How to Enable AVIF Thumbnails in Nautilus and Support for Other GTK Apps

AVIF thumbnails

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to enable thumbnails for AVIF (AV1) images in the Nautilus file manager, as well as AVIF image support for other GTK apps that do not support this format by default.

AVIF is not a new format, but it’s not yet used as much as other lossy and lossless image formats, such as the now-popular WebP, despite the fact that it is already supported by widely used web browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome/Chromium.

It also appears that support for the AVIF image format isn’t yet fully implemented in popular desktop environments like GNOME. For example, GNOME’s default image viewer app Eye of GNOME cannot open AVIF images, and the Nautilus file manager doesn’t generate thumbnails for AVIF images.

Luckily, there’s a tool for that and it’s called avif-pixbuf-loader, which contains a plugin to load AVIF images in GTK applications and anywhere gdk-pixbuf is used and as long as it has been compiled against libavif.

I’m currently using Fedora Linux 38 as my main workstation with the GNOME 44.4 desktop.

I recently started using AVIF images over WebP for this blog because it loads pages a lot faster with minimal effort, so I’ll be dealing with a lot of images in this format, but Nautilus doesn’t generate thumbnails for them and I can’t view them with Eye of GNOME.

The solution is very simple. All I had to do was to install the avif-pixbuf-loader package from the repositories and voilà, all newly generated images in the AVIF format now also have thumbnails in the Nautilus file manager, and I can also view them with GNOME’s default image viewer, Eye of GNOME.

I haven’t tested with other GTK apps, but the avif-pixbuf-loader tool promises to enable support for AVIF images on other GTK applications, so if it works with your favorite apps, do let me and others know in a comment below.

Last updated 6 months ago

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