Slow Inkscape File Chooser Dialog

published: [nandalism home] (dark light)

The Quick Answer

In the file chooser dialog, look at the bottom left. There you will find a checkbox [Enable Preview]. Turn it off. (Separately for Open and Import).

My Second Attempt - App Preferences

I actually never noticed that checkbox until testing this solution. This article represents my attempts in reverse chronological order.

I first check the GUI in the Edit/Preferences dialogs. Diligently going thru all the tabs (without the benefit of text search... in 2022). I find nothing like a preview/enable setting. Then I remember that once we used to use files for config. They were searchable too...

Inkscape stores its preferences in a file [~/.config/inkscape/preferences.xml]. Search for enable_preview. It's listed separately for the Save/Save As/Open and Import dialogs. The Save dialogs don't seem to be a problem for some reason. Possibly they only show a preview on the selected item, not the entire directory.

Set enable_preview="0" on the relevant entries. Now the dialog will open instantly on any directory, regardless of contents.

  $ cat ~/.config/inkscape/preferences.xml

My First Attempt - Gnome/GTK Preferences

Everyone knows that modern desktop systems like GTK don't keep their preferences inside apps anymore, but globally. Not in a simple config file any more but behind some gui (and maybe command line) tool. (Note that I don't use a gnome/kde desktop, so I don't normally encounter these settings. However, some apps bring their ecosystem with them.)

Which of GTK or QT does inkscape use? It seems to be version GTK 3.

  $ ldd `which inkscape` | grep gtk => /usr/bin/../lib/inkscape/../ (0x7f61ab97c000)

Checking the docs I found the command line gsettings and the promising setting option preview-widget-active in the gtk3 docs.

# of course the name in the docs, Gtk.FileChooser isn't the name I have to use...
# example
# gsettings set org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser sort-column 'modified'

# applying to my key
$ gsettings get org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser preview-widget
No such key
$ gsettings get org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser preview-widget-active
No such key

No such key? It's in the docs. Same version. Can I list the keys? A search points me to dconf dump /. I install it and it shows nothing. It turns out gsettings itself can introspect the settings schema.

  $ gsettings list-schemas | grep -i file

  $ gsettings list-keys org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser | grep -i preview
  ... nothing

  # try setting it anyway? not allowed.
  $ gsettings set org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser preview-widget-active false
  No such key

So it seems the setting is in the app after all. (still not sure why the option is in the doc, but not the schema, sub version difference?). See above, for my second attempt, following this reasoning.

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