Last Updated on May 28, 2022
nnn is an extremely fast and frugal file manager. It employs a variety of optimization techniques to improve performance. To maximize performance, nnn doesn’t adopt a kitchen-sink approach to features, although it’s feature-list is still impressive. And plugins offer a variety of additional functionality.
nnn fully warrants inclusion in our Essential System Tools compilation. Following the release of its latest version, it just pips Midnight Commander to our recommended console-based file manager. If you insist on a GUI interface, Krusader gets our recommendation.
The latest version offers a number of notable improvements including Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) support, and some useful keybindings such as F5 keybinding to toggle hidden files, and the reintroduction of e to edit a file in your editor.
Personally I disagree with nnn’s reliance on a terminal multiplexer for multi-pane support. nnn’s design focuses on encompassing multiple utilities wrapped together including file management, file launcher, and disk usage analysis. Given that multi-pane functionality is so useful (at least for me), it seems reasonable for nnn’s design to offer multi-pane support too.
Documentation could be better.
The project hosts a Wiki which provides a lot of useful information, but it’s not complete.
Maybe something you’d want to help with?
As it’s important to learn the keyboard shortcuts, it’s helpful that nnn has some in-program help.
Press ? and get the low-down on the keyboard shortcuts.
Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Disk usage analyzer
Page 4 – Plugins
Page 5 – Memory Usage & Comparison with other console-based file managers
Page 6 – Summary
All the essential tools in this series:
|Essential System Tools
|Innovative, hardware-accelerated terminal emulator
|System cleaning software. Quick and easy way to service your computer
|Graphical process/system monitor for the terminal
|Monitor usage and stats for CPU, memory, disks, network and processes
|Versatile file searching software
|Partition and disk cloning software
|System profiler with both a GUI and text-based
|Find duplicate files, big files, empty files, similar images, and much more
|Data recovery tool, retrieving data from failing drives as safely as possible
|More intuitive version of du written in Rust
|Detect and fix counterfeit flash storage
|Ban hosts that cause multiple authentication errors
|Find or delete duplicate files
|Restrict the running environment of untrusted applications
|Cross-platform system monitoring tool written in Python
|Resize, copy, and move partitions without data
|NVIDIA graphics card utility
|System monitoring dashboard
|Turn machines on through Wake On LAN
|Command-line benchmarking tool
|Command-line system information tool that's a time-saver for everyone
|Query and display messages from the journal
|Manage Linux kernel modules with this text-based tool
|Advanced, twin-panel (commander-style) file manager
|System information tool written in Bash
|Network security tool that builds a "map" of the network
|Systems administrator, tuner, and benchmark tool
|Portable terminal file manager that's amazingly frugal
|Simple command-line snippet manager
|Graphical representation for traceroute and ping output
|Accurate reporting of software's memory consumption
|Multi-featured system monitor written in Python
|Reliable system restore tool
|Qt-based directory statistics
|Graphical User Interface for systemd’s journalctl
|Must-have tool for anyone running Linux on a notebook
|Console and graphical file synchronization software
|Strong disk encryption software
|Create bootable USB drive for ISO, WIM, IMG, VHD(x), EFI files
|Personal information dashboard for your terminal