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How can I set the right window to see the content of the highlighted directory or file in the left window in vifm? (like in ranger)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted


Add command similar to the following one to your ~/.vifm/vifmrc file as the last of :fileview commands (because the order in which they appear matters):

fileview */ tree %c

Then turn on quick view with:


You can add this command to your vifmrc. Or add tui to 'vifminfo' (e.g. with set vifminfo+=tui in vifmrc) to make vifm save quick view state between sessions.


I also would suggest to add a mapping to switch quick view mode with a key in normal mode to your ~/.vifm/vifmrc file:

nnoremap w :view<cr>

By the way

Sample configuration file of vifm contains all this commands.

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I'm not yet allowed to comment, so I provide an answer to get my points.

In addition to xaizek's answer

fileview */ tree %c

I have added

fileview ../ tree %c -L 1

below that to be able to see what is in the parent directory while scanning the contents of a directory. This is just for cosmetic completeness. (parent directory is not picked up by */)

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I don't think you can without, possibly, writing your own command.

vifm is designed as a Midnight Commander like two-pane file explorer. It means that each pane can be considered as a "source" or "target" for your file manipulations. The right pane is pretty much totally disconnected from the left pane and can't be consired a "preview" of the content of some directory on the left pane.

ranger is designed after Mac OS X's Finder's column view where you don't have that notion of "source/target".

I guess it's one style or another. I've got both on all my machines and can't decide which one to throw away as each program has its strong points.

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As long as nobody answers they know how to do it I'll mark this answer as the most suited answer to this question. I also have both installed and I have the same considerations. – Bentley4 Jul 29 '12 at 20:41
@romainl you are mistaking about vifm. It has :fileview and :view commands to handle quick view of selected file in the second pane. Different preview programs can be selected with globals. vifm can also be used in one-pane mode with marks and :pushd/:popd support. It also has less-like preview mode. – xaizek Jul 30 '12 at 21:42
No, I'm not mistaken about vifm. :view only allows to "preview" files while the OP wants to see the content of a directory. I wrote in the 1st line of my answer that he would need to write is own command to achieve his goal and you showed him how to write such a command. One thing I totally failed at (and that I only see right now, as I'm writing this comment) was reading carefully the question: I focused on the "viewing directories" part and totally missed the "viewing files" part. I'll be happy to give you the tick. – romainl Jul 31 '12 at 5:22

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