Using the Dolphin Tool Bar



The Dolphin Tool Bar, like the tool bar for any application, provides a focal point for easy access to features and functions. All of the functions that can be accessed using the Dolphin Tool Bar can also be accessed using the menus in the Menu Bar. The Tool Bar reduces the number of clicks required to do so.

Figure 1: The Tool Bar provides ready access to many Dolphin features.

Figure 1: The Tool Bar provides ready access to many Dolphin features.

Figure 1 shows a Dolphin Tool Bar that has been somewhat customized with additional buttons. Your Dolphin Tool Bar will almost certainly look different from this one in that it will have either the default set of buttons or the ones you prefer if you have already modified it. For details on how to customize the Dolphin Tool Bar see Configuring Dolphin. These icons represent the features which I find most useful to which to have ready access. Let’s discuss each in order from left to right.

Create New

The Create New button allows you to create a new folder, text or HTML file or link to a device, file or folder. It creates this new object in the currently active directory, i.e., the active folder the active Workspace. Click and hold this button to display the context menu that provides these choices.


The Delete button permanently deletes any and all selected objects in the active Workspace. In Figure 1, the “X” in the button is grayed out because nothing is selected. When a deletable object is selected, the “X” is red. Simply select the files, links and folders you want to delete and click on this button.

Warning: Objects deleted with the Delete button are permanently deleted. They can not be recovered.


The Folders button is a toggle, that is, it toggles the Folders Panel on and off. When clicked once, it causes the Folders Panel to be displayed and the button remains depressed. When clicked again, the button is raised and the Folders Panel disappears. Notice in Figure 1 that the Button is depressed.

Navigation – Up, Back Forward

The Navigation buttons allow rapid navigation between certain folders.

Clicking the Up button, which is not on the Tool Bar by default, it takes you to the next higher level of the directory (folder) tree. Clicking the Back button it takes you to the directory that was previously the current active directory. If you click the Forward button after clicking the Back button, it takes you forward to the directory you just left.


The Home button will always take you to the folder specified in the Dolphin configuration as the Home directory. See Configuring Dolphin for details of setting the desired location.


The Reload button forces Dolphin to reload the information for the current folder. Thus if a file has been added to the folder, deleted or modified, the change can be forced to show up. Most of the time changes are updated by Dolphin automatically because some underlying daemons (background programs) look at each folder and send update notifications programs that are working in or monitoring those folders, such as Dolphin.

New Tab

The New Tab  button opens a new tab in the Workspace panel of Dolphin. See Figure 3 on the page, Configuring Dolphin. This affords more flexibility in navigating and managing files. It is like tabbed browsing in the Firefox web browser. They both allow you to have multiple locations open simultaneously in only a single instance of the program.

Delete Tab

This button allows you to delete the currently active tab. Other tabs are left open. If there is only one remaining Workspace tab, the tabs will no longer be displayed. It is not possible to delete the last remaining tab.

New Window

The New Window button launches a new instance of Dolphin. It is possible to copy and move files and folders from one Dolphin window to another. This is another flexibility option that gives you the ability to work in whatever way is comfortable for you.


The three Views buttons are designed to display the contents of folders in different ways, again giving you the option of viewing things in a way that is most meaningful and useful for you or in a particular situation.

Figure 2: The View buttons allow you to select how dolphin will display the contents of a folder.

Figure 2: The View buttons allow you to select how Dolphin will display the contents of a folder.

The leftmost of these three buttons is the Icon view. This is just display of the icons in left-right rows. Where possible, the files are shown as previews rather than icons. The left Workspace in Figure 3 shows the icon view.

The middle button in Figure 2 is the Details view. This is a vertical listing of each folder and file in the displayed folder and includes information such as the file size, type, the date the file was created or last modified, the permissions and the owner of the file. In Figure 3 below many of the columns are not shown but you can slide the horizontal scroll bar to see the other columns.

Note: This version of Dolphin was released today (as of this writing), August 27, 2008. At least it was installed this morning via automatic YUM updates. It has a new feature in which the folders which have files that can be shown as previews have the first few previews superimposed on the folder icon.

Figure 3: The left Workspace is using the Icon view while the right Workspace is the list view of the same directory.

Figure 3: The left Workspace is using the Icon view while the right Workspace is the list view of the same directory.


The Preview button turns the preview feature on and off. Previews show the first page of a document or a small thumbnail view of a graphic. Having this enabled takes memory and CPU cycles so can be a drag on the performance of systems with slow processors or small amounts of RAM. In such instances you may want to disable previews.


Figure 4: The Dolphin Split and Close Icons.

Figure 4: The Dolphin Split and Close Icons.

The Split icon, the one with the green plus (+) sign is shown when there is a single Workspace in a tab. Clicking on this button splits the Workspace into two. Figure 3 shows a split Workspace. When the Workspace is split, the Close icon, with the red minus (-) sign is displayed. Clicking on the Close button closes the active workspace.


The Zoom icons, one for zoom in and one for zoom out, increase and decrease the size of the icons or previes in the active Workspace. This is the same function as the zoom slider at the bottom of the right hand Workspace in Figure 3, above.

Configure Toolbar / Configure Dolphin

These buttons open the windows to configure the Toolbar and to configure Dolphin, respectively. Refer to Configuring Dolphin for details on configuring Dolphin and the Toolbar.

Dolphin Handbook

This button opens the Dolphin handbook which is a very nice set of instructions for using Dolphin.

About Dolphin / About KDE

These two buttons open small windows with a little bit of information about Dolphin and KDE, respectively. This information is the version number and the author(s) as well as some other tidbits.


Just what its name implies, this button exits from Dolphin and closes it.