File Selection

Common file selection dialog - allows someone to select a file to open, or determine a name and location for a new file to save to.


William Jon McCann, JakubSteiner, AllanDay



  • Allow the user to pick one or more files
    • to select
    • to open
    • to save
  • Pick one or more folders
  • Consistent with the Files app experience
  • Provide access recent and relevant locations
  • Allow searching
  • Provide good defaults
  • Provide useful and consistent previews
  • Compatible with touch


  • Allow application filtering of available files


  • API compatible with existing GtkFileChooser

  • Not "content selection"
  • Uses a dialog form factor (compact)
  • Focused on picking
  • Support embedding "extra" widgets

Use Cases


  • Add attachment to email
  • Insert photo into document
  • Add file to "library" (Music, Collection, ...)
  • "Pasting" URL from one "service" to another


  • Continue editing a spreadsheet


  • Give attachment/pfd a name you can remember / a location you can find


  • Frequent filers
  • Spring cleaners
  • No filers


  • Different experience for folders?
  • What other actions are needed in addition to selection?
  • How can we make single click work?
  • How does preview work with multi-select?
  • How can we make selection work on touch or with single click mode?
  • How can we allow typing or pasting a URI?
  • Should we indicate a drop target?
  • How do we handle filtering / supported formats?
  • Will we have virtual drives support?
  • Should we support both list and icon view?
  • Do we need to do bookmark management?
  • Is trash ever needed?
  • What form of navigation?
  • Can we supply better default names and locations in Save mode?
  • What should we show?
    • columns
    • metadata
    • order

Tentative Design

These are similar to the other mockups listed on this page, and include some experimental elements: chooser/file-chooser-3.18.png

Previous mockups:


Other issues (yet to be filed):

  • List search results from the current folder first.
  • Use folder-new-symbolic as the add folder icon (this has yet to be added to the icon theme).
  • Save As - show the file name in the header bar.
  • Allow closing the location entry field with Esc.
  • Show a spinner when it's taking a while to find results.
  • Show a no results screen when search doesn't return anything.


See Also

Design/OS/FileSelection (last edited 2015-07-08 11:45:17 by AllanDay)