Dual pane browsers

Tutorials >
As a note, I don't use any of the programmes listed below anymore! I guess I grew out of them. For me it's Ranger for file browsing and even opening media, with its inline preview of images, showing with feh, and playing with mplayer, it's quite unbeatable.

First up it's X file explorer

Xfe is light-weight and opens up fast - that in itself is a good reason to migrate to it from dolphin, if you are a dual-panel file manger person.

It has many good features but also lacks some common to the kde file managers or nautilus.

 What's lacking  Work-around
 No "Places" or shortcuts on the left panel  Create a dir with symlinks in root. 
1. RC on / in folder tree > Panel > New Folder, start xfe as root on prompt
2. give the new dir the name "A sym"
3. navigate to "A sym" and add symlinks with RC,
    number them or make certain ones last by naming with x.. or z..
This becomes your short-cut list. "A sym" will always be in the location buttons over a panel.
 Difficult to navigate to removable media (through /media) because of not having "Places"  in home add symlinks to /media to access removable drives easier, and partition drives.
really need a button dedicated to each removable drive at top

 Bookmarks can't be removed individually, rearranged, or shown in the left panel
 Do the above for navigation shortcuts.
 Can't expand dir's in a panel  But when moving, copying files, drag and hold over a dir it will open, copy/move/cancel dialogue appears, and the dir returns up-level after the action completed.
 No "+" selection markers by files/dir's like with dolphin  CTRL-click on files.
 Can't configure tool bars   
 No dir/file search   Need to use catfish
 copy progress shows each file moving, does not show a total eg total files size, percentage copied/moved, est time left.  
 can't remove or add columns  drag a column to cover over an unneeded one
 opening a file the "open with" dialogue does not give a prog list!  have to enter the program name (launch command)
 no paste into dir option   select the files to copy/move, F5 = copy to, F6 = move to (it's automatically set to the the opposite panel's directory location)
 file selection in panel is lost when switching panel  need to Ctrl-C/Ctrl-X before switching panels or use F5/F6
 sorting of files 1,12,2,24,3, not 1,2,3,12,24  
 no mouse-drag select files except from the bottom empty space  
 cannot browse directories while a file copy/move operation is in progress  open a new xfe instance to browse 
 can't rename multiple files!  must use pyrenamer or thunar
 no drive space info below panels  rely on xfce panel Mount devices plugin
 delete greyed out? or SHIFT-del unresponsive  in > preferences > general check "include command to by-pass trash"
 can't drag a dir over to a panel to replace dir of same name and its files -the copied dir goes inside the dir of its same name  delete dir first then copy over fresh (if small)
 can't handle some archives, e.g. .ar, .cbz  use thunar with archive plugin

Tips: Edit a dir/file name -select and press F9 or properties button.

press first letter of a dir and the first dir beginning with that letter will open in the panel

to install .deb packages just click to open them in X File Package, then find the buttons on the bottom bar.

If linux plain text doc's become executables -select multiple files, > Properties > Permissions uncheck executable, but only works in home partition, so give extension like .txt (use pyrenamer as can't multiple rename extensions in xfe).

But .txt is not linux so in respect to linux text files xfe is disfunctional.


sunflower-fm/ (download the .deb)

A nice and promising dual-panel file browser. One cool thing is the ease of comparing directories with the tap of F12 (or whatever shortcut you like!) -see pic below.

Useful Keyboard shortcuts

hint: edit the hotkeys for Clipit first to avoid calling clipit menu with ctrl-alt-P -set clipit history to Super-H

(my own are in bold blue)

shift-Down/ shift-Up
copy path
deselect all
go to parent dir
go to root
toggle selection

select with same ext
invert selection
open selected dir in new tab
select app and execute
show open with menu
swap panels
quick search
find files
show hidden files
Alt-pg up / Alt-pg dn / Alt-home
create dir
create file
view selected (text/image)
edit selected (text with leafpad)
copy selected
move selected
compare dir for difference
show bookmarks left
show bookmarks right
move divider handle
Alt-1 - 0
Tab / Alt-Left Alt-Right
sh-ctrl-C /sh-ctrl-V
bookmark current dir
edit bookmarks
duplicate tab
close tab
switch panel

next tab
terminal copy/paste


What it lacks

Symlink icons are not different to directory icons. thumbnailing

Sunflower vs Thunar vs Xfe !

Pluses for Sunflower

For Thunar

and Xfe

Midnight Commander

I haven't used this one much yet, but it is dual panel, opens in a bash window with `mc' and can compare directories, then copy over files not found in other etc. It looks more keyboard-friendly than GUI browsers, and with that, possibly faster to work with once you've learned the keys. Text docs can be viewed in own viewer.

Download it here http://www.midnight-commander.org/

Documentation here http://www.midnight-commander.org/wiki/doc


To make mc transparent you need to edit the ~/.mc/ini file and change the line under [Colors] to

edit colours http://plug-and-pray.blogspot.com/...

Just tabs, no multi-pane? Enter Ranger

If we were happy just having tabs, Thunar is lightning fast to open as many tabs as you need, with a GTK shortcut key (point to file menu and enter shortcut) to do that (e.g. Ctrl-Space).

Then there's Ranger, an X terminal program, which if you get into might see you quit using all of your GUI file managers!! Because Ranger, as well as being a directory browser, is a complete and competant file manager in itself, and it's easy to use with just the keyboard (though mouse works too)

see my Ranger page