Dolphin: Make kfind the default search engine

Since, as reported by many others, the default search engine in Dolphin is unable to find anything, I would like to change the default search engine.

So when typing Ctrl+F I want to search through kfind (or any other search engine that works).

Is this possible? I could not figure out how to do it.

If kfind is installed it can be directly started from menu or Krunner for example.

If you want to link this to Ctrl+F you could use the graphical KDE system settings - short commands, where keys are assigned to a command/program.

yeah, I noticed that, but that’s not what I need.

I need to search the folder (and subfolders) currently viewed in Dolphin and I think that this is a very common task. Dolphin has a search toolbar for this purpose which pops up when hitting Crtl+F, but it is useless because it finds absolutely nothing. Even when pasting the exact file name with extension of a file currently listed.

krunner would search the entire file system instead so that is no real help.

I think your issue is baloo related.

In Archwiki you find some ideas for troubleshooting:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Baloo

Another helping site for debugging:

https://community.kde.org/Baloo/Debugging

Thanks, I will look into that.

Also, I noticed that some (older) folders are searchable. So it seems to be related to how much is already indexed.

So can I not search folders that are not indexed then?
Like temporarily mounted sshfs file systems, or an sftp directory?
I don’t even need a content search, just file name matching.

in Plasma’s setting manager you can chose if file content is indexed or not. Check your settings, un-checking content indexing makes baloo much faster.

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Have you considered the filter option in Dolphin?
It only works on the current directory and doesn’t search subfolders. Still it’s a valid option to quickly search for filenames.

  • Configure Dolphin > Startup > New windows > Show filter bar

Dolphin search toolbar uses Baloo index, and if Baloo is unavailable, then it falls back to its own search.

Let’s try to fix Baloo, from terminal run:

balooctl disable

Then check it’s totally disabled:

balooctl status

Then purge the index:

rm -rf ~/.local/share/baloo/
balooctl purge

And re-enable it again:

balooctl enable

Check if it’s enabled:

balooctl status

If you see some errors, repeat the command

balooctl enable

If you have big directories in your indexed folders (added via Plasma Settings>Search>File Search), then you should wait a little and check Baloo state if it became “Idle”.

If you don’t want to use Baloo index or the search is still not working, then switch to Dolphin original search by completely disabling Baloo.

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I think the easiest way to do this is entering Dolphin, press Ctrl+Alt+, (configure keyboard shortcuts) and set Shift+Ctrl+F as shortcut for “Open Kfind”. When you want to search files inside Dolphin, just press Shift+Ctrl+F instead of Ctrl+F (Baloo).

You should not pay too much attention to what is ‘reported by many others’.

There’s nothing here that isn’t easily discoverable in less than a minute.

However, you have not been specific about what searches you are failing to achieve - and that’s probably the MOST important thing here.

Here, I have a screenshot - I just opened Dolphin and did CtrlF and typed Atkinson to see if it would find (because CtrlF is more of a ‘find’ than a ‘search’) a font I know is somewhere in my home directory…

So you can see (and will also see if you test this yourself) that it does work.

If you open Dolphin (and this is an important step in the process) and look at the MENU, you can find that there’s also a menu item for Keyboard Shortcuts which you can also access via the accelerator shown for that item CtrlAlti

This also has a ‘Search…’ which should be focussed, and where you can also type the words ‘find’ and ‘search’.

The word ‘find’ brings up CtrlShiftF. This brings up KFind which is heavier, but a little more thorough than the normal finder - as it can search hidden and non-indexed folders too.

It’s all there, in the MENU which is provided… including links to get more information about more search tools.

They all work, but they’re all different and work in different ways - the best way to find out is to actually KNOW where something is, and then search for it.

Test Cases

  1. Maybe a colour scheme which is in a hidden folder (i.e. not indexed except by the settings application).
    /home/ben/.local/share/color-schemes/Card.colors

  2. Something not in a hidden folder - perhaps a text file /home/ben/Dropbox/Admin/conky/note.txt

Search starting with Dolphin open in Home… search terms ‘Card’ and ‘note’.


As expected, CtrlF finds note.txt instantly.

For the hidden folder, kfind CtrlShiftF

Something else I found interesting is that Dolphin has a kind of internal search called ‘Find Action…’ which is interactive, press CtrlAlti which helps you find dolphin functions (and see keyboard shortcuts)… it’s like a super-menu juz for Dolphin.

Having a terminal in Dolphin is also super cool because you can use that, one of my favourite softwares is ‘fd’ (it’s a funky rewrite of ‘find’) and if you specify --hidden that should work too:
If it’s too much hassle (and of course, it is) then we should make an alias or abbreviation for it…

So I actually did alias find=fd
So to add hidden flag I went with alias fd.='find --hidden'.