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Vifm is a ncurses based file manager with vi like keybindings. If you use vi, vifm gives you complete keyboard control over your files without having to learn a new set of commands. Source: Vifm on sourceforge.


Vifm is in Community:

# pacman -S vifm

Optional, for file previews:

  • tree for directory previews
  • mp3info for viewing information about mp3 files
  • poppler for pdf previews

Help File

Basic information about vifm is given in the help file. You can view it by opening vifm and typing


Another good source of information is the man page.

Customizing Vifm

Vifm creates and populates a .vifm folder in your home directory containing the following:

  • vifmrc - a well commented configuration file that can be edited to suit your working style.
  • vifm-help.txt - the help text
  • vifminfo - bookmarks and trash contents - it is not recommended to edit this file by hand
  • Trash/ directory - self explanatory
  • colors/ directory - color schemes
    • Default - well commented default color scheme - can be copied to create user-created color schemes

To get started, read the information avaliable in:

  • /usr/share/vifm/vifm.txt
  • /usr/share/vifm/vifm-help.txt

Color schemes

The ~/.vifm/colors directory contains the color schemes. The format is outlined in the file and follows vi/vim syntax highlight format. It is basically:

highlight <group> cterm=<attribute> ctermfg=<color> ctermbg=<color>

An example colorscheme looks like:

highlight Win cterm=none ctermfg=white ctermbg=black
highlight Directory cterm=bold ctermfg=cyan ctermbg=none
highlight Link cterm=bold ctermfg=yellow ctermbg=none
highlight BrokenLink cterm=bold ctermfg=red ctermbg=none
highlight Socket cterm=bold ctermfg=magenta ctermbg=none
highlight Device cterm=bold ctermfg=red ctermbg=none
highlight Fifo cterm=bold ctermfg=cyan ctermbg=none
highlight Executable cterm=bold ctermfg=green ctermbg=none
highlight Selected cterm=bold ctermfg=magenta ctermbg=none
highlight CurrLine cterm=bold ctermfg=none ctermbg=blue
highlight TopLine cterm=none ctermfg=black ctermbg=white
highlight TopLineSel cterm=bold ctermfg=black ctermbg=none
highlight StatusLine cterm=bold ctermfg=black ctermbg=white
highlight WildMenu cterm=underline,reverse ctermfg=white ctermbg=black
highlight CmdLine cterm=none ctermfg=white ctermbg=black
highlight ErrorMsg cterm=none ctermfg=red ctermbg=black
highlight Border cterm=none ctermfg=black ctermbg=white

Key Mapping

As of 0.6.2 you can customize key bindings in Vifm. These can be set from the command mode using the map command, like so:

 :map ] :s

However, these mappings will not be saved between sessions. To map a key permanently, place them in ~/vifm/vifmrc. More sample mappings can be seen at the end of that file.

Opening filetypes in Vifm

You can assign applications to filetypes in vifmrc, eg.

filetype *.jpg,*.jpeg,*.png,*.gif feh %f 2>/dev/null &
filetype *.md5 md5sum -c %f

Several defaults can be found in vifmrc. These can be edited or added to following the same format.

Browse images in current directory with Feh

filextype *.jpg,*.jpeg,*.png,*.gif
       \ {View in feh}
       \ feh -FZ %d --start-at %d/%c,

It will display your selected image in feh, but it will enable you to browse all other images in the directory as well, in their default order.

User commands

You can also create custom commands in vifmrc, eg.

command df df -h %m 2> /dev/null
command diff vim -d %f %F

Creating symbolic links

command link ln -s %d/%f %D

When you call


a link of the selected file is made in the other directory (if you are in split view). It even works with multiple files selected with visual (v) or tag (t).

Torrent Creation

make a .torrent of the current file in the other tab's dir

command mkt mktorrent -p -a [your announce url here] -o %D/%f.torrent %d/%f


Marks can be set same as in vi. To set a mark for current file:


Go to a file set for mark:


Vifm will remember the marks between the sessions.

Tips and tricks

Useful Key Mappings

Single stroke to access command line

   nmap ; :


Another text-based file manager with vi-like keybinds is ranger.