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MaliciouSSymbol and jarun fix invalid command (#113)
* fix invalid command

* adding '-S' argument
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Noice is Not Noice, a noicer fork...

Latest release AUR Homebrew Debian Buster+ Fedora 27+ openSUSE Leap 15.0+ Ubuntu Artful+

License Build Status

nnn screencast

nnn in action! (click to play video)

nnn is probably the fastest and most resource-sensitive (with all its capabilities) file manager you have ever used. It's extremely flexible too - integrates with your DE and favourite GUI utilities, works with the desktop opener, supports bookmarks, has smart navigation shortcuts, navigate-as-you-type mode, disk usage analyzer mode, comprehensive file details and much more. nnn was initially forked from noice but is significantly different today.

If you want to edit a file in vi with some soothing music in the background while referring to a spec in your GUI PDF viewer, nnn got it! Quickstart and see how nnn simplifies those long desktop sessions...

nnn supports as many scripts as you want to run! So you can integrate utilities like sxiv (to view images in a directory) or fzy (to fuzzy find files in a directory tree) easily.

Have fun with it! Missing a feature? Want to contribute? Head to the rolling ToDo list.

Love smart and efficient utilities? Explore my repositories. Buy me a cup of coffee if they help you.

Donate via PayPal!

Table of Contents


  • Modes - basic, detail, disk usage analyzer (du)
  • Navigation
    • Familiar, easy shortcuts (arrows, ~, -, &)
    • Navigate-as-you-type mode with dir auto-select for the maverick
    • Handy bookmarks, start at bookmark, pin and visit directory
    • chdir prompt with tab completion (interprets cd ..... too!)
    • Roll-over at edges, page through entries
    • Show directories in custom color (default: enabled in blue)
  • Sorting
    • Directories always listed on top
    • Sort by file name, modification time, size
    • Numeric order (1, 2, ... 10, 11, ...) for numeric names
  • Search
    • Superfast directory content filtering with search-as-you-type
    • Desktop search (gnome-search-tool, catfish) integration
  • Mimes
    • Open with desktop opener (default) or specify a custom app
    • Create, list and extract archives (needs atool)
    • Optionally open text files in EDITOR (fallback vi)
    • Customizable bash script nlay to handle actions
  • Information
    • Detailed stat-like file information
    • Media information (needs mediainfo or exiftool, if specified)
  • Convenience
    • Create, rename files and directories
    • Batch rename/move/delete current directory entries in vidir (from moreutils)
    • Spawn SHELL (fallback sh) in the current directory
    • Run custom scripts in the current directory
    • Copy absolute file paths with/without X (easy shell integration)
    • Change directory at exit (easy shell integration)
    • Open any file in EDITOR (fallback vi) or PAGER (fallback less)
    • Open current directory in a custom GUI file manager
    • Terminal screensaver/locker (default vlock, customizable) integration
  • Unicode support
  • Highly optimized code, minimal resource usage


nnn vs. ncdu memory usage in disk usage analyzer mode (401385 files on disk):

 5034 vaio      20   0   70360  58764   2244 S   0.0  0.7   0:00.80 ncdu /
 4949 vaio      20   0   17520   4224   2584 S   0.0  0.1   0:00.54 nnn -S /

nnn vs. midnight commander vs. ranger memory usage while viewing a directory with 13790 files, sorted by size:

16255 vaio      20   0  101392  59304   7928 S   0.0  0.7   0:00.68 /usr/bin/python -O /usr/bin/ranger
15971 vaio      20   0   65732  11784   6848 S   0.0  0.1   0:00.56 mc
16198 vaio      20   0   18520   4900   2536 S   0.3  0.1   0:00.14 nnn

Intrigued? Find out HOW.



nnn needs libreadline, libncursesw (on Linux or ncurses on OS X) and standard libc.

From a package manager

Release packages

Packages for Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu are available with the latest stable release.

From source

To cook yourself, download the latest stable release or clone this repository (risky). Then install the dependencies and compile (e.g. on Ubuntu 16.04):

$ sudo apt-get install libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev
$ make
$ sudo make install

PREFIX is supported, in case you want to install to a different location.

Shell completion

Search keyword and option completion scripts for Bash, Fish and Zsh can be found in respective subdirectories of scripts/auto-completion/. Please refer to your shell's manual for installation instructions.


Cmdline options

usage: nnn [-b key] [-c N] [-e] [-i] [-l]
           [-p nlay] [-S] [-v] [-h] [PATH]

The missing terminal file manager for X.

positional arguments:
  PATH   start dir [default: current dir]

optional arguments:
 -b key  specify bookmark key to open
 -c N    specify dir color, disables if N>7
 -e      use exiftool instead of mediainfo
 -i      start in navigate-as-you-type mode
 -l      start in light mode (fewer details)
 -p nlay path to custom nlay
 -S      start in disk usage analyzer mode
 -v      show program version and exit
 -h      show this help and exit

> indicates the currently selected entry in nnn.

Keyboard shortcuts

            Key | Function
              - + -
       ↑, k, ^P | Prev entry
       ↓, j, ^N | Next entry
       PgUp, ^U | Scroll half page up
       PgDn, ^D | Scroll half page down
 Home, g, ^, ^A | First entry
  End, G, $, ^E | Last entry
    →, ↵, l, ^M | Open file/enter dir
 ←, Bksp, h, ^H | Parent dir
             ^O | Open with...
     Insert, ^I | Toggle nav-as-you-type
              ~ | Go HOME
              & | Start-up dir
              - | Last visited dir
              / | Filter entries
             ^/ | Open desktop search app
              . | Toggle show . files
             ^B | Bookmark prompt
              b | Pin current dir
             ^V | Go to pinned dir
              c | Change dir prompt
              d | Toggle detail view
              D | File details
              m | Brief media info
              M | Full media info
              n | Create new
             ^R | Rename entry
              r | Open dir in vidir
              s | Toggle sort by size
          S, ^J | Toggle du mode
              t | Toggle sort by mtime
          !, ^] | Spawn SHELL in dir
              R | Run custom script
              e | Edit entry in EDITOR
              o | Open DE filemanager
              p | Open entry in PAGER
              f | Archive entry
              F | List archive
             ^F | Extract archive
      Space, ^K | Copy file path
             ^Y | Toggle multi-copy
             ^T | Toggle path quote
             ^L | Redraw, clear prompt
              L | Lock terminal
              ? | Help, settings
          Q, ^G | Quit and cd
          q, ^X | Quit

Help & settings, file details, media info and archive listing are shown in the PAGER. Please use the PAGER-specific keys in these screens.


Filters support regexes to instantly (search-as-you-type) list the matching entries in the current directory.

There are 3 ways to reset a filter:

  • pressing ^L (at the new/rename prompt ^L followed by Enter discards all changes and exits prompt)
  • a search with no matches
  • an extra backspace at the filter prompt (like vi)

Common use cases:

  • to list all matches starting with the filter expression, start the expression with a ^ (caret) symbol
  • type \.mkv to list all MKV files
  • use .* to match any character (sort of fuzzy search)

If nnn is invoked as root or the environment variable NNN_SHOW_HIDDEN is set the default filter will also match hidden files.

Navigate-as-you-type mode

In this mode directories are opened in filter mode, allowing continuous navigation. Works best with the arrow keys.

In case of only one match and it's a directory, nnn auto selects the directory and enters it in this mode.

File indicators

The following indicators are used in the detail view:

Indicator File Type
/ Directory
* Executable
| Fifo
= Socket
@ Symbolic Link
b Block Device
c Character Device

File handling

External dependency Operation
xdg-open (Linux), open(1) (OS X) desktop opener
mediainfo, exiftool multimedia file details
gnome-search-tool, catfish desktop search utility
atool create, list and extract archives
vidir from moreutils batch rename, move, delete dir entries
vlock (Linux) terminal locker
$EDITOR ($VISUAL, if defined) edit files (fallback vi)
$PAGER page through files (fallback less)
$SHELL spawn a shell, run script (fallback sh)
  • To edit all text files in EDITOR (preferably CLI, fallback vi):

    export NNN_USE_EDITOR=1
  • To enable the desktop file manager key, set NNN_DE_FILE_MANAGER. E.g.:

    export NNN_DE_FILE_MANAGER=thunar
    export NNN_DE_FILE_MANAGER=nautilus


$ nnn -h
$ man nnn

To lookup keyboard shortcuts at runtime, press ?.


Add the following to your shell's rc file for the best experience:

  1. Use a shorter and sweeter alias:

    alias n=nnn
  2. Optionally open all text files in EDITOR (fallback vi):

    export NNN_USE_EDITOR=1
  3. Set a desktop file manager to open directories with (if you ever need to). E.g.:

    export NNN_DE_FILE_MANAGER=thunar
  4. Run n.

  5. Press ? for help on keyboard shortcuts anytime.

How to

add bookmarks

Set environment variable NNN_BMS as a string of key:location pairs (max 10) separated by semicolons (;):

export NNN_BMS='doc:~/Documents;u:/home/user/Cam Uploads;D:~/Downloads/'

The bookmark prompt also understands the ~ (HOME), - (last visited directory) and & (start directory) shortcuts.

use cd .....

To jump to the nth level parent, use n + 1 dots (the first . denotes PWD). For example, to jump to the 6 parent of the current directory, use 7 dots. If the number of dots would take you beyond / (which isn't possible), you'll be placed at /.

cd on quit

Pick the appropriate file for your shell from scripts/quitcd and add the contents to your shell's rc file. You'll need to spawn a new shell for the change to take effect. You should start nnn as n (or modify the function name to something else).

As you might notice, nnn uses the environment variable NNN_TMPFILE to write the last visited directory path. You can change it.

copy file paths to clipboard

nnn can pipe the absolute path of the current file or multiple files to a copier script. For example, you can use xsel on Linux or pbcopy on OS X.

Sample Linux copier script:


# comment the next line to convert newlines to spaces

echo -n $1 | xsel --clipboard --input

export NNN_COPIER:

export NNN_COPIER="/path/to/copier.sh"

Use ^K to copy the absolute path (from /) of the file under the cursor to clipboard.

To copy multiple file paths, switch to the multi-copy mode using ^Y. In this mode you can

  • select multiple files one by one by pressing ^K on each entry; or,
  • navigate to another file in the same directory to select a range of files.

Pressing ^Y again copies the paths to clipboard and exits the multi-copy mode.

To wrap each file path within single quotes, export NNN_QUOTE_ON:

export NNN_QUOTE_ON=1

This is particularly useful if you are planning to copy the whole string to the shell to run a command. Quotes can be toggled at runtime using ^T.

copy file paths when X is missing

A very common scenario on headless remote servers connected via SSH. As the clipboard is missing, nnn copies the path names to the tmp file /tmp/nnncp$USER.

nnn needs to know X is unavailable:

export NNN_NO_X=1

Use ^Y and/or ^K to copy file paths as usual. To use the copied paths from the cmdline, use command substitution:

# bash/zsh
ls -ltr `cat /tmp/nnncpuser`
ls -ltr $(cat /tmp/nnncpuser)

# fish
ls -ltr (cat /tmp/nnncpuser)

An alias may be handy:

alias ncp='cat /tmp/nnncpuser'

so you can -

# bash/zsh
ls -ltr `ncp`
ls -ltr $(ncp)

# fish
ls -ltr (ncp)

Note that you may want to keep quotes disabled in this case.

run custom scripts

nnn can invoke custom scripts with the currently selected file name as argument 1.

Export the path to the custom executable script:

export NNN_SCRIPT=/usr/local/bin/nscript

Press R to run the script in the current directory.

It's possible to run multiple scripts with nnn as long as the scripts are in the same location and share the same prefix. To enable multiple scripts,


With the example of NNN_SCRIPT above, some more scripts could be:

and so on...

Type the correct suffix when prompted on pressing the keybind R. To use the base script (NNN_SCRIPT), just press Enter.

sample scripts
  • Open image files in current dir in sxiv:

    #!/usr/bin/env sh
    sxiv -q * >/dev/null 2>&1
  • Fuzzy find files in fzy and open with xdg-open:

    #!/usr/bin/env sh
    xdg-open $(find -type f | fzy) >/dev/null 2>&1

change dir color

The default color for directories is blue. Option -c accepts color codes from 0 to 7 to use a different color:

0-black, 1-red, 2-green, 3-yellow, 4-blue, 5-magenta, 6-cyan, 7-white

Any other value disables colored directories.

file copy, move, delete

nnn doesn't support file copy, move, delete natively. However, it simplifies the workflow:

  1. copy the absolute paths using ^Y and/or ^K
  2. spawn a shell in the current directory (!)
  3. while typing the desired command, copy the file paths (usually ^-Shift-V)

In addition, nnn integrates with vidir. vidir supports batch file move and delete.

boost chdir prompt

nnn uses libreadline for the chdir prompt input. So all the fantastic features of readline (e.g. case insensitive tab completion, history, reverse-i-search) are available to you based on your readline configuration.

work faster at rename prompt

The rename prompt supports some bash-like command-line shortcuts - ^A, ^E, ^U. ^L clears the name.

set idle timeout

The terminal screensaver is disabled by default. To set the wait time in seconds, use environment variable NNN_IDLE_TIMEOUT.

show hot plugged drives

Enable volume management in your DE file manager and set removable drives or media to be auto-mounted when inserted. Then visit the usual mount point location (/mnt or /media/user) in nnn.

tmux config

nnn might not handle keypresses correctly when used with tmux (see issue #104 for more details). Set TERM=xterm-256color to address it.

Why fork?

I chose to fork because:

  • one can argue my approach deviates from the goal of the original project - keep the utility suckless. In my opinion evolution is the taste of time.
  • I would like to have a bit of control on what features are added in the name of desktop integration. A feature-bloat is the last thing in my mind. Check out nnn design considerations for more details.



  1. Copyright © 2014-2016 Lazaros Koromilas
  2. Copyright © 2014-2016 Dimitris Papastamos
  3. Copyright © 2016-2018 Arun Prakash Jana