From ArchWiki

ranger is a text-based file manager written in Python. Directories are displayed in one pane with three columns. Moving between them is accomplished with keystrokes, bookmarks, the mouse or the command history. File previews and directory contents show automatically for the current selection.

Features include: vi-style key bindings, bookmarks, selections, tagging, tabs, command history, the ability to make symbolic links, several console modes, and a task view. ranger has customizable commands and key bindings, including bindings to external scripts. Ranger also comes with its own file opener, rifle(1).

The closest competitors are lf and Vifm.


Install the ranger package, or ranger-gitAUR for the development version.


To start ranger, launch a terminal and run ranger.

Key Command
? Open the manual or list keybindings, commands and settings
l, Enter Launch files
j, k Select file in the current directory
h, l Travel up and down in the directory tree


After startup, ranger creates a directory ~/.config/ranger. To copy the default configuration to this directory issue the following command:

$ ranger --copy-config=all

Afterwards, set RANGER_LOAD_DEFAULT_RC=false as an environment variable to avoid loading the global configuration in addition to the local.

  • rc.conf - startup commands and key bindings
  • commands.py - commands which are launched with :
  • rifle.conf - applications used when a given type of file is launched.

rc.conf only needs to include changes from the default file as both are loaded. For commands.py, if you do not include the whole file, put this line at the top:

from ranger.api.commands import *

See ranger(1) for general configuration.

Move to trash

To add a keybind that moves files to your trash directory ~/.local/share/Trash/files/ with DD, amend the configuration file as follows:

map DD shell mv %s /home/${USER}/.local/share/Trash/files/

Alternatively, use GIO commandline tool provided by glib2 package:

map DD shell gio trash %s

Inspecting and emptying the "trash" is normally supported by graphical file managers such as nautilus, but you can also see the trash with the command gio list trash://, and empty it with: gio trash --empty.

Defining commands

Continuing the above example, add the following entry to empty the trash directory ~/.Trash.


class empty(Command):

    Empties the trash directory ~/.Trash

    def execute(self):
        self.fm.run("rm -rf /home/myname/.Trash/")

To use it, type :empty and Enter with tab completion as desired.

Color schemes

Ranger comes with four color schemes: default, jungle, snow and solarized. You can change your color scheme using:

set colorscheme scheme

Custom color schemes can be placed in ~/.config/ranger/colorschemes.

Color highlight in file previews

Install the python-pygments package, then copy /usr/share/doc/ranger/config/scope.sh to ~/.config/ranger/scope.sh and edit the variable PYGMENTIZE_STYLE in the configuration file of ranger to your liking. The complete list of supported themes can be obtained via pygmentize -L style.

File association

Ranger uses its own file opener called rifle. It is configured in ~/.config/ranger/rifle.conf. Run ranger --copy-config=rifle if it does not exist. For example, the following line makes kile the default program for tex files:

ext tex = kile "$@"

To open all files with xdg-utils, make sure your $EDITOR and $PAGER are set and add:

else = xdg-open "$1"
label editor = "$EDITOR" -- "$@"
label pager  = "$PAGER" -- "$@"

Tips and tricks

This article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements. See Help:Style for reference.

Reason: bad style (Discuss in Talk:Ranger)


These commands use atool to perform archive operations.

Archive extraction

The following command implements archive extraction of the selected items to the current directory.

import os
from ranger.core.loader import CommandLoader

class extract_here(Command):
    def execute(self):
        """ extract selected files to current directory."""
        cwd = self.fm.thisdir
        marked_files = tuple(cwd.get_selection())

        def refresh(_):
            cwd = self.fm.get_directory(original_path)

        one_file = marked_files[0]
        cwd = self.fm.thisdir
        original_path = cwd.path
        au_flags = ['-x', cwd.path]
        au_flags += self.line.split()[1:]
        au_flags += ['-e']

        self.fm.cut_buffer = False
        if len(marked_files) == 1:
            descr = "extracting: " + os.path.basename(one_file.path)
            descr = "extracting files from: " + os.path.basename(
        obj = CommandLoader(args=['aunpack'] + au_flags
                            + [f.path for f in marked_files], descr=descr,

        obj.signal_bind('after', refresh)


The following command allows users to compress several files on the current directory by marking them and then calling :compress package name. It supports name suggestions by getting the basename of the current directory and appending several possibilities for the extension. You need to have atool installed, otherwise you will see an error message when you create the archive.

import os
from ranger.core.loader import CommandLoader

class compress(Command):
    def execute(self):
        """ Compress marked files to current directory """
        cwd = self.fm.thisdir
        marked_files = cwd.get_selection()

        if not marked_files:

        def refresh(_):
            cwd = self.fm.get_directory(original_path)

        original_path = cwd.path
        parts = self.line.split()
        au_flags = parts[1:]

        descr = "compressing files in: " + os.path.basename(parts[1])
        obj = CommandLoader(args=['apack'] + au_flags + \
                [os.path.relpath(f.path, cwd.path) for f in marked_files], descr=descr, read=True)

        obj.signal_bind('after', refresh)

    def tab(self, tabnum):
        """ Complete with current folder name """

        extension = ['.zip', '.tar.gz', '.rar', '.7z']
        return ['compress ' + os.path.basename(self.fm.thisdir.path) + ext for ext in extension]

External drives

External drives can be automatically mounted with udev or udisks. The default key mappings to go to common mount points /media and /run/media/$USER are gm and gi respectively.

Hidden files

You can toggle the visibility of hidden files with the following command: :set show_hidden!, or use :set show_hidden true to make hidden files visible.

To make this permanent, add the setting to your configuration file:

set show_hidden true

Alternatively, hidden files can be toggled by pressing zh.

Image mounting

The following command assumes you are using CDemu as your image mounter and some kind of system like autofs which mounts the virtual drive to a specified location ('/media/virtualrom' in this case). Do not forget to change mountpath to reflect your system settings.

To mount an image (or images) to a cdemud virtual drive from ranger you select the image files and then type ':mount' on the console. The mounting may actually take some time depending on your setup (in mine it may take as long as one minute) so the command uses a custom loader that waits until the mount directory is mounted and then opens it on the background in tab 9.

import os, time
from ranger.core.loader import Loadable
from ranger.ext.signals import SignalDispatcher
from ranger.ext.shell_escape import *

class MountLoader(Loadable, SignalDispatcher):
    Wait until a directory is mounted
    def __init__(self, path):
        descr = "Waiting for dir '" + path + "' to be mounted"
        Loadable.__init__(self, self.generate(), descr)
        self.path = path

    def generate(self):
        available = False
        while not available:
                if os.path.ismount(self.path):
                    available = True

class mount(Command):
    def execute(self):
        selected_files = self.fm.thisdir.get_selection()

        if not selected_files:

        space = ' '
        self.fm.execute_command("cdemu -b system unload 0")
        self.fm.execute_command("cdemu -b system load 0 " + \
                space.join([shell_escape(f.path) for f in selected_files]))

        mountpath = "/media/virtualrom/"

        def mount_finished(path):
            currenttab = self.fm.current_tab
            self.fm.tab_open(9, mountpath)

        obj = MountLoader(mountpath)
        obj.signal_bind('after', mount_finished)

New tab in current folder

You may have noticed there are two shortcuts for opening a new tab in home (gn and Ctrl+n). Let us rebind Ctrl+n:

map <c-n>  eval fm.tab_new('%d')

PDF file preview

By default, ranger will preview PDF files as text. However, you can preview PDF files as an image in ranger by first converting the PDF file to an image. Ranger stores the image previews in ~/.cache/ranger/. You either need to create this directory manually or set preview_images to true in ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf to tell ranger to create it automatically at the next start. However, note that preview_images does not need to be set to true the whole time to preview PDF file as images, only ~/.cache/ranger directory is needed.

To enable this feature, uncomment the appropriate lines in /usr/share/doc/ranger/config/scope.sh, or add/uncomment these lines in your local file ~/.config/ranger/scope.sh.

Shell tips

Synchronize path

Ranger provides a shell function /usr/share/doc/ranger/examples/shell_automatic_cd.sh. Running ranger_cd instead of ranger will automatically cd to the last browsed folder.

If you launch ranger from a graphical launcher (such as $TERMCMD -e ranger, where TERMCMD is an X terminal), you cannot use ranger_cd. Instead, create an executable script:

export RANGERCD=true

And add the following at the end of your shell configuration:

$RANGERCD && unset RANGERCD && ranger_cd

This will launch ranger_cd only if the RANGERCD variable is set. It is important to unset this variable again, otherwise launching a subshell from this terminal will automatically relaunch ranger.

Preventing nested ranger instances

You can start a shell in the current directory with S, when you exit the shell you get back to your ranger instance.

When you however forget that you already are in a ranger shell and start ranger again you end up with ranger running a shell running ranger.

To prevent this you can create the following function in your shell's startup file:

ranger() {
    if [ -z "$RANGER_LEVEL" ]; then
        /usr/bin/ranger "$@"


Artifacts in image preview

Borderless columns may cause stripes in image previews. [1][dead link 2023-05-07 ⓘ] In ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf set:

set draw_borders true

See also