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I am looking for a solution that will let me search for/bring up multiple files at once in a file manager/browser on Linux, preferably either Nautilus or Nemo.

I am running Linux mint 19.2 and have a file tagging system already in place called TMSU, with it I can tag files and use its built-in command to search for files with certain tags. This search command returns an array of strings that's a relative file path to the matching files. This, however, is only within the terminal. I am looking for some way of taking this into a file manager/browser. So my thought was to find some way of searching for multiple files since I already know the exact file path to every file I am looking for, I just need a way to bring them up so I can interact with them as you would files normally in a file browser.

I have had a look at gnome-search tools and they seem to fit the requirement of being able to search for multiple files at once, however, the second part of interacting with files as if it was just another file browser does not seem to hold up as well so I am still looking. I have also looked at the built-in feature for showing all the files tagged by it, it's not really what I am looking for. What TMSU does is that it creates a folder inside the mount called tags, and inside that folder is a folder for every tag and if a file has that tag it will be placed inside that folder. So it's not really a search as much as it is just converting the tagging based organization system with a hierarchical system. Other than the fact that it is a little clunky the main issue with this is that I would be limited to only looking for one tag at a time.

I guess to boil it down to a more concrete list of requirements:

  • Has to work on Linux

  • Preferably an add-on or third-party extension for already existing Linux file browser Nautilus or Nemo (If there are any other Linux file browsers that has this capability or has an add on for it I am not excluding those at all though!)

  • It has to be able to bring up multiple files based on search, input would either be a full-on file path to the file or just the file names themselves.

  • It will have to be able to lookup more than one file at a time, an example input would be "bannana.jpg apples.png orange.pdf"

  • It has to work more or less like any other file browser, ie double click to open the file, right-click brings up the normal RMB menu with rename, copy and paste, etc.

Sorry if that gets way too specific, I'd love to hear any and all feedback/ideas though!

Thanks for the read!

  • Do you want this command line based? "an example input would be "bannana.jpg apples.png orange.pdf"" – Mawg Oct 11 at 8:06
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    Hi, I already have a command-line only tool called TMSU that can tag files and has a built-in search function. I essentially need to transfer the result of the TMSU search function to a file browser so I can actually view the files from the search. So that example with the bannana.jpg apples.png orange.pdf was what could come out of the TMSU search function that the solution I am looking for would have to be able to lookup files by. – underscore Oct 11 at 15:21
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I am not totally clear what you want, especially if it should be command line or GUI based.

You might be able to manage with a combination of the find and grep commands (pipe find output to grep).

That won’t take your tags into account.

Nor does my preferred solution : Double Commander.

Double Commander is my preferred Linux file manager, and if you examine its features, it may become yours too. However, I won’t list those and confuse matters. I will just address search.

Double Commander is free, even for commercial use, and open source, with a lot of plugins.

To search, navigate to the top directory of the search and select menu Commands/Search (Alt+F7)

  • You can search for complete or partial filenames, including using regular expressions.
  • You can search directories of a given depth, from current directory only, though 100 levels deep, plus no limit
  • You can exclude certain sub-directories
  • You can search for files containing a given text
  • Or not containing that text
  • You can search & replace text across multiple files
  • You can search in archives
  • With advanced search, you can restrict the search to files:
    • not older than X days
    • between two dates/times
    • between given file sizes
  • You can use further search plugins
  • You can save and load frequent searches

You can create a GUI list (*) of matching files, then use Double Commander to view/edit/delete/copy/move/delete/archive those files

That seems to me to far more search power than I will even need, and it’s speed and convenience have never let me down. I use it also in Windows, and haven’t looked at either O/S’s file manager for over a decade.

(*)I can’t seem to get it list based, but as a kludge, you can simply copy all the files to a temp directory, then use the CLI to list that directory.

  • If you don't wan to use a new file manager (although you should ;-), take a look at Search Monkey – Mawg Oct 11 at 8:27
  • Hello, sorry, I guess the original post became kind of jumbles and not as clear as I wanted it to be. I have a CLI only based tool right now called TMSU that can tag files. It also has a built-in search function that returns the path to a file that I filter down to just the file name, bannana.jpg for example. What I need is some GUI solution that can take the filtered result of said TMSU search, aka bannana.jpg apples.png orange.pdf and search for it in a normal file browser style application. The problem I am trying to overcome is the one file search limit of my current file browser. – underscore Oct 11 at 15:29
  • I am not too familiar with regular expressions, but do you think they or just double commander could search for multiple files at once and return them? – underscore Oct 11 at 15:30
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    Hey, after testing out both of them I sadly don't think either is what I am looking for. Whilst double commander allowed me to search for multiple files at once as far as I could tell the search was only available in the specified search window, meaning that if I wanted to do something with the file I had to exit said window. Search monkey gave me some issues just searching for multiple files. Thanks for sharing these through! Double commander is pretty neat, just does not seem to be what I am looking for right now. – underscore Oct 12 at 7:01
  • Ia m sorry that I could not help you. I hope that you get an answer :-) At least you discovered Double Commander. Keep using it and you will see who invaluable it is. – Mawg Oct 12 at 10:12
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You can use this command to search in mutltiple files :

grep -rnw {files locations} -e '{string to find}'

hope this help

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