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In this section, we will review how to set up and use the Linux Mint Mate File Manager. The Mint Mate file manager, which is called Caja, is one of the most important reasons to choose Linux Mint Mate over Windows or Apple. The Caja File Manager is similar to the File Manager that comes with Windows but comes with several additional features. To open this file manager, click on your Home folder in the upper left corner of the Mint Mate desktop. Or alternately, open the Menu in the bottom left panel and click on HomeFolder. Below is what the Caja file manager looks like using the Winme theme we installed in the last article:

By default, this folder opens in the Icon View at 100%. A more efficient view is Compact View at 66%. Click on the Drop down arrow next to Icon View to select Compact View:

This will bring up the Compact View. This is similar to the “List” view in Windows. The Compact View is especially important if you have a lot of files and folders:


Also by default, the Mate Caja File Manager shows the Places View in the left column. Click on the Drop Down arrow to the right of Places to select the Tree View:

The Tree View will cause Caja to look and function like the Explorer File Manager in Windows XP and Windows 7. Changing to Tree View will cause some important arrows to appear to the left of any folders in the left panel which have sub-folders:


Click on the Home Folder to reveal all of the subfolders in this folder:


Just as you can do with Windows 7, you can create additional folders and create your own folder structure. Click on the Desktop folder to open it. Then right click on the white workspace to bring up the following screen:


Click on Create Folder to place a new folder on your desktop. Give the folder a name:

You can also put a file on the desktop. Right click on the workspace and click on Create Document, Empty File:


Give the file a name.

Moving Files and Folders
You could have opened the Current Documents folder first and then created this file in it. However, you can also create the document and then move it into the folder either by selecting it in the file manager and then dragging it to the Current Documents folder in the File Manager:


Or you can close the file manager and simply drag the document to the Current Documents folder in the Desktop:


Use List View to Sort Many Documents and Folders
Changing from Compact View to list view will present a table with the folder and file names in alphabetical order followed by the number of files in a folder (or file size of a file) and the date that the folder or file was last modified.


This additional information can help us sort through and organize our documents.

Change the Default View of our File Manager
Changing from Icon View to Compact View or List View is only temporary. The moment we open another folder, our file manager goes back to the Default View which currently is the Icon View. To change the default view to Tree View, click on Edit in the File Manager Menu. Then click on Preferences.


Change View new folders using from Icon View to List View. We will also uncheck “All columns have the same width.”

Add Application “Launcher” Icons to our Desktop
We next need to add some Application Icons to the Desktop. Click on the Start Menu. This brings up the Favorites screen:


Then click on All Applications in the upper right corner. This changes the main menu from the Favorites screen to the Applications screen:


Then click on Office:


The most important application is LibreOffice Writer, which is a free open source word processor similar to Microsoft Word. Click on this application. Then hold down on this selection and drag the icon to the desktop.


We can also create Quick Launchers for our Desktop by right clicking on an application, then clicking on Add to Desktop.


Click on Libre Office Writer quick start icon on our Desktop to make sure it works:


We will cover how to use Libre Office in another article. But it basically works just like Word 2003 – with a fixed menu structure. Close Libre Office Writer. We will now add Firefox browser to the desktop using the same process. Click on Menu:


Then click on Internet. Then right click Firefox. Then click Add to Desktop:

Change Desktop Settings
You can also control which default icons appear on your desktop by going to Menu, Preferences, Desktop Settings:


We can delete the home or computer quick start icon here if we want less on our desktop. Or add the Trash icon if we want the trash can on the desktop.

Modify the Main Start Menu
To modify the items that appear on the main Start menu, right click on the menu:


Then click on Edit Menu:

For menu categories to appear in the main menu, they need to have menu items in them. For example, we could select Education, but this menu item will not appear until after we have added some education programs. Click on each of the Application categories in the left column to bring up a list of possible menu items in the middle column. Select or unselect these to create your own custom menu of the items you are most likely to use.

Now that we understand how to use the Mate File Manager, in the next section we will cover how to use the Mate Panel system. 
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