How do I drag files from one window to another but avoid putting them in subfolders?


Let’s say I have a window open in Caja of a directory with 100 subfolders; no files. Window “A”

I have another window, “B”, where I want to move or copy a file into the folder of window A.

Where do I drag it to? Everywhere I try to drag it is a subfolder. How do I drag it to the folder I’m looking at in window A. Not a subfolder of window A.


A very weird question as this seems like file operation basics for graphical users. If you don’t want a file from one directory going into another directory, within a directory then you would just drag your pointer between directories. If this is difficult, go up one level and drag to the directory you want to manipulate. If that is difficult, press [F3] and rather than drag between windows, drag to pane or use the Move to… context menu item for Caja to know you want to move files from one pane to another, each pane representing different directories.

For multiple file operations you may be more interested in dragging directories and files to tabs, with other tabs as destinations to files set up beforehand. That is one thing Caja has over Windows Explorer; tabs. One which may be remedied by installing QTabBar in Windows, but with Ubuntu MATE no such thing needs to be done. I take that back, but Microsoft calls them sets.


Oh I should have said- this is in list mode. I’m such an idiot for not pointing that out, sorry. So, yea- try doing what I described in list mode.

Ok, we have one window that chock full of directories; folder icons in list mode.

I click on a file in a different window and drag it over, intending to land it in the directory but not a subdirectory; not one of the folder icons/names in the receiving window.

Imagine the mouse icon, holding the directory, hovering over the other window. There’s nowhere that I can let go without droping it into a subdirectory.

Now, I could do that if there weren’t so many directories, and/or if there were files in the receiving window, I could drag it over the files and it would copy to the directory just fine.

I’m in the awkward situation of creating an empty file so that I can drag over the file, thus successfully putting it into the receiving window’s directory.


Oh wait I lied again. Microsoft pulled sets from Win10, which was suppose to emulate Compiz’s group and tab windows feature. Linux wins again.

Also, can you try using a larger window in list mode? Unless the entire length of the row is active as a drop zone for a directory it should allow you to drop into empty space. Else if you are still having major trouble with this, cp and mv are good commands to learn if you want to manipulate where files and directories are via command line.

That’s all I can give you. Try to find some empty space and drop it in there. Else go one level up and drop files and directories on top of where you intend them to go (therefore, turning your problem into a solution).


Yea, like I said: “Now, I could do that if there weren’t so many directories”

But let’s say there’s like 100 as in my example, right.

And, yea, I know how to cp and mv, I’ve been a professional lamp developer for 15 years haha. But it breaks the flow and it’s slower to have to switch to terminal, and then cd, type in both directory paths, etc when I’m shuffling files around, hence the benefit of having a GUI instead.

I guess ultimately this is a question for the CAJA mailing list, right. Or is MATE (and/or Mint), responsible for caja too?

It’s doubly moot because I’m switching to standard ubuntu tomorrow anyway because it can do thumbnails of windows, which MATE can’t.

But I still wanted to ask here because I’ve always wondered how to do that in basically every GIU including Win10 and macos. No one seems to have figured out that that’s an annoying problem??

haha, thanks tiox.


Do you not have a mouse with a scroll wheel? If not, maybe you should invest in one. This basic Microsoft-branded mouse I’ve been using for the past year has one and it’s pretty alright. It’s also made for hands smaller than mine but I got over that pretty quick considering its cost and intention as a travel mouse.


No- that wouldn’t help- if the number of folders in the list is larger than the window- there won’t be empty space at the bottom (or top) no matter how much you scroll. (Try it right now)


Select the folder to move. Press CTRL x

open the folder where you want to deposit the above folder you cut

Press CTRL v


Yes and that’s terribly less efficient than dragging and dropping when you’re copying like 50 times a day.


I think there is no such a feature right now, but you can wright a feature requst to mate-team and ubuntu-mate team.


Thanks brokoli!

Hey is Caja developed by the MATE group or is it separate?


As i know it is a part of mate-desktop, so it is not a separate product.


So if I understand the problem correctly, this is how you'd like to drag-and-drop:

But this doesn't work because it wants to "drop" into the highlighted directory when in list view.

There is actually a way - drag the contents onto the folder path button:

I've been dragging and middle-click dragging (but that's broken in 18.04+) from and to those path buttons all the time.


Thanks @lah7 yea- I meant in list mode, not icons; hence I corrected above.

But in my case I don't have those directory buttons for some reason- here screencap attached-

See the path at the top? It's just the text path (we usta call that "the breadcrumb" back in my day.)


I guess this is an old problem that's just never been adressed for 20 years....; win 10 (yuk) was at least, yknow, addressing the problem; it was better about it....


To get "those directory buttons", in Caja, check mark View, Location Bar. Good luck squat.


As @mdooley said :point_up: or you can also press the pencil icon image to the left to toggle it on/off.


Oh cool thanks guys. I'm switching back to regular ubuntu but thanks still the same nonetheless,