Learn how to change folder colour on Ubuntu in this simple guide, which covers both Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

You might be asking why you would want to change the folder colors on Ubuntu? Well…

You don’t need to download a new icon pack or switch to a different icon theme to change the colour of a folder.

All you need is a free, open source tool called Folder Color (sic). The utility is available straight from the Ubuntu repos too for easy install.

Using Folder Color you can instantly change the colour of individual folders or change the colour of several folders at once — and you can do this as many times as you want!

Helpfully, the tool also makes it easy to undo and reset a folder to its original colour. So if you don’t like a change you make it’s simple to revert.

But why might you want to change folder colour on Ubuntu in the first place?

Personally, I find it harder to visually “locate” a specific folder if they’re all the same color. The added glyphs shown on the default folders in Home help, but they aren’t available elsewhere.

Using different coloured folders for different types of content or tasks is a simple way to overcome this dilemma.

For example, I save all of the screenshots I take for use in blog posts (such as this one) in to a de dictated folder — a folder that I made blue:

different colour folders
Folder colurs can make directories easier to find

Using a separate folder means my screenshots don’t get mixed up amongst my other images and folders. But changing the colour of the folder icon also makes it easier to “spot” every time I open the Pictures folder (as my eyes register the folder colour before they register the label beneath it).

The Folder Color tool offers more than a short, sharp shot of colour too. You can use to add emblems to folders (e.g., “important”, “finished”, “in progress”, etc) for additional visual prominence, just like in the screenshot above.

Install Folder Color on Ubuntu

As mentioned, Folder Color is free, open-source software. It works with Ubuntu’s Nautilus file manager, as well as with the Caja (Ubuntu MATE) and Nemo (Linux Mint) file managers.

Click the button below to install Folder Color on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or above:

Install Folder Color from Ubuntu Software

Once the utility is installed you need to restart Nautilus before the color choices menu shows up. To do this press Alt + F2, type ‘nautilus -q‘, and hit the return/enter key.

If you’re using Caja or Nemo be aware that you MUST also install the folder-color-caja or folder-color-nemo package.

Extra step for Yaru Icon Theme

Using Ubuntu 20.04 with the default Yaru icon pack? You will need to install an additional tool, which is freely available from the Folder Color maintainers’ PPA.

Open a terminal window and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:costales/yaru-colors-folder-color

Followed by

sudo apt install yaru-colors-folder-color

Once everything gets installed restart your file manager. You can do this by logging out and back in or, if you’re using Nautilus, by pressing Alt + F2 and running nautilus -q command (though don’t do this if there are active file transfers taking place).

Using Folder Colour

The beauty of this tool is that you use it right where you use folders: in the file manager. There’s no separate pop up window or app to worry about.

Simple right-click on any folder in the file manager to access a new “Folder’s Color” (sic) sub menu. Pick a hue from the pre-populated list and the change is applied instantly.

You can change the color of multiple folders at the same time too. Just select more than one folder (use your mouse or ctrl + click on the directories you wish to include) then right-click on any of those selected > Folder’s Color > pick a colour.

Bam!

You can undo your changes at any time. Just follow the same steps as above but this time choose the ‘Default‘ option listed under the ‘Restore‘ heading the sub-menu.

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