The Fedora Workstation features the GNOME desktop environment, which makes computing easy and beautiful. GNOME includes the Files app for organizing and managing your personal data. This is the first in a series of articles that shows you how to use this app more efficiently.

Often when you work, you need to deal with recent files and folders. For instance, you might need to locate a letter you drafted the day before. It’s easy to sort your content so recent content appears first.

By default, Files organizes your content alphabetically. However, you can change this behavior to sort a folder by modification date. This will cause your recent files and folders to rise to the top of the folder’s view.

Choose the view settings tool at the top right of the Files window. Under Sort choose Last Modified. Then choose Reverse Order, so the latest date appears at the top.

Changing sort order in Files app

This setting is retained by Files per folder, so you don’t have to switch every folder view like this. However, you might want all your folders to sort this way by default. To do that, open a Terminal and run the following commands:

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-sort-order 'mtime'
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-sort-in-reverse-order true

Your folders are now set to show the most recent items first. To return to the default settings, use these commands:

gsettings reset org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-sort-order
gsettings reset org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-sort-in-reverse-order

There are other settings available for the default sort order that aren’t exposed in the interface. You can use the gsettings command above with a different value to set these values.

  • To sort by the last time a file was accessed, set the default-sort-order value to atime.
  • To set a folder to only be sorted manually, set the default-sort-order value to manually.

Finally, you might find that hidden folders cause your file sorting to be less useful. If so, you can toggle this option with the Show Hidden Files checkbox, or Ctrl+H. To set this option globally, use this command (use false or true depending on your preference):

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences show-hidden-files false

Future articles in this series will show you other useful functions in the Files app. Happy organizing!

Image courtesy DijutalTim – originally posted to Flickr as Orderly #3