Collector: The Linux Parallel to Mac’s DropOver

If you’re seeking a method to copy files on Linux more effectively, don’t miss the new GTK/libadwaita application, termed Collector.

Collector serves as a temporary storage area where you can drag and drop files, paste clipboard contents and internet image links, and so forth. You have the leisure to gather content, as well as preview and alter your ‘stash’ as you proceed.

When you’re ready, you simply drag all items out with a single click to deposit them elsewhere. You can place them in a folder on your file system, in an app (provided it accepts them), or on a web page for uploading them, for example, to cloud storage, social media, web chats, and so on.

You can simultaneously open multiple Collector windows (although a custom shortcut is needed for this), and you can allot each window a color dot to help you distinguish which drop pad is which — clever!

Collector drag and drop for Linux

A temporary stash pad for content

If you press Alt as you drag content out of the Collector window the stash is cleared, but a regular drag leaves content there so you can copy it again, elsewhere.

While there’s nothing inherently bad about switching in and out of folders to copy files individually, it can be become an effort as more and more file browser windows/tabs are opened. Being able to “stash” files in Collector to copy them at the same time is, for my needs, convenient!

An overview of Collector features:

  • Drag and drop files/folders to copy
  • Preview and edit dropped items
  • Drop clipboard content using Ctrl + V
  • Run multiple Collector windows
  • Group text drops into a single CSV file
  • Downloads images dropped from web browsers
  • Press Alt when dragging to clear files

In many ways, Collector is a Linux alternative to Dropover for macOS, although it doesn’t have the latter tool’s fancier features like ‘shake to activate’ — some might argue this is advantageous!

A few options are provided that allow you to customize the utility’s behavior.

You have the opportunity to improve your experience even more on GNOME 45 (~Ubuntu 23.10) with an official companion GNOME Shell extension. When enabled, it allows the Collector window to remain visible at all times, eliminating the need for focus.

If you regularly need to work with, move, or copy an assortment of different files from different locations to a single end destination (be it a folder or even on to another app, then Collector is well worth checking out — it could save you time.

• Get Collector on Flathub