks!

  38. 38 чaтЪлaн4ик May 26, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Благодарю за то что просветили, выводы соответствующие обязательно сделаем. 😉

  39. 39 Rico January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm


    has anyone tried the script with lucid (10.04), or later
    run? I do not get it to run even though I did everything
    was how it was described.

    • 40 Rico January 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      I’ve done it. My Tracker just stopped working.
      Did the following:

      in the terminal (source:
      sudo apt-get install tracker-utils

      Since that’s not enough, I have enabled in software sources, the pre-release updates.

      So that my system has now returned to original performance.

  40. 41 Lawerence Macdaniel January 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Appreciate it!

  41. 42 Dietrol May 4, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Bonjour, brilliant ! Indeed assists my analysis on the case

  42. 43 Travis May 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    This works for me in Natty, except the tag search function. I get no search results at all. Also when I want to tag a file with a tag already in the list, I can’t just click on the checkbox. It won’t fill in the check box until I create a new tag in the list.

    Is there a way to add a tag column in list view? It would be nice to be able to see the tags for each file at a glance.

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  1. 1 links for 2007-10-28 « popsyndikalist Trackback on October 28, 2007 at 10:23 pm
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  3. 3 Ajouter les tags dans Nautilus « Autonomia Trackback on November 24, 2007 at 9:54 pm
  4. 4 burakc » Blog Archive » How to organize the documents Trackback on June 18, 2009 at 1:16 am
  5. 5 Wie aktiviere ich Tagging in Ubuntu? « Trackback on February 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm
  6. 6 Sistema de fitxers amb etiquetes per a GNOME Trackback on June 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm
  7. 7 Nautilus Python Extension Trackback on September 26, 2011 at 1:41 am
  8. 8 Wie aktiviere ich Tagging in Ubuntu? « Blogger Trackback on October 9, 2011 at 7:16 am
  9. 9 Type and Find Your Files | Ever, Ever On Trackback on December 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

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