8 Best Linux Console File Managers

Linux console file managers can be very helpful in a day to day tasks, when managing files on a local machine or when connected to a remote one. The visual console representation of the directory helps quickly perform file/folder operations and save us some time.

Read Also: 30 Best GUI and CLI File Managers for Linux

In this article, we are going to review some of the most frequently used Linux console file managers and their features and benefits.

GNU Midnight Commander

Midnight Command, often referred to simply as mc and is one of the top file managers discussed in this article. Mc comes with all kinds of useful features, aside from copy, move, delete, create files and directories you can change permissions and ownership, review archives, use it as FTP client and many more.

Gnu Midnight Commander
Gnu Midnight Commander

You can find our full review of the Midnight commander a console based file manager.

To install midnight commander you can use the following commands:

$ sudo apt install mc    [Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install mc    [CentOS/RHEL]
$ sudo dnf install mc    [Fedora]

Ranger Console File Manager

Ranger is another top choice when, looking for a console file manager. It has a vim like interface, preview of the selected file or directory, bookmarks mouse support and tabbed view.

You can find our full review here: Ranger – a nice console file manager with vi key bindings.

To install ranger you can use the following commands:

$ sudo apt install ranger    [Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install ranger    [CentOS/RHEL]
$ sudo dnf install ranger    [Fedora]
Ranger - Console File Manager
Ranger – Console File Manager

Cfiles Fast Terminal File Manager

Cfiles is a fast terminal file manager written in C and uses ncurses, similar to ranger, it also uses vi keybindings. It has few dependencies such as cp, mv, fzf, xdg-open and others. While it is lightweight, its installation requires few more steps:

Cfiles - Terminal File Manager
Cfiles – Terminal File Manager

To install cfiles, first you need to install development tools using following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential          [On Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'	[on CentOS/RHEL 7/6]

Next, clone the cfiles repository and install it using following commands.

$ git clone https://github.com/mananapr/cfiles.git
$ cd cfiles
$ gcc cf.c -lncurses -o cf
$ sudo cp cf /usr/bin/            #Or copy somewhere else in your $PATH 

More detailed review of cfiles can be found here: Cfiles a terminal file manager for Linux.

Vifm Console File Manager

Vifm is another command line based file manager, which uses curses interface. This one however copies some features from mutter. If you are vim user, you won’t need to learn new set of commands to work with vifm. It uses same keybindings and also has the ability to edit several kind of files.

Similar to other console file managers, it has two panes, supports auto completion. It also supports various of different views for comparison of file trees. You can also execute remote commands with it.

Vifm - Console File Manager
Vifm – Console File Manager

To install Vifm you can use the following commands:

$ sudo apt install vifm    [Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install vifm    [CentOS/RHEL]
$ sudo dnf install vifm    [Fedora]

More detailed review of vifm can be seen at: Vifm command line based file manager for Linux.

Nnn Terminal File Browser

Nnn is the fastest console file manager in our list. While it has less features compared to other file managers, it is extremely lightweight and it is closest to a desktop file manager on what you can get on console. The interaction is simple and allows new users to easily get used to the terminal.

Nnn - Terminal File Browser
Nnn – Terminal File Browser

To install nnn, you can use the following command:

$ sudo apt install nnn    [Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install nnn    [CentOS/RHEL]
$ sudo dnf install nnn    [Fedora]

More detailed preview of nnn can be found at: Nnn – fast and friendly terminal file browser.

Lfm Last File Manager

Lfm shortened for Last File Manager is a curses based console file manager written in Python 3.4. It can be used with 1 or 2 panes. It has some useful features such as filters, bookmarks, history, VFS for compressed files, tree view and direct integration with find command, grep utility, df command and other tools. Customize themes are also available.

Lfm - Last File Manager
Lfm – Last File Manager

To install Lfm, you can use the following command:

$ sudo apt install lfm    [Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install lfm    [CentOS/RHEL]
$ sudo dnf install lfm    [Fedora]
$ sudo pacman -S lfm      [[Arch Linux]

You can also install lfm using pip command:

$ sudo pip install lfm

lf – List Files

Lf – “List files” is a command line file manager written in Go, inspired by Ranger. Originally it was meant to fill the gaps of missing features that ranger had.

lf - List Files
lf – List Files

Some of the main features of lf are:

  • It’s cross platform – Linux, OSX, Windows (only partial).
  • Single binary without any runtime dependencies.
  • Low memory footprint.
  • Configuration with shell commands.
  • Customizable keybindings.

Future plans, include the activation of mouse control.

To install lf simply download the binary related build for your OS from the lf releases page.

WCM Commander

The last in our list is WCM command which is another cross platform console file manager.The authors of the WCM commander meant to create a cross platform file manager which mimics the features of Far Manager.

WCM Commander
WCM Commander

It has a built in terminal, built in text editor and viewer, syntax highlighting, virtual filesystem, and very fast user interface. Mouse support is also enabled. Package for each OS can be found on the WCM download page:


This was our short presentation on some of the top Linux console file managers. If you think we have missed one or like some of them more, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Marin Todorov
I am a bachelor in computer science and a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator. Currently working as a Senior Technical support in the hosting industry. In my free time I like testing new software and inline skating.

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19 thoughts on “8 Best Linux Console File Managers”

  1. I just brew’d ranger into osx and it seems helpful, thanks!

    I know if I want to shell in remotely and not fiddle with the inadequacies in vnc/etc from a slower connection that this is pretty great. Haters gonna h8. :D


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