Dolphin File Manager's bad default (Toolbar) UI experience

After years of waiting for change in Dolphin toolbar icons I decided to write this post.

The default Toolbar includes only: three folder views, Split-view and Seach.
In my opinion it looks like lousy copy of Nautilus… And it is a shame since Dolphin is the most advanced File Manager in the world…

It is not a problem for advanced Linux and KDE Plasma users - we know how to modify the toolbar - but i’m thinking of the beginners and how they experience the UI.

In my humble opinion the current Toolbar icons are mostly useless - since they are available with right click of the mouse - they should be removed and more useful should be added instead.

The point here is that the current icons should be removed (not including Split view) and in minimum - The following icons should be added to the default installation:

  • Terminal (in bottom of Dolphin)
  • Preview
  • Hidden Files
  • Up - Arrow
  • Trash

In addition to change with Toolbar Icons - the Filter Bar should be enabled by default. - The filter bar is what makes Dolphin what it is: The most powerful File Manager in the world.

As a suggestion of what to change, in picture below is shown my toolbar settings as an example - they are a result of ten + years of using Dolphin - and which I have found optimal. With these settings the most used options are available with minimal mouse movement.

They also fit to a single line in half screen view with Icons only setting.

The KDE Plasma devs are of course most welcome to use my settings as a default. Since it is not allowed to add files in this Forum, I could not add my toolbar setttings ( which are located in /home/user/.local/share/kxmlgui5/dolphin/dolphinui.rc)

All this is just for the benefit of new KDE Plasma users. The learning curve of capabilities of Dolphin is just too long with current settings.

I probably fail to see the whole picture here…

Are you saying the “configure toolbars” menu is hard to find?

No, that is not what I meant. The idea of this post was to improve the default Dolphin install UI by using at least some useful toolbar icons instead of the current useless ones.

I’m mostly thinking of new users of computers, Linux and KDE Plasma here… and the first impression the default install of Dolphin creates… and and the first impression is bad compared to what Dolphin has to offer…

Of course these kind of things are matters of opinion - some may think that the default UI of Dolphin is perfect…

If you were paying ANY actual attention you would notice depending on the distro with Plasma that what icons are displayed on Dolphin’s toolbar varies. They are just an example of what you can have and easily enough to add to or remove from.

I’ve only have used five distros with KDE Plasma: Arch Linux, Endeavour OS, Garuda, Manjaro and Kubuntu - and I don’t remember their default Dolphin toolbar being different. Can you give an example?

Thank you for your opinion: everything is fine as it is.
However, I agree to disagree with you.

Unnecessary and you knew it. Look at CachyOS, Plasma using the Calam-Arch-Installer, BigLinux, BlueStar Linux.

Now we are coming to the point. Can you explain why most most of the people in the World are still using Microsoft Windows instead of Linux?

Might it be that the most critical software - File Manager - is missing (by default) the options a beginner / basic user wants it to have.

Linux should not only be for Pros - It should be for everyone.

P.S. I’ll look at distros you mentioned - but at the moment they are not the commonly used distros in Linux.

How is it determined what these are?
Discussion and (mostly) polite disagreement, taking place in the open, are some of the ways it works on this side of things :slight_smile:

Some of your suggestions for the tool bar would be considered by many to be advanced “pro” options. The terminal, for example. Tabs and hidden files.

My own very limited experience in real life observations is that the simpler options used as the default (and have been used in roughly the same sort of layout since ~2018) was much preferred over the overly busy Windows Explorer. And from my online observations over the decades of moderating a forum, the only time anyone has complained about the lack of options on a default Dolphin setup has been from those who used the vastly more complex Konqueror or Krusader, and were quite used to their established tools, and thought that everyone should be using the “pro” tools as the default.

A strong consensus is that it is what comes on their computer when they buy one, plus strong pushes by a single company to have it this way.

Linux doesn’t have that, by its very nature. There are even a significant number of people in our community who either don’t care if it replaces MS market share or not, or even would not want this to happen, as it would possibly involve giving up the freedoms we have in order to do achieve such a goal.

Take all these people, and try to get them to agree, and you end up with hundreds of different Linuxes (Linuxi?) :laughing:


The most used Linux now is Arch and Arch-based distros. It surpassed uBLUNDER a year or so back. As for being for pros only that’s a load of c r a p. Most Linux distros can be used right out of the gat by the average user this day and age. Also as for if a distro is mainstream or not does not matter. Garuda is a FANTASTIC distro and fit for all types of users from the novice to the so-called “pro”. I’m sorry but you are truly whining about nothing.

Based on what? This has always been hard to quantify with any sort of accuracy.
Distrowatch stats don’t count, either :slight_smile:

Thank You for your analysis and it’s most welcome.

The default Tool Bar icons would (and will) be of course be defined by the Core KDE Plasma development Team, which at the moment include persons like Nate Graham, Nicolas Fella , etc … The Core development team which everyone is encouraged to join…

You are quite right that my Tool Bar may be too much for beginners.

The Terminal is not dangerous - if you don’t know terminal commands, you can’t do anything harmful with it. Instead it can be educational for beginners -they can start to wonder what to do with it.

The Hidden Files - Yes I agree that is a bit controversial - A beginner may accidentially delete all her’s /hi’s local settings - but still - at some point a Linux user (must/shoudl) get to know these settings. Maybe Hidden Files should not be shown by default.

New Tab / New Window - Absolutely these icons should be presented by default. They are much more useful than showing three different folder views (which are already available with right click of the mouse).

I agree that the default toolbar isn’t good enough, it’s overly simplistic.
I think it should definitely have : up arrow and new tab.
And i think it would be good to have show preview and “display style” (i.e icon, details… sorry i don’t how it is in english, as I use french on my computer). I like to have new folder also.
Even Windows has these options that are very practical for everybody. I think Nautilus is not a good example to follow.

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I disagree, those are Pro features :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I do NOT disagree here so much, BUT, the whole idea of the right-click is very much not a normal action for regular and new users, in my experience. I live in the right-click myself, being a BeOS user before I was a Linux user, but a very large number of people don’t grok this idea, in my experience.

But, it does sort of highlight my point that all these ideas are really just personal opinions, and little more. Dolphin’s tool bar has had roughly the same sort of options shown by default for 16 years, and anecdotally, I have not seen a huge amount of complaints on the topic in that time.

You guys know you can just mb3 (middle mouse button) on a directory and it will open in a new tab right?
Or ctrl+doubleclick = opens new tab.
OR shift+doubleclick = opens new window.

Yes, another Pro feature, maybe? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: . But, like the right-click, who would think to do this, as a “new user”?

I think that was one of the first things I tried the first time I used KDE. xD

Kinda become the standard with mb3. Same in f.ex firefox when clicking links.

This I agree with. The Up arrow is immensely useful when doing file navigation with the mouse only.

Incidentally I also like the Up arrow between the Left and Right, just like the arrow keys on the keyboard. :smiley_cat:

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Merci beaucoup pour votre avis. Salutations de Finlande!
Nouveau dossier: clic-droit → Créer un nouveau dossier
Icônes, Compact, Détails → clic-droit → mode d’affichage.

Icônes, Compact, Détails - Ils sont dans la barre d’outils par défaut et cette discussion consiste à les remplacer par des plus utiles.

Je suis désolé si j’ai mal compris ton sens.

The location bar can be used for that.

All this discussion lacks to focus on what matters for default settings:
Tailor for general use, non-technical users.

By definition technical users will figure how to tailor things to their particular needs and that’s by design in KDE Apps (simple by default, powerful when needed ™ ), but we still want non-techies to feel comfortable from the get go.

We must not expose things that are troubling non-understandable, and not too many options. Most of those users aren’t accustomed to tabs, at least in a file browser, and most will never have the use for it. The split view is more valuable already but still I wouldn’t want to show it bluntly to people that may have difficulties disabling the feature, or not have use for it.

The terminal should NEVER be exposed by default for instance. That would make average users feel like dolphin isn’t an app for them. Still we have a built-in shortcut for it, so that power-users find it easily by default.

The only thing, I find has ground is the up arrow, but this is still debatable.
We had a MR recently wanting to change the defaults but did not pan out, for the same argument.

You guys know you can just mb3 (middle mouse button) on a directory and it will open in a new tab right?

And did you know in next dolphin version, middle-clicking files will open then with the second app associated with the file type.