rfd (Ruby on Files & Directories)

rfd is a terminal-based filesystem explorer, inspired by the legendary freesoft MS-DOS filer, "FD".


% gem install rfd


  • Ruby 2.0, Ruby 2.1
  • NCurses

Tested environments

Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Mac OS X Lion, Ubuntu 13.04



Start Me Up

Open up your terminal and type:

% rfd

You can also pass in a starting directory name, which defaults to ..

% rfd ~/src/rails


You can send commands to rfd by pressing some chars on your keyboard, just like Vim. If you're unfamiliar with this sort of command system, I recommend you to play with vimtutor before you go any further.

All available commands in rfd are defined as Ruby methods here. https://github.com/amatsuda/rfd/tree/master/lib/rfd/commands.rb

Changing the current directory

  • <Enter>: cd into the directory where the cursor is on.
  • <Delete> (or <Backspace> on your keyboard, probably?): Go up to the upper directory (cd ..).
  • -: Get back to where you once belonged (popd).
  • @: cd to a directory given via the command-line window.

Moving the cursor

  • j: Move down.
  • k: Move up.
  • h: Move left. At the leftmost column, move to the right end column at the previous page.
  • l: Move right. At the rightmost column, move to the left end column at the next page.

The count parameter

Some commands such as j or k take a number parameter called count. For passing a count parameter, just type in a number prior to the command. For example, 3j moves the cursor to 3 lines below, and 999k will take your cursor to 999 lines above.

Jumping the cursor

  • H: Move to the top of the current page.
  • M: Move to the middle of the current page.
  • L: Move to the bottom of the current page.

Switching the page

  • ctrl-n, ctrl-f: Move to the top of the next page.
  • ctrl-p, ctrl-b: Move to the top of the previous page.
  • g: Move to the top of the first page.
  • G: Move to the bottom of the last page.

Finding a file / directory

You can find a file by typing the first letter of it immediately after the find commands.

  • f{char}: Move to the next file / directory of which name starts with the given char.
  • F{char}: Move to the previous file / directory of which name starts with the given char.
  • n: Repeat the last f or F.

Searching, sorting

For commands like these that require a parameter string, type the parameter in the command line at the bottom of the screen, and press <Enter>.

  • /: Grep the current directory with the given parameter. The parameter will be interpreted as Ruby Regexp (e.g. .*\.rb$).
  • s: Sort files / directories in the current directory in the given order.
    • (none): by name
    • r : reverse order by name
    • s, S : order by file size
    • sr, Sr: reverse order by file size
    • t : order by mtime
    • tr : reverse order by mtime
    • c : order by ctime
    • cr : reverse order by ctime
    • u : order by atime
    • ur : reverse order by atime
    • e : order by extname
    • er : reverse order by extname

Marking files / directories

You can send a command to the file / directory on which the cursor is on. Or, you can send a command to multiple files / directories at once by marking them first. The mark is drawn as a * char on the left of each file / directory name.

  • <Space>: Mark / unmark current file / directory.
  • ctrl-a: Mark / unmark all file / directories in the current directory.

Manipulating files / directories

As stated above, you can send a command to one or more files / directories. In this document, the term "selected items" means "(the marked files / directories) || (the file / directory on which the cursor is on)".

  • c: Copy selected items (cp).
  • m: Move selected items (mv).
  • d: Move selected items into the Trash.
  • D: Delete selected items.
  • r: Rename selected items. This command takes a sed-like argument separated by a /. For example, changing all .html files' extension to .html.erb could be done by \.html$/.html.erb.

Yank and Paste

y & p works just like Windows-c & Windows-v on explorer.exe.

  • y: Yank selected items.
  • p: Paste yanked items into the directory on which the cursor is, or into the current directory.

Creating files / directories

  • t: Create a new file (touch).
  • K: Creat a new directory (mkdir).
  • S: Create new symlink to the current file / directory (ln -s).


  • a: Change permission of selected items (chmod). Takes chmod-like argument such as g+w, 755.
  • w: Change the owner of of selected items (chown). Takes chown-like argument such as alice, nobody:nobody.

Viewing, Editing, Opening

  • <Enter>: View current file with the system $VIEWER such as less.
  • v: View current file with the system $VIEWER such as less.
  • e: Edit current file with the system $EDITOR such as vim.
  • o: Send the open command.

Manipulating archives

  • u: Unarchive .zip, .gz, or .tar.gz file into the current directory.
  • z: Archive selected items into a .zip file with the given name.

Handling .zip files

You can cd into a .zip file as if it's just a directory, then unarchive selected items, view files in it, and even create new files or edit files in the archive.

Splitting columns

  • ctrl-w: Change the window split size to the count value (e.g. 4<C-w> to split the window into 4 columns). The default number of columns is 2.

Using mouse

Mouse is available if your terminal supports it. You can move the cursor by clicking on a file / directory. Double clicking on a file / directory is equivalent to pressing <Enter> on it.


  • ctrl-l: Refresh the whole screen.
  • C: Copy selected items' paths to the clipboard.
  • O: Open a new terminal window at the current directory.
  • !: Execute a shell command.
  • q: Quit the app.

How to manually execute a command, or how the commands are executed

By pressing :, you can enter the command-line mode. Any string given in the command line after : will be executed as Ruby method call in the Controller instance. For instance, :j brings your cursor down, :mkdir foo makes a directory named "foo". And :q! of course works as you might expect, since q! method is implemented so.


Send me your pull requests here. https://github.com/amatsuda/rfd