Add ‘New Document’ Option in Right-Click Menu in Ubuntu

Brief: New versions of Ubuntu don’t include the option to create a new text document in right-click context menu anymore. Here is how to bring that useful option back.

The other day I was trying to create a new text file in Ubuntu. While in Nautilus, I right-clicked and to my surprise, I didn’t see the option to create a new document. This option in the right-click context menu used to allow creating empty text files.

documents tab without empty documents menu
Documents Tab without empty documents Menu

It’s a small inconvenience because I can always use the terminal to create a new document or I could open the text editor and save an empty text file. But I don’t want to do that. I want that good old right-click new document option back.

In this quick tip, I’ll show you how to add the new document option in right-click context menu in Ubuntu 22.04, 20.04 and 18.04.

Doing it in the terminal is a lot easier but I’ll show the graphical way of doing it as well.

Enable new document option in Nautilus File Manager in Ubuntu

If you prefer videos, you can see the tutorial steps in action in the video below:

If you go into your Home directory, you’ll see a folder called Templates. Chances are that you probably never used it. But today is your lucky day as you are finally going to utilize this Template directory.

templates folder 1
Templates Folder

This Template directory is used to create … templates. What I mean is that the documents saved in this special folder will be available in the right-click menu.

For example, if you write letters regularly, you can put a sample letter file in this folder. Now if you right-click in any other folder, you’ll see the option of creating ‘Letter’ in the menu. You select that and you’ll have that saved sample letter in the new location. You can edit it and save it with a new name. It’ll save you some of your precious time for sure.

Note

Some readers have noted that their Templates directory is hidden and named as .Templates. If you don’t see Templates directory in your home directory, try to see the hidden files with Ctrl+H keyboard shortcut or ls -la command in the terminal and see if it is named .Templates.

Now, we are going to use this feature of Templates directory here. I’ll show the command line option first.

Method 1: Command line way

Open a terminal and use the following commands:

touch ~/Templates/Empty\ Document

This will create a new empty file named ‘Empty Document’ in the Templates directory for you. And now when you right-click in the file manager, you’ll see the New Document option.

documents tab with empty document menu
New document option added to right-click context menu

Method 2: The GUI way

If you are not comfortable with the terminal and commands, no worries. I have got your back here.

Press Super/Windows key and search for the text editor. And open the editor.

text editor from search
Text editor from search

Now all you have to do is to save this empty file in Templates directory. You can give it any relevant name.

save empty document in template
Save empty document in Template Folder

You should see it in the Templates directory.

empty document in templates folder
Empty Document in Templates Folder

And now when you right-click in any directory, you’ll see the option to create a new document in Nautilus.

documents tab with empty document menu 2
Nautilus with empty document menu

Similarly, you can add more variety of files in the Templates directory to access them quickly from the right-click context menu.

more new items
More New Templates

I wonder why Nautilus removed the option of creating new documents from the right-click context menu. It’s a useful feature and should be present by default. What do you think?

Since we are discussing templates, maybe you would want to use templates in LibreOffice to reuse certain types of documents.

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  • I personally used the right click, create file option a lot when I wanted to make a quick note of something and leave it on the desktop where I can find it later. I can’t imagine why removing that option would be considered a good idea. It is (I mean was) very convenient and useful. But thanks for the information.

  • What the developers want and what the users want often seem to be very different things. They want their development to be easy. we want our use to be easy. Sometimes these are are in total conflict!

  • Oh my god Abhishek, thanks a ton for this beautiful tip, it’s gonna save me so much time!!

    I’ll also create other types of documents in Templates folder, which is gonna help me a lot!