Install Broot

Get an overview of a directory, even a big one

Hit br -s


Notice the unlisted?

That's what makes it usable where the old tree command would produce pages of output.

.gitignore files are properly dealt with to put unwanted files out of your way.

As you sometimes want to see gitignored files, or hidden ones, you'll soon get used to the alti and alth shortcuts to toggle those visibilities.

(you can ignore them though, see documentation).

Find a directory then cd

type a few letters


Hit altenter and you're back to the terminal in the desired location.

This way, you can navigate to a directory with the minimum amount of keystrokes, even if you don't exactly remember where it is.

Broot is fast and doesn't block (any keystroke interrupts the current search to start the next one).

Most useful keys for this:

Never lose track of file hierarchy while you search


Broot tries to select the most relevant file. You can still go from one match to another one using tab or arrow keys.

You may also search with a regular expression. To do this, add a / before the pattern.

And you have other types of searches, for example searching on file content (start with c/):

content search

You may also apply logical operators or combine patterns, for example searching test in all files except json ones could be !/json$/&c/test and searching carg both in file names and file contents would be carg|c/carg.

Once the file you want is selected you can

blog: a broot content search workflow

Manipulate your files

Most often, when not using broot, you move your files in the blind. You do a few ls before, then your manipulation, and maybe you check after.

You can instead do it without losing the view of the file hierarchy.


Move, copy, rm, mkdir, are built in and you can add your own shortcuts.

Here's chmod:


Manage files with panels

When a directory is selected, do ctrl and you open another panel (you may open other ones, or navigate between them, with ctrl and ctrl).

custom colors tree

(yes, colors are fully customizable)

You can for example copy or move elements between panels:


If you like you may do it Norton Commander style by binding :copy_to_panel to F5 and :move_to_panel to F6.

Preview files

Hit ctrl when a file is selected and the preview panel appears.



The preview panel stays synchronized with the selection in tree panels.

Broot displays images in high resolution when the terminal supports Kitty's graphics protocol (compatible terminals: Kitty, WezTerm):

kitty preview

Apply a command to a file


Just find the file you want to edit with a few keystrokes, type :e, then enter.

You can add verbs or configure the existing ones; see documentation.

And you can add shortcuts, for example a ctrl sequence or a function key

Apply commands on several files

Add files to the staging area then execute any command on all of them.

staging mv

Replace ls (and its clones):

If you want to display sizes, dates and permissions, do br -sdp which gets you this:

replace ls

You may also toggle options with a few keystrokes while inside broot. For example you could have typed this -sdp while in broot. Or hit alth and you see hidden files.

See what takes space:

You may sort by launching broot with --sort-by-size or --sort-by-date. Or you may, inside broot, type a space, then sd, and enter and you toggled the :sort_by_date mode.

When sorting, the whole content of directories is taken into account. So if you want to find on Monday morning the most recently modified files, launch br --sort-by-date ~.

If you start broot with the --whale-spotting option (or its shortcut -w), you get a mode tailored to "whale spotting" navigation, making it easy to determine what files or folders take space.

Sizes, dates, files counts, are computed in the background, you don't have to wait for them when you navigate.


And you keep all broot tools, like filtering or the ability to delete or open files and directories.

If you hit :fs, you can check the usage of all filesystems, so that you focus on cleaning the full ones.


Check git statuses:

Use :gf to display the statuses of files (what are the new ones, the modified ones, etc.), the current branch name and the change statistics.


And if you want to see only the files which would be displayed by the git status command, do :gs.


From there it's easy to edit, diff, or revert selected files.

blog: use broot and meld to diff before commit


See how to install, configure, or use.