Customised User Directories in Ubuntu

Andrew Bolster

Data Science Team Lead at WhiteHat Security, Trustee at Farset Labs and Vault Artist Studios

I’ve been doing alot of messing around in Ubuntu recently and there are lots of tweaks I like to make. One of them being to show the contents of my home folder as my desktop; I don’t need any more pointless folders….

Dead easy, there is a .config directory under your $HOME dir, containing several files. The one we need is user-dirs.dirs , and it looks something like this.

# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.
#
XDG_DESKTOP_DIR="$HOME/Desktop"
XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR="$HOME/Downloads"
XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR="$HOME/Templates"
XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR="$HOME/Public"
XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR="$HOME/Documents"
XDG_MUSIC_DIR="$HOME/Music"
XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/Pictures"
XDG_VIDEOS_DIR="$HOME/Videos"

And this is what I changed mine to

# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.
#
XDG_DESKTOP_DIR="$HOME"
XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR="$HOME/Downloads"
XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR="$HOME/Templates"
XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR="$HOME/Public"
XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR="$HOME/Dropbox/Documents"
XDG_MUSIC_DIR="$HOME/Music"
XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/Dropbox/Photos"
XDG_VIDEOS_DIR="$HOME/Videos"

Changed desktop directory to home Made the Documents and Pictures directories reference the relevent Dropbox folders

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