Catfish is a versatile file searching tool.


Catfish is a search GUI powered by locate and find behind the scenes, with autocompletion from Zeitgeist and locate. The advanced options allow filtering by date and file type. The interface is intentionally lightweight and simple, using only GTK+.

Requirements: PyGtk, GTK+3, python-xdg, dbus

Current State

download Catfish v0.4.0.1 (41 kB) (Release on Launchpad)

bzr branch lp:catfish-search

Download the older GTK+2 version:

Download: catfish v0.3.2 (35kB) (ChangeLog)

33 thoughts on “Catfish

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  2. Brock

    I am enjoying using Catfish. Very nice. However, it would be nice if after searching you could just hit tab to go over to a search result and then hit enter to open. Instead you need to click on it, or hit tab then right arrow key then down arrow key then enter. Much thanks

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  6. Denis

    It would be great if you could make options like ‘Full Text Search’ stick, wenn selected/checked.
    If one uses the app mainly to search text, it is cumbersome to open menu and check the option every time…

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  12. wergosum

    I love catfish! It’s light, easy, clean, fast and efficient! My suggestion: let Catfish remember the latest “layout”, i.e. if I used “advanced filtering” and “full text search” , let it remember the options the next time I open the application! … and if we want to be very user-friendly, let the interface display the options too! The easiest way, actually, would be to have 4 tick-boxes on the interface “Exact”, “Hidden”, “Fulltext”, “Advanced”

  13. Ikke

    I like Catfish an use it in XFCE :-)
    But: I’d like to have the possibility to mark files in the resultlist an copy/move them.
    Or to put them in the clipboard to copy them to another place with e.g. thunar.
    Is that a planed feature ?

    1. domi

      catfish is a nice searching tool. But as IKKE wrote, features for MANAGING result (copy/move files …) will be a great improvement

  14. Horschti

    Under the ‘openbox’ window manager, I used to invoke (as shortcut Ctrl-Alt-F) a catfish search in ‘rc.xml’ by:

    catfish –fileman=PCManFM –path=/home/myaccountname –hidden –iso-time

    However, I upgraded my distro to Lubuntu 13.04 recently, and pcmanfm has now its own searchtool and catfish now demands ‘zeitgeist’.

    PROBLEM: I would love to use a catfish version that does not install zeitgeist on my system. Catfish in Lubuntu 12.04 did indeed not install zeitgeist.

    P.S.: This might be the wrong place, and catfish is probably not maintained from here any longer. However, maybe somebody has ideas about this (gerne auch auf Deutsch).
    P.S.II: Thanks for catfish, which is basically a great tool (w/o zeitgeist).

    1. njames

      Actually I was very surprised a few hours ago when I discover the dependency with the crappy Zeitgeist framework.
      Sincerely I don’t understand at all… Why this dependency ? The support of Zeitgeist should be optional, some people don’t want Zeitgeist and not only people using something else than GNOME/KDE/XFCE (e.g. Openbox, Awesome, XMonad, i3). I mean, some people from the Ubuntu community also are not agree with the “total logging” provided (or imposed… ) by Zeitgeist.

      In catfish v0.8.2, it seems that the dependency to Zeitgeist is mandatory. Am I right ?

      Please keep the thing simple, catfish is a great tool, please do not kill it. The “Desktop metaphor” (e.g. GNOME, KDE etc. ) is not the only way to interact graphically with a computer. One of the real advantage of UNIX & GNU/Linux is the toolbox, the applications etc.

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  16. brutus

    –wrapper=WRAPPER Use WRAPPER to open files

    catfish find runs much faster on my netbook, when the ‘filetype’ is preselected first. Q: What does the wrapper option do ? I would like to create a keyboard shortcut in openbox.

    Thx for feedback

  17. renegat

    How about an option to disable this annoying case sensitivity? Regular expressions are not accepted either.

  18. Rayonant

    For those complainig about Catfish not finding anything unless Deep Search is enabed is due to 2 things: Or you dont have locate installed (wich is what Catfish uses to search) or you have it but the database does not exist, wich can be fixed by a updatedb with root permissions.

  19. Tim

    Loved the old Catfish – may have to step back to it. Currently, ALL searches I do with this newer version result in “No files were found.” This requires that I hit the “deep search” button to get the results. I found I tried to default it to use deepsearch, but am not a programmer, so I’ve failed to get it to fly. Can you help? Or simply make the darn thing configurable via the GUI for us geeks who can’t program?

    Thanks otherwise for an awesome program.


  20. Chris

    Und gerade sehe ich auch, dass du garnicht mehr das Programm betreust, sondern wer anders. In dem Falle gilt meine Kritik für diese Person! Dein originales Catfish war super :)

  21. Chris

    Und ich sehe gerade du bist auch deutscher… Wenn du mir antworten magst, mach das hier. Oben das ist nicht meine richtige Mailadresse.

  22. Chris

    And also i dont understand why you got ride of the nice icons for the filetypes… it was nice and you should go back to the roots :S

  23. Charles

    On Slackware 14.0, package pygobject3 is required. It is pygobject version 3, required by catfish for gi.repository. pygobject3 is available from

    When pygobject version 3 is not installed, this message is displayed during .configure or make install (not sure which) and at run time (when run from the command prompt):

    Error: The required module gi.repository is missing.

    Although the error is displayed during build, it does not seem to affect build and installation. It may only be an error at run time. If that is correct it would be nice if the error was not displayed during .configure or make install.

    When the catfish ./configure step is run from a virtual terminal or from a remote ssh session (both significantly not under a GUI desktop?) the following messages appear.

    Checking module dependencies…
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 23, in
    from gi.repository import GObject, Gtk, Gdk, GdkPixbuf, Pango
    File “/usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gi/”, line 76, in load_module
    File “/usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gi/”, line 224, in _load
    overrides_modules = __import__(‘gi.overrides’, fromlist=[self._namespace])
    File “/usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gi/overrides/”, line 1533, in
    raise RuntimeError(“Gtk couldn’t be initialized”)
    RuntimeError: Gtk couldn’t be initialized
    Creating Makefile…
    Creating package data…
    Installation prefix is /usr

  24. roland

    I’m so thrill that someone has taken the torch to enhance catfish. I use locate all the time but can be a pain searching multipul text items. Love what you have done so far. Thanks again.
    I have been putting catfish (4.02) through its paces and found a few things.
    1. when first starting after entering it’s starting folder/drive it should remember it’s last setting on restart. I’ve setting it to start it with this for now “catfish –path=/media”
    2. if hidden files are found perhaps and icon could light up or and indication that there are hidden file but are not shown
    3. choose to have open in “advance filtering” and remember on next open
    4. Perhaps a larger or self adjusting window (to a max setting) when results are large.
    5. A stop search function. (although clicking on the red icon during search seams to do that)
    6. Windows remember there last sizing and last position.
    7. I notice there is a delay when type text or deleting text in the search box. Trying to figure what is causing that.
    If you need someone to do more testing let me know, whould be more happy to help.
    Thanks again.

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  27. Narga

    When I perform a search with Catfish, it’s not show any result until I turn off Deep Search, Deep Search was turn on by default, how to turn off it?
    I’m using Arch Linux with XFCE4

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  29. Lyner

    Why do you pass -l to ls and then use awk to undo that?ls -d ~/.* | wc -lIt would be nice to have some effort to make apps reespct the XDG spec and store the config files in an organised way. This would probably require a team of people submitting patches to upstream maintainers. I don’t imagine, say, Canonical spending time on this, as there are more severe unfixed problems waiting to be fixed.(Also, your blog HTML is buggy and puts the hashcash input box inside a label, so when you click on it the focus is immediately transferred to the website input box.)


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