Important Utilities

GNOME features a wealth of applets and applications. This section merely provides an introduction to some of the most useful and interesting, all of which are compatible with the GNOME configuration scheme.


Dictionary is a useful applet for checking the spelling and the meaning of words. An Internet connection is required, as this applet accesses an online dictionary.

Figure 5.2. GNOME Dictionary

GNOME Dictionary

Enter the term to look up in the Word field. The menu under Dictionary gives a choice between Look Up Word and Check Spelling. By default, the query is sent to the server. To use a different server, select Edit -> Preferences. Refer to Figure 5.2: “GNOME Dictionary”. allows you to choose between various databases for special vocabularies, such as jargon or computer terminology. Under Default strategy, specify what to look for: the exact word, parts of the word, or the prefix or suffix. Under Help, access the online manual of the application with Contents and information about the author and version of the application with About.

Managing Archives with File Roller

In GNOME, manage file archives with File Roller. This application is able to handle archives of the following types: .tar, .tar.gz, .tgz,, .tar.bz2, .tar.Z, .zip, .lha, .rar, .lzh, .ear, .jar, and .war. Easily view archive contents fromFile Roller with other applications without having to decompress the archives. File Roller supports drag and drop, allowing you to drag file icons from the desktop or from the file manager (Nautilus) to the File Roller dialog and drop them there.

To create a new archive, select Archive -> New. In the next dialog, specify the directory in which to create the new archive in the left window. Enter the file name of the new archive in the input field below without the file extension. Then determine the archive type with the drop-down menu above the name field. Exit the dialog with OK and return to the main view of File Roller. Now, fill the empty archive by inserting files from the desktop or the file manager with drag and drop or by selecting Edit -> Add Files. In the following dialog, select one or several files (keep Ctrl pressed to select multiple files) or directories. If necessary, determine the following advanced options for the archive:

Add only if newer

If the archive already contains a file with the same name, the file is only added if it is newer than the one existing in the archive.

Include subfolders

To compress an entire directory, activate this option to include all subdirectories.

Exclude backup files (*~)

Avoid unnecessary data trash by disabling the inclusion of backup copies when creating an archive.

Exclude hidden files (.*)

Usually, hidden files do not contain any data that are relevant for the user. By default, they are not included in the archive to reduce the amount of data.

Exclude files

This explicitly excludes certain files from the archive. This option is useful if you want to compress entire directories but exclude certain files from the archive. Instead of file names, you can also specify search patterns.

Ignore case

File Roller ignores different spellings of file names and extensions, like JPEG or jpeg.

After completing the selection and configuration, exit the dialog. The archive created is available for further processing at the desired location. To decompress an archive, load it to File Roller, click Edit -> Extract to, and specify the target directory.