Explorer Panel - Navigation

The Explorer Panel is the primary panel in Multi Commander. It is from here that you browse the filesystem and select files to copy, move, rename, delete or view.

All References to Keyboard and Mouse commands below assume that you are using the default Commander-Style setup, unless otherwise specified.

Commander-Style-Setup vs WindowsExplorer-Style Setup

By default Multi Commander uses the Commander-Style setup, meaning that mouse and keyboard shortcuts are similar to the file manager named NortonCommander that existed before Windows on MS-DOS. This setup has become very popular and is used in many other file managers on many platforms. It is popular because it is optimized for keyboard use and provides the ability to do everything from the keyboard in a efficient way.

If you are more comfortable with the way Windows Explorer operates, it is possible to configure Multi Commander to work like Explorer. You will, however, lose some of the efficiency that you get from the Commander-Style setup.

Read more about how to change Multi Commander to the Windows Explorer-Style Setup
 

Navigate the FileSystem

You can use both the keyboard and mouse to navigate in the Explorer Panel.

The files/folders that are currently in focus are highlighted by way of a border drawn around them. These are the files/folders that will be affected by your action if no other files/folders are selected. You can navigate up and down the list with the up and down arrow keys. The HOME and END keys will change the focus to the first or last item in the list.

If there are more files and folders than will fit on the screen you can use the page up and page down keys to scroll up and down in steps.

To choose a subfolder to browse either double-click it or, if the folder is already in focus, press the RETURN key. The Explorer Panel will then try to show you the content of that path. You are also able to browse archives if there are filesystem plugins installed that expose that archive format as a filesystem. For example .zip and .rar files can be browsed as if they were unpacked into normal folders. 

To go back to the parent folder you can either double-click on the ".." icon or press the BACKSPACE key. Holding down CTRL while pressing BACKSPACE will send you to the root of the current volume or device.

Holding CTRL and pressing the LEFT or RIGHT arrow key can synchronize the current path or folder in focus to the panel on the left or right. For example if you are in the left panel and focus is on a folder and you press the CTRL+RIGHT ARROW key, the path for the folder in focus will be sent to the right panel, and if the right panel is an Explorer Panel it will now show that path location. If the CTRL+LEFT ARROW key is pressed when the active panel also is the left one, the Explorer Panel on the left will get the current path location of the right panel and show that location in the left panel.

If you hold CTRL while pressing the PAGE DOWN or PAGE UP key you will go to the next or previous sibling folder of the current location. For example If you have some A to Z folders in C:\MyFolders\ and you are currently located in C:\MyFolders\D, then when you press the CTRL+PAGE DOWN keys the Explorer Panel will now go to the C:\MyFolders\E folder. If instead CTRL+PAGE UP were pressed, it would have gone to the C:\MyFolders\C folder. This however requires that sorting in the Explorer Panel is set to the name column. It will go to whichever previous (or next) sibling folder that the current sorting determines.

If you have an Explorer Panel both in the source and target panel and want to show the same location in the target as the source panel has, then press the keyboard shortcut key CTRL+. (dot) in the source panel. The target and source panel will then show the same location.

Hint

Go To Sibling
A quick way to go to a sibling folder is by way of the shortcut keys

  • Ctrl+Page Up goes to the preceding sibling folder (in sort order)
  • Ctrl+Page Down goes to the next sibling folder.

Sorting

To sort the files and folders shown, click on the header of the column that you want to sort the contents by. Clicking on it again will reverse the sort order. You will see an arrow in the header of the column that currently has sorting activated, indicating if sorting is ascending or descending.

Sorting can also be changed using shortcut keys: CTRL+F1 to sort by first column, CTRL+F2 for second column and so on, up to CTRL+F5. Selecting the column that is already the sort column will reverse the sort order of that column.

If the configuration option Sort Files Logical for the Explorer Panel is checked, files and folders will be sorted so that numeric subfields are treated as numbers. E.g. instead of files being shown as 

file_0011.txt
file_1.txt
file_10.txt
file_2.txt

They will be sorted as

file_1.txt
file_2.txt
file_10.txt
file_0011.txt

Select files and folders

There are many ways to select files and folders in the Explorer Panel, and Multi Commander also remembers which files and folders you had selected if you return to a location you had previously opened since Multi Commander was last started. (If Multi Commander is closed this information is lost).

Mouse (Commander-Style Setup)

Right click on the file or folder that you want to select or deselect. You can also hold down the right mouse button and drag the mouse up and down to change the selection on multiple files and folders. When changing selections on multiple files or folders, the first selection performed determines whether it should select or deselect all the files/folders that are under the mouse cursor until the mouse button is released.

Mouse (Windows Explorer-Style Setup)

Selection works as it does in Windows Explorer. You Select files/folders with the left mouse button, and to select multiple files and folders you hold down the shift key to select/unselect a range of items. Holding down CTRL will let you toggle the selection of items without deselecting already selected items.
 

Mouse Selection Rectangle

If the option Selection Rectangle is checked in Explorer Panel Settings, you can also drag out a rectangle on the display. All files and folder that are touched by the rectangle will be selected. To use the selection rectangle you must start a drag operation outside any file or folder name. 

Expanding / Shrinking Selection by Filter

Using the shortcut key NUM+ or "Select" from the Edit Menu, an "Expand Selection" dialog will be shown where you can insert a filter and all files and folders matching that filter will be selected.

Using the shortcut key NUM- or "Unselect" from the Edit Menu, a "Shrink Selection" dialog will be shown where you can insert a filter and all files and folders matching that filter will be deselected.

Invert Selection

By pressing the shortcut key NUM* or selecting "Invert Selection" from the Edit Menu, the selection of all the files and folders at the current location will be inverted. (Selected files and folders will be deselected, and unselected ones will be selected.)

Select All / Unselect All

Use the shortcut key CTRL+A or choose "Select All" from the Edit Menu to select all files and folders at the current location. Use CTRL+D or choose "Unselect All" from the Edit Menu to deselect all files and folders. 

Quick Select Matching Extension or Filename

Using the shortcut key CTRL + NUM+ or "Select same extension" from the Edit Menu, all files with the same file extension as the file currently in focus will be selected. Similarly, CTRL + NUM- deselects the files.

Using the shortcut key ALT + NUM+ or "Select same name" from the Edit Menu causes all Files with the same name, except those having the same file extension as the file currently in focus, to be selected. ALT + NUM- similarly deselects matching files.

Toggle Selection from keyboard shortcuts

You can toggle the selection of files and folder with the INSERT key; this key will toggle the selection of the current items in focus and then move down to the next item.

Toggling the selecting files and folders can also be performed with the SPACE bar. If a selection is performed on a folder an action to calcuate the folder size is also issued.

Quick Search

Quick Search allows you to start typing a name and the focus will change to files or folders starting with that name. Using the default commander-style setup you need to hold down ALT and CTRL key while typing. This can be configured in the settings for the Explorer Panel. 

When the Quick Search window is active you can press the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to move to the previous or next file or folder that matches the current quick search.

With Windows Explorer-Style Setup you can just start typing without holding any other key down. However, this setup will disable the feature that forwards all key-presses to the command line bar.

In the settings for the Explorer Panel you can configure the Quick Search window to be activated with ALT+CTRL+<any letter> or ALT+<any letter> or simply <any letter>. If configured to be activated by any letter typed, then the Forward Keys to the command line feature will be disabled.

Forward Keys

With the default Commander-Style Setup, key-presses are forwarded to the command line bar. This make it possible for you to start typing a command without having to first manually change input focus to the command line bar.

It is possible to change the input focus to the command line bar with the shortcut key ยง. (This key may have a different character depending on keyboard layout or language. It is the key to the left of the '1' key on a normal keyboard. Laptop keyboards can be different). This key can be reconfigured in the keyboard customization manager.

Context Menu

The context menu is the right click menu that you see in Windows Explorer. In MultiCommander this can be shown in different ways and additional actions can be shown in the menu. If MultiCommander is set to Window Explorer style the context menu is shown using the right mouse button. However, for the default commander-style setup the right mouse button toggles the selections of files and folder with. But if you hold the right button down for 2 seconds it will show the context menu. Double clicking with the right button will also bring up the context menu.

Drag and Drop

You can drag and drop selected files using the left mouse button. If files are dropped on the same drive the file operation will default to a Move Operation instead of a Copy Operation. To avoid  this hold down the SHIFT key while dropping the files.

Copy / Paste

Copying and pasting of files and folders can be performed just as in Windows Explorer, but there is also a function to copy the path of a file to the clipboard so that you can paste that path or filename into another program.

Copy to the Clipboard

CTRL+P will copy the complete path with the name of the selected file or folder to the clipboard.
CTRL+SHIFT+P will copy only the name of the selected files or folders to the clipboard.
SHIFT+ALT+P will copy only the path of the selected files or folders to the clipboard.

Paste from the Clipboard

If you have a path to a file or folder already in the clipboard you can paste that path into the Explorer Panel with CTRL+V. It will then show you that path so you can continue browsing that location.

If the data in the clipboard is not a file path, MultiCommander will attempt to identify what type of data it is. If it is an image (e.g. a screen capture) then you will be presented with a dialog to save the content from the clipboard as an image and you can choose which image format you want to save it as (BMP/JPG/PNG)

If the data is identified as text you will be presented with a dialog to save the content from the clipboard as a text file and you can choose to save the text content as ASCII or Unicode.
 

Keyboard shortcuts

Favorites/Bookmarks

There are several ways to have Favorites/Bookmarks in Multi Commander

  • User Defined Command in the Button Panel
  • Alias for the command line field
  • User Command in the Menu Bar
  • Quick Launch Bar
  • Favorites Window
  • Quick Paths

User Defined Command in the Button Panel

Using User Defined Commands you can easily create a Button Panel button to change the current path. First activate Wizard mode by pressing the Wizard Mode (On/Off) button. (It is the last button to the right on the bottom row) or from the configuration menu by selecting Toggle button panel wizard mode

When Wizard Mode is active the button panel will have a red background around the buttons. You can now drag and drop a file or folder to any button and the Button Panel Wizard dialog will be shown. Click on Go to file / path in Multi Commander in the dialog and then press OK. You now have a button that when pressed will take you to that file or location.

Alias for the Command Line Field

An alias is a shortcut you type into the Multi Commander command line field that will expand into one or more longer commands. If you enter a path location in the Multi Commander command line field and then press return, Multi Commander will go to that location. So by creating an alias for a path you can go to that path by just typing the alias you assigned it. For people who like to be able to go to different paths quickly using the keyboard this is very useful and efficient.

You create an alias in the Alias Editor that you find under the Configuration menu. But there are also two quick commands, Alias and Alias2, that can create an alias directly from the command line field. For example,  if you wish to create a command line shortcut that takes you to your folder "D:\my music\mp3\" you can type alias mp3="d:\my music\mp3\". (The quotes are only needed if there are spaces in the the path). Now when you type mp3 in the command line field and press return, Multi Commander will expand the "mp3" alias to the full path and execute that. Since it is a path it will go to that location.

But there is an even easier way to create this alias, and that is to use the alias2 command. This command only takes the alias name as a parameter and assumes that the current path in the Explorer Panel will be the target path for that name. So if the path D:\my music\mp3\ is open and in the command line field you type alias2 mp3, you will create an alias named mp3 that will take you to the path D:\my music\mp3\.

Read more about aliases

User Defined Commands in the Menu Bar

The custom command for changing the path is MC.Explorer.GoTo. If you want a command that takes you to the MP3 folder we used in the alias example above you write

MC.Explorer.GoTo PATH="D:\My Music\MP3"

You can also specify LEFT/RIGHT (instead of PATH) if you want to control in which panel side the path should be opened.

After you have written your command and saved it, you can press the Menu button. From here you can add the newly created command to the menu bar.

Read more about User Defined Commands

Quick Launch Bar

You can Drag and Drop files and folders to the Quick Launch Bar. When a folder that is placed on the Quick Launch Bar is clicked, It will change the current panel to that path. You can also place a User Defined Command in the Quick Launch Bar by right-clicking on it and selecting Insert User Defined Command.

Read more about Quick Launch Bar.