Working with Files and
You've learned to make your way around the file
system now; it's time to get to work. To
, copy, cut, move, or
on files you see in the file manager, you use the
a menu that shows
all the things that you can do to the file in question.
To show the context menu for a given file,
right-click the file's icon (position your cursor over the icon and
click the button on the right of the mouse or
context menu often changes from file to file because it always
displays only the actions that you can perform on the file you
clicked; if you right-click a text file, for example, you see
options associated with text files and the text editor. To see a
context menu in action, right-click
action displays the context menu shown in Figure 5.10.
Figure 5.10. The context menu for text
files is displayed when you right-click the file
You can choose any option in a context menu by
clicking it. Here's what the options in the context menu do:
The first item in the context menu always opens
the file with the application best suited to open it, in this case
the text editor.
You may also see additional Open options that
open the file with alternate applications that may also be useful
for working on the file.
Open with Other Application allows you to
specify your own application to use when opening the file. This
option is recommended for experts only.
Cut File clips the file from the current
directory so that you can move it to another using the Paste Files
Copy File creates an imaginary "copy" of the
file that the file manager will remember; you can then create a new
copy of the original file on disk using the Paste Files
Paste Files becomes active after you use the Cut
File command to remove an item from a directory or the Copy File
command to create an imaginary copy of it. You navigate to a new
directory and click Paste Files in its file manager window to place
the cut or
item in the new location.
Make Link creates a symbolic link to the file.
Although we haven't discussed symbolic links yet, you can learn
more about them by referring to Chapter 7, "Understanding File
Rename is used to change a file's
Move to Trash puts the file in the trash can
shown on the desktop, effectively throwing it away. If you later
empty the trash can (something you'll learn how to do later in this
chapter), the files it contains will be deleted from the disk.
Create Archive is used to create or add the file
in question to an archive file of any common type (for example, a
ZIP, LZH, or TGZ file, suitable for transmission across the
Properties displays properties such as file
, date last edited, and so on, for the selected item.
You learn more about using these and other menu
options in the sections that follow.
Although you work with context menus for files
in this chapter, you can access context menus for many items on the
Linux desktop. Context menu options provide a quick, intuitive
method for managing or manipulating most desktop items in Fedora
Opening an Existing File
To reopen the file
editing in the text editor application, simply double-click its
icon in the file manager window or right-click its icon and select
the first option, Open with Text Editor. The text editor opens, the
file is loaded, and you can now edit and save the file again at
The Open with Other Application option displays
a list of other programs that can be used to open the file. These
other programs include the much more powerful OpenOffice
applications suite, similar to Microsoft Office in many ways; you
learn more about OpenOffice in Chapters 8 through 10.
Cutting, Copying, and Pasting
If you have worked extensively in Word,
WordPerfect, or other common word processing programs, you may be
familiar with the cut, copy, and paste functions. If not, you won't
have any trouble learning to use these functions; they provide a
simple way to move text in a document, but you can also use them to
move files from one directory or location to another in the Fedora
Core 4 file manager.
You can use the Copy File command to copy a file
to another directory without removing the file from its original
location. To duplicate a file, right-click it to produce the
context menu and then choose Copy File. Navigate to the directory
where you want the file's duplicate to appear and right-click any
empty space in the window. In the context menu that appears, choose
Paste Files. A duplicate of the file is created in the currently
displayed directory using the same filename as the original.
You also can use the context menu to remove a
file from its current location and place it in a new directory. To
move a file, right-click its icon and then choose Cut File. The
file manager window displays a notice at the bottom of the window
indicating that the file will be moved when you select the Paste
Files command. Navigate to the directory where you want to place
the file, right-click in empty window space, and choose Paste Files
from the context menu. The file is copied to the currently
displayed directory and then deleted from its original
You can also use this functionality to duplicate
an existing file. To do so, simply copy it and then paste it again
in the same directory. A new copy of the file will be created, as
shown in Figure 5.11.
Figure 5.11. When you create a duplicate
file, the new file is stored with the same name and the word "copy"
Selecting Multiple Files
Many of the context menu and drag-and-drop
operations discussed here can be performed on a number of files
simultaneously. Simply use the file manager to select more than one
file at a time and then click, drag, or right-click on any one of
the selected files to perform the same operation
all of them.
There are two ways of selecting multiple files
at once. The first and
, commonly referred to as using a
, is accomplished by
clicking the left button on your pointing device in an empty area
of the file manager window, dragging the pointer and enlarging the
rubber band to enclose a number of files, and then releasing the
button. Selected files are highlighted to show that they have been
selected. This process is shown in Figure 5.12.
Figure 5.12. Using the rubber band to
select two files simultaneously in
. The selected
files are highlighted.
The other way to select multiple files is to
hold down the Ctrl key while single- clicking each file you want to
select, one by one. Each file you select remains highlighted and is
added to the
of selected files, as long as the Ctrl key is
held down. This method enables the selection of noncontiguous
groups of icons.
Renaming an Item
You can use the Rename command in the context
menu to change a file's or directory's name. After you choose
Rename from the context menu, the icon's filename appears in a text
box, as shown in Figure 5.13. You just type a new name for the file
and press Enter to save the name and exit the text box.
Figure 5.13. The file
is ready to be
; when the filename text box
is active, as shown here, you can type to replace the current name.
Press Enter to save the new name.
When renaming a file, be sure not to change the
file's three-letter extension, if it has one, because doing so
might change the way Linux or other operating systems identify the
To delete a file or directory, choose the Move
to Trash option from the context menu. The selected item disappears
from the currently displayed directory and is moved to the trash
can. Double-click the Trash icon on the Fedora Core 4 Desktop to
view, restore, or permanently delete trashed items (see "Working
with Trash Contents," later in this chapter).
Creating a New Directory
To create a new directory in the currently
displayed path, right-click an area of empty space within the file
manager window. A context menu for the currently displayed
Choose the Create Folder item from the context
menu to create a new directory in the currently displayed
directory, as shown in Figure 5.14. The new directory appears with
, in a selected text box; type a
new name and press Enter to name your new folder.
Figure 5.14. The newly created directory
is given the name
. Type a new name to name
your folder or simply press Enter to accept the default name.
Remember that you don't need to be
: For our purposes, these terms can
be used interchangeably. Typically, when accessed from the command
line or when discussed in the context of the Linux file system,
they are known as
In many desktop applications, however, and in the file manager,
they are called
Rearranging or Sorting Icons
The icons in the currently displayed directory
can be rearranged and re-sorted by right-clicking an empty area of
the file manager window to display a context menu and then choosing
Arrange Items. The submenu shown in Figure 5.15 is displayed.
Figure 5.15. The Arrange Items submenu
enables you to
the way in which the file manager organizes
the display of files and directories in the current directory. A
dot is shown
to the current arrangement style.
Depending on how you want the current directory
to be displayed, you select from the following:
Manually allows you to position the icons as you
choose by dragging them around the window. When this item is
selected, the file manager will not attempt to arrange or rearrange
icons for you at all.
By Name sorts the files in
alphabetical order (from AZ).
By Size sorts the files in descending order,
from largest to smallest, beginning with directories, which are
sorted by the number of items each contains.
By Type groups the files by type (usually
indicated by a file's three-letter extension), sorting
(from AZ) within each type.
By Modification Date sorts the files in order
from the files or directories most recently edited to those least
By Emblems groups the files by the emblems that
have been assigned to them by selecting Properties from the file
Compact Layout causes the icons to be
more closely together, as shown in Figure 5.16.
Figure 5.16. When Compact Layout is
enabled, the icons for the files in the directory are spaced more
Reverse Order causes the ordering of the sorting
listed above to be