A modern file manager for the command line

Command Line – ranger

© Photo by Brian Mann on Unsplash

© Photo by Brian Mann on Unsplash

Article from Issue 251/2021

Ranger offers a wealth of commands – many with alternatives – and less reliance on a mouse.

Linux has all the necessary commands for manipulating files, everything from ls and cp to rm and mv. However, file managers have the advantage of centralizing all the commands and requiring less knowledge in all except the most advanced circumstances. In fact, file managers remain so useful that Midnight Commander (mc) continues to be used at the command line 27 years after it was first released. A more recent command-line file manager is ranger [1], which uses many Vim keybindings and is written in Python, which allows for the easy creation of custom scripts.

Ranger is available in many distributions, and the latest version can be downloaded from GitHub [1]. It requires Python 3 and includes a long list of suggested packages for full functionality, such as w3m for graphics display, poppler-utils for PDF display, and python-pygments for code highlighting. It creates the directory ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf with the configuration files in Table 1 (shown in Figure 1).

The configuration files also function as documentation on how to customize; although, unless you have a knowledge of Python, these files may be of limited use. A few notes are given in the GitHub repository [2].


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