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fman is a powerful Keyboard-based File Explorer alternative

We have seen a lot of File Explorer alternative, but “fman” stands out. This dual-pane explorer works extremely fast if you tend to use the keyboard over the mouse. What makes it faster are the in-built commands that allow performing file operations which would otherwise require interaction with a right-click.

fman is a powerful Keyboard-based File Explorer alternative

Just before you get worried about the keyboard shortcuts, let me tell you this. You only need to remember three keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+Pwhich enables you to open any path, i.e., switch to any directory on your computer.
  • F10to open in the File Explorer.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Pto open command pallet. It helps you perform file operations.

The command pallet offers all kind of file operations including file selection, rename, switching between panes, rename, and so on. Below is a quick look at those commands

So to understand how easy it is, let’s take an example. You need a copy a file from one folder to another.

1] Type Ctrl+Pand type in the folder name. As you type, the list populates and auto lists folders based on the input. If you can’t find a file or directory, start typing the name, and it will search it for you. Repeat the same for the second pane which should be your destination folder.

2] Select the folder, using keyboard arrow keys, you want to copy and press F5.

3] This will popup the path of the folder which is the second pane. Hit Enter, and it copies.

It is faster than the File Explorer, and compare to other dual file explorer alternatives, where you need to drag and drop, keyboard typing will always work faster

List of Shortcuts for fman

  • F4: Edit (with a text editor)
  • Shift+F4: Create and edit
  • F5: Copy
  • F6: Move
  • Shift + F6: Rename
  • F7: New directory
  • F8: Delete
  • F9: Open terminal in the current directory
  • F10: Open native file manager (Explorer/Finder)
  • F11: Copy path(s) to clipboard

The following are also frequently useful:

  • Ctrl + P: Go to the directory
  • Alt + F1/F2 : List drives / volumes
  • Ctrl + . : Toggle hidden files
  • Ctrl + Left: Open in left pane
  • Ctrl + Right: Open in right pane
  • Alt + Left/Right: Go back/forward
  • Ctrl + D: Deselect (clear the selection)
  • Alt  + F5: Pack files (eg. to a .zip)
  • Ctrl + F1/F2/F3: Change the sort column

Plugin Ecosystem

fman also supports plugins to extend its functionality. I am guessing its one of the very few file explorer alternative that offer this feature. So assuming you want to copy a list of folders or files to a directory that doesn’t exist, it can create it and move the data. Similarly, if you’re going to search for records using a regular expression, there is a plugin for that.

There are around fifty such plugins which can do jobs with few keyboard shortcuts which would usually take five to six steps using keyboard and mouse. The best part is installing the plugins.

  • Use Ctrl + Shift + P to open command pallete.
  • Scroll down, and select “Install plugins.”
  • It will list down all the plugins available for the fman with ratings.
  • Enter to install it.

Once installed the plugin will be available as a command, and with a shortcut. Like we used F5 to copy, you can use this plugin as an alternative.

Configurable Context Menu

The context menu, i.e., the right-click menu is limited, but you can extend them. You will need to be a bit technical to get this done. The only reason you would want to do is when you wish the explorer context menu to be available. Say for example you want to add a “New Folder” context menu; you can edit the Menu.json in the fman data directory.


fman is free to use, but if you want to use regularly, you will have to face a popup once every time you launch it. It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Download it from fman.io.

Do you use any file explorer alternative? let us know in the comments

A die-hard fan of Windows, PC Gaming, and Xbox. He is a seasoned content writer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is a specialist in writing about Windows, software reviews, troubleshooting Windows, and automation.



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