PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Nautilus File Manager (2.x) found in earlier Ubuntu releases running on Gnome 2.x, so will not work in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3. If you want a file manager that has split-pane browsing, install Nemo (which is based on Nautilus 2.x).
Over the years, I’ve seen people asking if you can have a split-pane view in Nautilus, like what some are used to with advanced Windows file managers like the old Windows Commander and current Total Commander (as well as the freeware FreeCommander), and generally the advice has been to install a Linux equivalent like Gnome Commander.
There have been some hacks to get this functionality in Nautilus, but they were often problematic, overwriting user settings or confusing the issue of updating Nautilus. When tabbed browsing appeared, it meant you could drag-and-drop between two tabs in the same browser window, rather than do so between two open windows. While for most of us this was enough, or even unneeded if quite comfortable with dragging between two windows, the missing split-pane view still bugged many power users.
But now that has been rectified in the lastest version of Nautilus, which comes with Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx“. If you look in the View menu, you’ll see the option “Extra Pane“, which splits the window vertically. Even easier, you can toggle the view with the F3 key, switching between single and split view without having to go into the View menu each time.
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