How To Drag And Drop Files In Ubuntu 14.04 Unity [Quick Tip]

Care to Share?

The other day a reader asked me: How do I drag and drop files in Ubuntu Unity? The question might seem very naive but honestly it’s a very simple feature that doesn’t exist in Unity.

There are so many websites and apps that support drag and drop feature for multi file upload. Let’s say you want to drag and drop a bunch of photos in Google Drive. What will you do? You select the files from Nautilus and drag them to Unity launcher to drop them in an opened web browser. But at this point you’ll realize that Ubuntu doesn’t give you the option of dropping it in Chrome.

In fact, Unity will only show those application in the launcher that can handle that kind of file. So, you’ll see Shotwell, Nautilus and Firefox when to drag and drop the image files in Chrome in the launcher. But this is not what we want, do we? So, how do we drag and drop the files in Ubuntu Unity then?

Drag and drop files in Ubuntu Unity

Well, it’s not that difficult though. You’ll have to utilize some (more of) of your fingers though. Do the following steps to complete the drag and drop in Unity:

  • Select the files and start dragging them to the Unity Launcher.
  • While hovering over Unity launcher, press Super key+Tab (Super key is actually the windows key). Do not release the mouse.
  • Now while holding the super key, keep pressing tab to move between all the applications present in the launcher. When you are at the required application icon, release Super key.
  • Option to drop the files should be visible now. Release the mouse to drop the files.

If you do a lot of drag and drop, I would suggest to add a Windows like bottom taskbar to Ubuntu Unity.

I hope this quick post enabled you to drag and drop files in various applications. I did not attach any screenshots as I think it was not required. Let me know if you have any issues or suggestions. Ciao :)

  • suinjato

    Nifty little trick ..

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Off topic… do you have the modified Ubuntu 14.04 wallpaper (with tahr logo on it)? It seemed to be erased from my dropbox public share folder and I don’t have another copy of it.

      • suinjato

        did you get my reply?

        • Abhishek Prakash

          Which reply? I don’t see it 😉

          • suinjato

            lol okay I posted a link to my flickr but i’m assuming from the wink that you got it lol if not i can re send it to you.

  • kanhiya

    What about drag and drop for applications shortcuts on desktop, it is not working in 14.04 , is there a way to fix it in unity , alternative exists to copy from /usr/share/applications, any help will be highly appreciated.

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  • wxgeo

    Thanks a lot for this tip !
    I’ve spent almost an hour on the net searching for a proper way to make an unrestricted drag and drop on Ubuntu before founding your post, strange how such a basic feature is hard to uncover.
    Anyway, this will save me a lot of time… thanks again !