Monthly Downloads: 9
Programming language: Haskell
License: BSD 3-clause "New" or "Revised" License
Tags: System    
Latest version: v0.5.2.1

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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: 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.


Note: You may need to install ncurses on your system before using clifm

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 https://github.com/pasqu4le/clifm.git
$ cd clifm
$ cabal install


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

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

Bottom menu
  • L: open Se*l*ection menu
  • A: open T*a*b 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.

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.

Text Editor

By default clifm will look for an editor in your environment variables: $VISUAL and $EDITOR (in this order). If both cannot be found it will try to use nano.

You can select an editor with the option --editor or -e, for example: clifm -e nano


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
  • "default.bg" - a color specification
  • "default.style" - 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:

  • foo.bar.fg - a color specification
  • foo.bar.bg - a color specification
  • foo.bar.style - 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".

Threads for directory size computation

Directory size is calculated by visiting a directory tree to sum it's files sizes (using conduit) and it may take a while. For this reason these will be calculated in different threads.

You can limit how many of these threads to have at the same time by using --thread-num or -n, for example: clifm -n 8.

You are likely to have the best results with as many threads as your processor's cores. The default limit is set to 4.


Right now nothing is planned.

Suggestions and requests are always welcome, if you have any or you find a bug please open a new issue.

Special thanks to @batarian71 for the logo.