Nautilus Exif, PDF And Audio Metadata Tag Columns Extension For Ubuntu

Nautilus Media Columns

Nautilus Columns is a Nautilus file manager Python extension that adds metadata tags in the Nautilus list view, for audio (mp3, flac and wav), image and PDF files.

The extension allows users to enable extra columns in the Nautilus list view, with metadata tags like:

  • Audio (mp3, flac and wav): album, artist, title, track number, bitrate, genre, duration
  • PDF: title, author (shows up in the artist filed), number of pages and page dimensions
  • Image Exif information: date, device used, exposure, flash, resolution, orientation, gps information, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more

These metadata tags added by the Nautilus Columns extension are not only useful for a quickly look at some particular audio, pdf or image information from the Nautilus list view, but also to sort some files by a particular metadata tag column to easily identify the files you're looking for.

Nautilus Columns is currently maintained by Spanish blogger Atareao, and it only supports English, Spanish and Galician languages.

Judging from the extension code, it's also supposed to support some video formats as well, but no information was shown for such files on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop, so it probably needs some fixes in this area. Audio, PDF and Exif metadata was displayed with no issues on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop.

I tried to install the Nautilus extension on Fedora 29, but I could not manage to get it to work, even after installing some packages that are no longer available in Fedora (python-kaa-metadata and python-kaa-base), so this extension may have some Ubuntu-specific code, I'm not sure. For this reason, this article shows how to install this in Ubuntu only.

Installing and using Nautilus Columns in Ubuntu


The Nautilus Columns package depends on python-kaa-metadata, which itself depends on python-kaa-base, and these two packages are not available in Ubuntu 18.10, 19.04 or newer. So if you use Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10 or newer you'll have to download the two DEB packages linked below and install them before installing Nautilus Columns:


You can use these commands to download and install them if you're using a 64bit Ubuntu 19.04 or 18.10 version:

mkdir /tmp/python-kaa && cd /tmp/python-kaa

wget https://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kaa-base/python-kaa-base_0.6.0+svn4596-1_amd64.deb

wget https://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kaa-metadata/python-kaa-metadata_0.7.7+svn4596-4_amd64.deb

sudo apt install ./*.deb

If you use Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04, you don't need to install the DEB packages mentioned above - you can skip directly to installing Nautilus Columns as explained below.

Now you can install the Nautilus Columns extension by adding the Atareao Nautilus Extensions PPA, or by downloading and installing the DEB.

To install it using the PPA in Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10, 18.04 or 16.04 (and restart Nautilus):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/nautilus-extensions
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nautilus-columns
nautilus -q

You can also download and install the Nautilus Columns extension from the Atareao Nautilus Extensions PPA without adding the PPA. Install the downloaded DEB in Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10, 18.04 or 16.04, and restart Nautilus using this command:

nautilus -q

To get started with the Nautilus Columns extension, switch Nautilus to List View by clicking the List View icon to the right of the search icon in the application header bar / toolbar.

Next, in Ubuntu 18.04/18.10/19.04 click the hamburger menu button (to the right of the List View button), click Visible Columns, and select the new audio, PDF or Exif metadata columns you want to show in the Nautilus list view. The Visible Columns dialog can be accessed in Ubuntu 16.04 from the View menu > List Columns.

Visible Columns dialog Nautilus

From the Visible Columns dialog you can reorder the columns to suit your needs.

You can also right click the column headers to show or hide some columns:

Nautilus show hide columns

This works differently in Ubuntu 18.04/18.10/19.04 and Ubuntu 16.04. In Ubuntu 16.04 you can right click any column header to show or hide any columns, but in Ubuntu 18.04 and newer you'll need to right click the first (Name) column to do this.