File Managers

14 Best Free Linux File Managers

A file manager is software which provides a user interface to assist in the organisation of files. It helps users with their daily work in managing their files on a hard drive or other storage device. With terabyte hard disks becoming prevalent, file managers represent an essential tool in managing file systems.

Every file manager provides basic operations such as to create, open, view, edit, search, rename, move copy, and delete files. However, file managers typically come supplied with sophisticated functionality including network connectivity, directory synchronizing, archive handling, advanced searching, shortcuts, file/folder comparisons, checksums, plugins, and more, making them an incredibly powerful tool.

There are 3 main types of file managers covered in this feature. Orthodox file managers or “Commander-like” file managers have three windows (two panels and one command line window). The second type is the navigational file manager representing the most common type of file manager available today. We also have included a few examples of the best available spatial file managers, which present files and folders as if they were real objects.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 14 high quality free Linux file managers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to have more control over managing their files.


Now, let’s explore the 14 file managers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

File Managers
KrusaderAdvanced orthodox file manager for KDE
DolphinDefault file manager for KDE 5
Midnight CommanderUser-friendly yet powerful orthodox file manager
nnnFast and flexible file manager
RangerConsole file manager with VI key bindings
PCManFMDefault file manager for LXDE
GNOME FilesSpatial file manager; default file manager for GNOME
Double CommanderFile manager with two panels side by side
GNOME CommanderOrthodox file manager for the GNOME desktop environment
4PaneFour-pane detailed-list GTK+ file manager
XfeVery similiar to Windows Explorer
KonquerorBasic file management (& web browser)
SunflowerSmall and highly customizable twin-panel file manager
Deepin FMStrives to offer a classical style file manager that offers innovation
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

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1 year ago

One of the best thought-out managers is inevitably missing here: the rox-filer.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jarek

rox-filer is dead

8 months ago

What about zzzfm?

8 months ago

zzzfm just seems an outdated/obsolete option.
It appeared in the AUR, and both zzzfm-bin and -git fail to find package libudev which shows a first commit, plus was last updated in July 2014!

8 months ago
Reply to  Ben

the one I am using is zzzfm from antix repo (maybe mxlinux too) not the AUR zzfm