Midnight commander is a popular file manager available from repositories in almost all major Linux distributions. Many new users find it difficult to work on servers only from command line so midnight commander is a welcomed help. Here are some tips and notes how to use this tool together with my most used shortcuts that I used to give users that never worked with it before. As always for a complete list of keyboard shortcuts and much more man mc or info mc should work.
To start midnight commander simply type mc.
If you want the panels pointing to some specific directories append a path (or two) after the mc:
[podlevak@55cent:~]$ mc /etc/httpd/ /var/log/
To go back to command line you don't have to quit midnight commander with F10 - on most shells, here bash is used, ctrl-z will put mc into background and it can be put back to foreground with fg command.
[podlevak@55cent:~]$ mc /etc/httpd/ /var/log/ + Stopped /usr/bin/mc -P "$MC_PWD_FILE" "$@" [podlevak@55cent:~]$ fg
Another way is using the ctrl-o shortcut for hiding the panels; to show them press ctrl-o again.
Midnight commander comes with an integrated editor and viewer - you can use them also directly:
[podlevak@55cent:~]$ mcview /etc/hosts [podlevak@55cent:~]$ mcedit new_file
I've divided the shortcuts into three groups according to their usage. A little note on how to use them:
- when using a shortcut like ctrl-r, hold down the control key and then press the r key
- for shortcut like ctrl-x-o hold down the control key and then press the x key, let go and press the o key
File manipulation and shell commands
- ctrl-x-c change permissions
- ctrl-x-o change owner
- ctrl-x-s create symlink
- ctrl-x-ctrl-s edit symlink
- esc-tab completion, like tab in shell
- alt-s search in active panel, after pressing keys just write
- alt-p previous entered command
- alt-n next entered command
- ctrl-space show directory size
- ctrl-x-i shows file / directory info, press again to return to panel
- ctrl-x-q quick view - view content of files in a preview window (F7 for search works), press again to return to panel
- ctrl-o turn off/hide the panels, 2x turns them on
- ctrl-r rescan (refresh active panel)
- ctrl-u flip panels
- alt-o open path in other panel
- ctrl- frequently used directories, directory hot-list
- Insert select single file
- * (asterisk) select all files, 2x un-selects if all files were selected, or inverts selection if files were selected (using a mask or insert)
- + (plus) select mask, regular expression can be used
- - (minus) un-select mask, regular expression can be used