clifm: Command Line Interface File Manager

[ bsd3, program, system ] [ Propose Tags ]

A terminal-based File Manager with multiple panes/tabs interface, basic file operations and mouse support.

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Versions [RSS],,,
Dependencies base (>=4.10 && <4.11), brick (>=0.34 && <0.35), byteunits (>=0.4 && <0.5), directory (>=1.3 && <1.4), filepath (>=1.4 && <1.5), optparse-applicative (>=0.14 && <0.15), pointedlist (>=0.6 && <0.7), process (>=1.6 && <1.7), time (>=1.8 && <1.10), vector (>=0.12 && <0.13), vty (>=5.17 && <6) [details]
License BSD-3-Clause
Author pasqu4le
Category System
Home page
Source repo head: git clone git://
Uploaded by pasqu4le at 2018-04-16T09:17:48Z
Reverse Dependencies 1 direct, 0 indirect [details]
Executables clifm
Downloads 2188 total (9 in the last 30 days)
Rating (no votes yet) [estimated by Bayesian average]
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Status Docs not available [build log]
Last success reported on 2018-04-16 [all 2 reports]

Readme for clifm-

[back to package description]

Command Line Interface File Manager

Clifm is a small file manager written in Haskell with a terminal-based interface. It allows you to explore directories in multiple Panes/Tabs and perform basic operations.


Note: this is still an experiment. Directory navigation will do no harm, but double-check before starting operations on your file system. I take no responsibility for what you do with this software.


For ArchLinux the binary from the latest github release should work. For other Linux distro the binary may work as well, or you can build from source.

To build from source you will need GHC and cabal-install. Since clifm is on Hackage you can just use:

$ cabal install clifm

or install from the cloned repository:

$ git clone
$ cd clifm
$ cabal install


Clifm is a brick application, that in turn builds upon vty. As such it supports a large number of terminals, but not on Windows, handles windows resizing and more.

If your terminal supports a mouse you can use it to change Tab/Pane, click a button on the bottom or change your selection, but only using the keyboard you can perform every possible action. This is the list of all the keybindings:

Bottom menu

  • L: open Selection menu
  • A: open Tab menu
  • P: open Pane menu
  • BackSpace: go back to main menu
  • Esc/Q: Quit


  • Enter: Open directory/run executable file/open readable file in editor
  • Ctrl+(X/C): Cut/Copy the selected Item
  • Up/Down Arrow: move the selection in the current Tab
  • PageUp/PageDown: move the selection in the current Tab by one page at a time
  • Home/End: move the selection in the current Tab to beginning or end of list
  • Ctrl+R: Rename the selected Item
  • Ctrl+D: Delete the selected Item
  • Ctrl+O: Open the selected directory in a New Tab
  • S: Show info about the selected Item


  • Tab/BackTab: Move to the next/previous tab
  • Ctrl+(Left/Right Arrow): Swap current tab's position with the previous/next one
  • Ctrl+V: Paste in the current Tab's directory
  • Ctrl+S: Search for a file/folder in the current Tab's directory
  • K: Kill (close) the current Tab
  • M: Make a new directory
  • T: Touch (create an empty) file
  • G: Go to another directory
  • E: Open Empty Tab
  • R: Refresh the current Tab
  • O: Order by file name/file size/access time/modification time
  • I: Invert order


  • Left/Right Arrow: Focus on the previous/next Pane
  • Ctrl+E: Open Empty Pane
  • Ctrl+K: Kill (close) the current Pane

The actions above will not work only if a prompt is up, or you try to do something not possible.

NOTE: directory size is not guaranteed to be accurate, the function in the directory library seems to be filesystem/platform dependent and visiting a directory tree to sum it's files sizes takes way too much time. Until a better solution is found the directory size will still be shown, but do not trust what it says.

Command line arguments

You can have a list of command line arguments by running clifm --help.

Starting directory

If you specify nothing clifm will open the current directory, but you can select another directory using --dir-path or -d, for example: clifm -d "/home".

If the directory path is not valid clifm will open on an empty tab.


You can load a theme from a file using --theme or -t, for example: clifm -t "theme/phosphor.ini". If the file does not exists or cannot be loaded clifm will use the default theme.

You can use one of the existing themes in the themes/ folder:

  • blackAndWhite.ini
  • paper.ini (inverted blackAndWhite)
  • phosphor.ini (like old monochrome monitors)
  • ocean.ini (very blue)

You can also write and use your own themes: copy the themes/template.ini file, fill in the attributes you want to change and delete those you like as default.

Complete explanation from Brick.Themes:

The file format is as follows:

Customization files are INI-style files with two sections, both optional: "default" and "other".

The "default" section specifies three optional fields:

  • "default.fg" - a color specification
  • "" - a color specification
  • "" - a style specification

A color specification can be any of the strings black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, brightBlack, brightRed, brightGreen, brightYellow, brightBlue, brightMagenta, brightCyan, brightWhite, or default.

A style specification can be either one of the following values (without quotes) or a comma-delimited list of one or more of the following values (e.g. "[bold,underline]") indicating that all of the specified styles be used. Valid styles are standout, underline, reverseVideo, blink, dim, and bold.

The other section specifies for each attribute name in the theme the same fg, bg, and style settings as for the default attribute. Furthermore, if an attribute name has multiple components, the fields in the INI file should use periods as delimiters. For example, if a theme has an attribute name ("foo" <> "bar"), then the file may specify three fields:

  • - a color specification
  • - a color specification
  • - a style specification

Any color or style specifications omitted from the file mean that those attribute or style settings will use the theme's default value instead.

Attribute names with multiple components (e.g. attr1 <> attr2) can be referenced in customization files by separating the names with a dot. For example, the attribute name "list" <> "selected" can be referenced by using the string "list.selected".


  • mc directory comparison (need to solve the next point first)
  • find a way to read correctly a directory size in reasonable time