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Linux File Manager: Top 20 Reviewed for Linux Users

A file manager is the most used software in any digital platform. With the help of this software, you can access, manage, and decorate the files on your device. For the Linux system, this is also an important factor to have an effective and simple file manager. In this curated article, we are going to discuss a set of best Linux file manager tools which definitely help you to operate the system effectively.

Top 20 Best Linux File Manager

Linux is free and open-source, and here you find almost all your needs at free of cost. Similarly, in this article, some of the best file managers for Linux are waiting for you. We don’t know your previous experience of using file manager! But definitely, this will increase your experience. So let’s get started.

1. Dolphin

Dolphin is a free and open-source application. On the side, it is lightweight also. It is the default file manager of KDE. Dolphin has some smart and standard features which help to place the application to the top line. What are those features? Double panels, multi-tabs, and split view are the core features of this application. With the application, you can browse local files as well as remote files also. The software also has zoom drag bar and encryption features. The application is very useful for new users.


Important Features at a Glance

  • The application can preview both local and remote files.
  • You can open many tabs at once as it is multi-tabs supported.
  • It contained Undo/redo options for backward and forward step.
  • The split view allows to copy or move files easily and quickly.
  • Three types of view style supported, choose your preferred one.

Download Dolphin

2. Nautilus File Manager

Nautilus is a standard and very useful file manager for the GNOME desktop environment. A clean and simple interface is the major reason for this application being popular to all. Yes, this is true that the software comes with primary and most essential functions, but you can extend its features by adding plugins. This is the default Ubuntu file manager.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Easy to use.
  • It allows three view styles that are icon view, list view, and compact view.
  • Browser mode can record the history of visiting folder.
  • Can browse both local and remote files.
  • Fast file search capability can locate any file quickly.
  • Undo support for the back step.

Download Nautilus

3. Thunar

If you compare Thunar with the previous software, it is not so much popular. But, its functional quality is outstanding. This application comes as a part of Xfce as it is the default file manager of the Xfce desktop environment. But, it can be used on the other desktop environment, and it works well. This is a very lightweight application. That is why it is considered as the best Linux file manager for the old laptop or desktop. On the side, it is very easy to use. Though it does not have numerous features, you can add anything you need by adding plugins.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Comes with limited features but highly pluggable.
  • It has some exclusive features in hidden settings.
  • The application can rename various files at once.
  • Important information is displayed on icon caption.
  • List view and order appear in the column.

Download Thunar

4. Konqueror

This is the file manager which has tons of features. And this is a very flexible and powerful file manager. What types of feature do you need to have? It has almost all of them. In this application, multiple tabs can be opened at once. And, one tab will have three parts. Three parts show you the files that you want to see, but the first part helps you to navigate quickly. Benefit? If you use Konqueror as your default file manager, it delivers you the satisfactory performance we believe.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Highly customizable as you need.
  • Able to rename numerous files at once.
  • It has access to SFTP and FTP servers.
  • It allows seeing property and change attributes.
  • Deleting, moving, and copying can be made easily by drag and drop of files.

Download Konqueror

5. Midnight Commander

Midnight Commander is a text-mode and full-screen Ubuntu file manager. It is designed in such a way, both novice and the expert user can use it easily. In this file manager, you find two panels where the file system is displayed. The arrow key is used in file selection and functional keys for operations such as editing, copying, renaming, etc. Midnight commander offers to connect remote files, editing, issue commands, syntax highlighting, archives, and so on.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Allows common directory manipulations like as renaming, linking, moving, copying, and deleting.
  • Any file can be searched by file content or a file name which works just like a dictionary search result.
  • Archive files can be treated as .zip and .tar.
  • The user needed hotlist of commonly used directories can be created with the application.

Download Midnight

6. Krusader

Krusader is an excellent performing Linux file manager. This application was created just after Midnight commander, and it is one step ahead from the midnight commander. Midnight was text-based, but its interface is graphical. The software allows both mouse and keyboard command. It is created to show two panes display, and you find the directory name at the top of the pane. Arrow or tab keys are used to navigate and Enter key is used to enter the selected directory.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Extensive archives can be handled.
  • The advanced search option allows both file name or file type search.
  • File transfer can be done quickly with FTP.
  • Two panes view for the quick navigation.

Download Krusader

7. PCMan File Manager

PCMan is a faster but very lightweight file manager for Linux. Of being lightweight, it is widely used in the low-configured and old machine. Though it is a small application, it has wide ranges features. If you use a Linux web browser, you can open multi-tabs on it. And you can transfer files between tabs. Benefit? On the side, it has built-in volume management, and drag and drop files option, bookmark support, file search, easy using, and may more useful features you find in this file manager.


Important Features at a Glance

  • Quick start-up.
  • Can open multiple tabs at once and dragging of files between them.
  • Clean clear and easy user interface.
  • It contains multiple view options such as icon view, detailed view, compact view, and thumbnail view.
  • Bookmark support.

Download PCMan

8. Nemo File Manager

Nemo is a very popular Ubuntu file manger to those who have experience of using Linux Mint. It is the Cinnamon desktop environment default file manager. As like the previous one, it is also lightweight but has tons of important features. You also find forward, back, up, and refresh option in this software. And importantly bookmark features is also contained in the application. You can also use many more options except these. It also shows you the progress of operation while moving or copying files.


Important Features at a Glance

  • The application shows the actual progress of the operation.
  • It contains bookmark management.
  • Contains all navigation options such as the back, forward, up, and refresh.
  • It contains all the missing features of Nautilus.

Download Nemo

9. XFE

XFE is a simple, lightweight but very useful file manager. This is almost similar file manager as midnight commander or MS-Explorer. But, its functionality is very easy than twos. You can easily configure this file manager as your own style whether you want to see two directory panes or one! Here, navigation doesn’t need to use just as it is optional. It also has bookmark support and can be used 18 languages for the different types of user. That is why it is the ideal file manager for Linux/Unix desktop.


Important Features at a Glance

  • One or two panes view configuration support.
  • It supports drag and drop of files between desktop and XFE.
  • Bookmark supported file manager.
  • Support up to 18 languages.

Download XFE

10. emelFM2 File Manager

This is a very lightweight file manager application which runs in almost all the Linux distros. You may find so many standard features on the new and modern file manager, but emelFM2 has some of its own exceptional features. For a reason, it has some difference to the other file manager.


Important Features at a Glance

  • The default system shows two panes layout of directories.
  • Two pane layouts can be configured into one.
  • Mounted file system and archives can be handled with emelFM2.
  • Features can be used by creating keyboard shortcuts.

Download emelFM2

11. Nemo

Nemo is one of the best Ubuntu file managers to arrive in the last couple of years. It is a free, cross-platform file management suite equipped by default with Cinnamon. It is an excellent file manager that offers an extensive list of modern-day functionalities including GTK bookmarks, progress information, versatile navigation, and many more. The software comes under the GPL license and is, therefore, free to use and modify.

Linux file manager Nemo

Features of Nemo

  • Nemo is built on top of GTK and utilizes GNOME’s virtual filesystem GVfs alongside the GIO library.
  • It allows users the ability to open files in the terminal and open as root.
  • The configuration options are vast and offer users the ability to toggle between the path entry and breadcrumb widgets.
  • Nemo is exceptionally customizable and can be extended easily using many third-party plugins.

Download Nemo

12. Gentoo

Gentoo is a simple yet powerful file manager that runs flawlessly in almost every Linux and BSD systems. It is written in C and thus provides a rock-solid performance. Moreover, Gentoo looks seriously cool and appealing thanks to its sleek GTK+ build. It allows quite a list of modern-day features such as two-panes, file typing, and an innovative styling system. If you have ever used Total Commander, you’ll find Gentoo similar in many ways – and useful too.


Features of Gentoo

  • It is among the fastest Linux file manager you can use in one of your old PCs or laptops.
  • The software comes pre-packed with an innovative set of over a hundred specially crafted icons.
  • Its opensource GNU GPL licensing allows users to modify Gentoo as per their requirement.
  • gentoo isn’t to be confused with the Gentoo Linux distro, in fact, the former coined the name first.

Download Gentoo

13. ranger

ranger is a powerful yet flexible console file manager for Linux which offers a heavy bunch of rewarding functionalities like, for say, VI keybindings. It is one of the best console file managers for legacy systems that run on older hardware due to its very low resource usage. Additionally, the development team of ranger offers the source code for the file manager publicly and allows further modification through its GPL license.


Features of ranger

  • ranger is written in Python and requires Python versions 2.6 or 3.1/onwards alongside the curses module to run the program.
  • It comes with default support for multi-column display and allows users to preview files or directories directly from the terminal.
  • ranger enables users to rename multiple documents at once alongside other everyday file operations like create/chmod.
  • It can detect file types automatically and chooses the appropriate programs required to run them from the command line.

Download ranger

14. Caja

Caja is the by default file manager shipped with the MATE desktop environment. It is a modern yet vibrant file manager with many useful functionalities that make navigating the system easier than ever. Users can explore directories, start programs, and preview files alongside handling both local and remote filesystems with Caja. If you’re a MATE lover and looking for the most optimum file manager for your system, Caja surely makes the cut.


Features of Caja

  • Caja follows in the footstep of GNOME Nautilus and sports a visually appealing yet user-friendly GUI interface.
  • The split and tree views are very productive, while its relatively easy to add emblems or folder backgrounds.
  • Caja allows users to run scripts or launch applications directly from the Linux file manager.
  • It comes with versatile customization capabilities, which make it fun to arrange your systems files and folders.

Download Caja

15. Vifm

Vifm is without any doubt among the best console file manager for Linux. It is a robust and lightweight file manager with a Vi[m]-like environment for managing the filesystem. It utilizes the curses interface in order to achieve this and is extremely efficient. It can be the perfect productivity booster for people who use Vi[m] heavily. Overall, Vifm provides complete keyboard control over the filesystem without requiring to learn any new commands or whatsoever.

Vifm console file manager for Linux

Features of Vifm

  • It has vim-like user mappings, command-line mode, marks, and registers and supports features like multi-block selection, remote command execution.
  • Vifm provides users the ability to script directory-specific configurations and allows smooth integration with GNU Screen and tmux.
  • It offers a wide range of customization capabilities including color schemes, decorations based on file types/names.
  • Vifm allows shell-like external console editing and offers both one and two-pane view.

Download Vifm

16. SpaceFM

SpaceFM is another robust multi-panel, a tabbed file manager for Linux and is desktop-independent. The software sits on top of the GTK+ toolkit and is available freely for modification. SpaceFM runs using a resource-efficient C codebase that ensures optimum performance even in legacy hardware. If you’re looking for a stable, capable, and robust file manager with a wide range of customization capabilities, SpaceFM is an excellent choice for you.

SpaceFM Linux file manager

Features of SpaceFM

  • SpaceFM comes with several built-in device managers based on VFS, udev- or HAL and utilizes GTK+ for the appearance.
  • It allows users to integrate bash with the file manager for greater control and flexibility over the system.
  • The software is highly customizable and allows total customization over components like the menu system.
  • SpaceFM comes with a pre-built virtual file system ready-made file search feature.

Download SpaceFM

17. Double Commander

Double Commander is a conservative console file manager for Linux inspired by the popular, Windows-only Total Commander. The software is written in Object Pascal, and the source is available publicly under the GNU GPL license. Some of Double Commander’s features include two side by side panels, built-in text editor, file viewer, and text search. It is one of the most resource-efficient file managers for old Linux machines and runs smoothly no matter the hardware.

Double Commander

Features of Double Commander

  • The internal text editor supports syntax highlighting, and the file viewer allows to view files either in hex, binary, or text format.
  • It comes with an in-built, powerful, multi-rename tool that makes it easy managing large directories with files having similar filenames.
  • Double Commander enables users to copy files to/from archives as if they were subdirectories.
  • The button bar is entirely customizable and allows the calling of external programs or internal menu commands.

Download Double Commander

18. fman

fman is a modern, platform-independent file manager with features like dual-pane, quick jump, and plugins support. It is a proprietary file manager for Linux and currently under active development. The software takes a minimalistic turn in terms of the design and provides an easy to use flexible yet robust file management solution. If you’re looking for a powerful, modern, and polished Linux file manager and are ready to pay for it, fman is the way to go.

fman Linux

Features of fman

  • fman is highly customizable and can be extended very conveniently by using custom plugins.
  • It relies heavily on keyboard shortcuts, which can prove to be a viable productivity booster for many.
  • fman allows users to mount external drives such as HDD/SSD very efficiently and without any hassle.
  • The software can move between directories extremely fast and provides many robust search mechanisms.

Download fman

19. Polo File Manager

Polo File Manager is an advanced file manager with support for multi-pane, multi-tab, archives, cloud storage, and many more. The software is written using the Vala programming language and provides a nicely laid out GUI interface. It can boot ISO files in KVM and can run KVM images very efficiently. Moreover, Polo File Manager lets sysadmins create USB boot devices on the go using robust plugins.

Polo File Manager

Features of Polo File Manager

  • The software features a flexible layout grid that can be configured for several views, including Classic icons, Commander Icons, and Extreme.
  • Users can connect to the file manager remotely via FTP, SFTP, SSH, and Samba / Window shares.
  • Polo File Manager is extremely customizable and supports several GTK themes like Adapta-Eta-Maia, Adapta-Maia, Adwaita, Emacs, and HighContrast.
  • The plugin support includes an ISO device burner, Image plugin, PDF plugin, and a Video download plugin.

Download Polo File Manager

20. PeaZip

PeaZip is a free and lightweight file manager and archiver that offers a unified file management solution for Linux and BSD systems. It comes with native support for the PAE archive format and supports a whopping 188 file extensions. The file management capabilities of PeaZip include but not limited to multiple views, advanced search, and bookmarking. If you’re looking for a simple yet portable file manager that does the job just fine, PeaZip might be of interest to you.


Features of PeaZip

  • The software allows strong encryption support in the form of two-factor authentication and provides a built-in password manager.
  • It can create, extract, convert multiple archives at the same time and can split or merge files very quickly.
  • The opensource GNU GPL license of the software allows full modification of the original project.
  • PeaZip can come in handy when calculating checksums or hashes and can check them correctly.

Download PeaZip

Bottom Line

Here we suggest 20 best file managers of Linux for you. All the applications may not be the same regarding functional qualities, but all of them have some standard features which make a difference and stand apart from the others. You can have a close look into the features before going for the final selection or else install a number of file manager and check by yourself which fits most out of the box. If you like this article, please do share this on your social media. Don’t forget to share your suggestion and experiences in the comment below.


  1. Looking for a recommendation. I want a Linux, graphical (X, gui, etc.) file manager that has two panes, and a tree view for each pane. [tree][files][tree][files]

    And tabs for each file pane, obviously. I have not been able to find one. Not even one. Any suggestions?

  2. This underscores a major problem with Linux. Schizophrenia. No wonder no big software company like Adobe or Autodesk writes software for Linux. It’s so damn inconsistent. The Linux community can’t even write one good file manager that is consistent throughout the distros. Supporting Linux would be a costly nightmare for them. Could you image a phone call to support and the support person would have to ask a few dozen questions just narrow down what distro and the number of hacks you applied before they could start helping you figure out what the problem is.
    I’ve been using computers for over 35 years. I’ve been in IT most of it. Helping people solve computer problems. 99.9 of them are clueless. If you expect those people to drop the Mac or Windows and come over to Linux, you better be damn sure Linux has the features they are used to in those two systems. If not, they will drop Linux like a used condom and will disenfranchise them forever to Linux. Of course the file manger is very important. It’s one of the very first things they will encounter.
    I use Linux server and have for several decades, but I use the CLI exclusively. I’ve been trying to use the Linux GUI for as long and I keep running into limitations. I kept telling myself, they will catch up to Windows and the Mac. So I try again, and again, and again only to be disappointed. I really, really want to make Linux my main OS. However, I keep running into limitations. I used the Mac for many years and during that time all the Windows guys would dog the Mac for being too dumbed down. Every Linux GUI I’ve tried makes the Mac look complex. Linux GUI’s are so dumb down they are on the verge of being useless out of the box. Unless of course you hack the hell out of them. I can tell you as a 35+ year computer geek, I don’t want to spend hours on end tweeking it. I guarantee the 99.9 percent of people out there won’t want to either. Come on Linux community, get your S$*t together.

    • You don’t know how much this comment resonates…

      Oh to be young again. I remember the days when running Gentoo servers was “fun”. But then again I remember customising my own PC’s. Really can’t be bothered anymore. I’d still swear by a simple Linux setup for servers, but otherwise… off the shelf Mac or PC it is (with warranty) for actual “work”.

      Not worth growing grey hairs over Linux GUI…

    • Maybe a reply two years late is of no value to the original OP or the rest of world but here goes:

      I personally fail to see what you’re griping about. Linux should be no more like Windows than Windows is to any other OS. I see absolutely nothing wrong with many of the file managers for Linux, nor do I see what “limitations” of Linux you’re talking about.

      For me, having been a computer tech for almost 40 years (and in electronics a decade before that), Linux is the only OS that reduces my blood pressure because the damn thing just gets things done! Windows is nothing but a friggin’ abomination from start to finish. (Yeah, of course its the wheelhouse of any serious gamer I suppose, but I digress).

      As to having to support Linux for “dumb users”, there is nothing less tedious than that. I know many users that can barely run a PC and have little issues running their Linux OS. In fact, it’s often so reliable and trouble-free, I never hear from them unless they need something done they haven’t attempted before. Once they see what is needed to do a certain task, I don’t hear from them of months and years on end.

      In any case, it gets a bit tedious to read Linux put downs where there is so little basis for complaint. You don’t have to pay a nickel to own and run Linux. If you want to use Windows, you pay for it even if it came “free” with your new laptop. You pay for it in frustration, lost time waiting for updates to be done, and the way the OS interferes with workflow. And now they are forcing users to “upgrade” to Windows 11 from 10. All of the heavy-handed bullshit I detested in all Windows versions and the spying on its users never seems to end with Micro$oft.

  3. So what can I get to match macOS Finder?

    Unfolding directories
    Tabbed windows
    Icon (huge!)/List/Column/Quickview/Type
    Full file Previewing
    Mounting/browsing ISO/dmgs
    Tab Bar/Sidebar/Status Bar/Tool Bar/Full Screen options/multiple Preview methods
    Full drag and drop Paths
    Global Menus
    Full Properties Info and access
    Remote File browsing
    Live Folder calculation
    Window color/image backgrounds
    Universal Drag and Drop
    Archive support
    Disk burning
    Smart Folders
    AppleScript support
    iCloud access
    …and much more..

  4. Nautilus is BY FAR one of the worst on this list. I cannot understate how terrible Nautilus is. Use Thunar or Dolphin, Thunar is my fav due to simplicity and speed. Nautilus should easily be towards the bottom of this list.

  5. I would have thought Nemo to be at number 2, not Nautilus. Caja is better than Nautilus and was not even mentioned. In fact, any file manager is better than Nautilus. Gnome developers have been intent on removing every useful feature Nautilus once had. I would say their renaming of Nautilus to Files was actually appropriate because opening and closing files are about the limit of its capabilities anymore.


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