This quick tutorial shows how to restore the type-to-seek (type-ahead) functionality in Ubuntu 18.04 Nautilus file browser.
The type ahead functionality is removed in upstream Nautilus and unavailable in Ubuntu since Ubuntu 17.10 Artful.
For those sticking to the search functionality, Lubomir Brindza has made a patched for Nautilus in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.
To install the patched Nautilus package, open terminal either via Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut or by searching for ‘terminal’ from application menu.
When terminal opens, run following commands one by one:
1.) Paste command and hit run to add the PPA. Type user password (no asterisk feedback) for sudo prompts and hit Enter to continue.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead
2.) Then check updates and upgrade Nautilus package with the patch:
sudo apt update sudo apt upgrade
The PPA also contains the patch for Ubuntu 19.04 and Ubuntu 19.10, it is however a little older than default Nautilus version so far, and you may either wait the PPA to be updated or download & install the packages manually (see the previous link).
To uninstall the patch and restore Nautilus file browser to its original status, simply purge the PPA via command:
sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead