The most important part of broot configuration is the verbs sections, which let you define new commands or shortcuts.

Verb Definition Attributes

You can define a new verb in the configuration file inside the verbs list.

    invocation: edit
    key: F2
    shortcut: e
    apply_to: file
    external: "nvim {file}"
    leave_broot: false
invocation = "edit"
key = "F2"
shortcut = "e"
apply_to = "file"
external = "nvim {file}"
leave_broot = false

The possible attributes are:

name default role
invocation how the verb is called by the user, with placeholders for arguments
internal execution, when your verb is based on a predefined broot verb
external execution, when your verb is based on an external command
cmd a semicolon sequence to execute, similar to an argument you pass to --cmd
extensions optional array of allowed file extensions
key a keyboard key triggering execution
keys several keyboard shortcuts triggering execution (if you want to have the choice)
shortcut an alternate way to call the verb (without the arguments part)
leave_broot true whether to quit broot on execution
from_shell false whether the verb must be executed from the parent shell (needs br). As this is executed after broot closed, this isn't compatible with leave_broot = false
apply_to the type of selection this verb applies to: "file", "text_file", "binary_file", "directory" or "any". You may declare two verbs with the same key if the first one applies, eg, to only text files or only to directories
working_dir the working directory of the external application, for example "{directory}" for the closest directory (the working dir isn't set if the directory doesn't exist)
set_working_dir false whether the working dir of the process must be set to the currently selected directory (it's equivalent to workding_dir: "{directory}")
auto_exec true whether to execute the verb as soon as it's key-triggered (instead of waiting for enter)
panels all optional list of panel types in which the verb can be called. Default is all panels: [tree, fs, preview, help, stage]
switch_terminal true whether to switch from alternate to normal terminal during execution

The execution is defined either by internal, external or cmd so a verb must have exactly one of those (for compatibility with older versions broot still accepts execution for internal or external and guesses which one it is).


The from_shell attribute exists because some actions can't possibly be useful from a subshell. For example cd is a shell builtin which must be executed in the parent shell.

Call shell scripts

With an external, you call an executable. If you want to run a script, you must call an executable able to run it.

For example, if you have this shell script:

echo "Hello, I got argument $1"
sleep 5

You can call it with this verb definition:

    invocation: hello
    external: ["sh" "-e" "/path/to/" "{file}"]
    leave_broot: false
invocation = "hello"
external = ["sh", "-e", "/path/to/", "{file}"]
leave_broot = false

Using quotes

If you want broot, for example, to execute xterm -e "nvim {file}", you may either escape the quotes as \" or use the array format to separate parts.

So the two following verb definitions are equivalent.

With escaping:

    invocation: xtv
    external: "xterm -e \"nvim {file}\""
invocation = "xtv"
external = "xterm -e \"nvim {file}\""

With an array:

    invocation: xtv
    external: ["xterm" "-e" "nvim {file}"]
invocation = "xtv"
external = ["xterm", "-e", "nvim {file}"]

File extensions

You may filter the execution of a verb with file extensions.

For example, if you'd want enter to work as predefined in most cases but just choose a specific action for some files, you might add this verb definition:

    name: open-code
    key: enter
    extensions: [
    execution: "$EDITOR +{line} {file}"
    working_dir: "{root}"
    leave_broot: false
name = "open-code"
key = "enter"
extensions = ["rs", "js", "toml"]
execution = "$EDITOR +{line} {file}"
working_dir = "{root}"
leave_broot = false

Verbs are tried in order (the default ones after the user defined ones). You may thus define first verbs with extension filter and then a catching-all one.

Shortcuts and Verb search

broot looks for the first token following a space or : and tries to find the verb you want.

Knowing this algorithm, you may understand the point in the following definition:

invocation = "p"
internal = ":parent"

This verb is an alias to the internal builtin already available if you type :parent.

Its interest is that if you do :p, then enter, it is executed even while there are other verbs whose invocation pattern starts with a p.

Use shortcuts for verbs you frequently use.

Keyboard key

The main keys you can use are

It's possible to define a verb just to add a trigger key to an internal verb.

For example you could add those mappings:

verbs: [
        invocation: "root"
        key: "F9"
        internal: ":focus /"
        invocation: "home"
        key: "ctrl-H"
        internal: ":focus ~"
        key: "alt-j"
        internal: ":line_down"
        invocation: "top"
        key: "F6"
        internal: ":select_first"
        invocation: "bottom"
        key: F7
        internal: ":select_last"
        invocation: "open"
        key: ctrl-O
        internal: ":open_stay"
        invocation: "edit"
        keys: [ // several possible shortcuts here
        shortcut: "e"
        external: "$EDITOR +{line} {file}"
        from_shell: true
invocation = "root"
key = "F9"
internal = ":focus /"

invocation = "home"
key = "ctrl-H"
internal = ":focus ~"

key = "alt-j"
internal = ":line_down"

invocation = "top"
key = "F6"
internal = ":select_first"

invocation = "bottom"
key = "F7"
internal = ":select_last"

invocation = "open"
key = "ctrl-O"
internal = ":open_stay"

invocation = "edit"
key = [ "F2", "ctrl-e" ]
shortcut = "e"
external = "$EDITOR +{line} {file}"
from_shell = true


Beware that consoles intercept some possible keys. Many keyboard shortcuts aren't available, depending on your configuration. Some keys are also reserved in broot for some uses, for example the enter key always validate an input command if there's some. The Tab, delete, backspace, esc keys are reserved too.

If your chosen key doesn't seem to work, see Key Combination Problem.

Verbs not leaving broot

If you set leave_broot = false, broot won't quit when executing your command, but it will update the tree.

This is useful for commands modifying the tree (like creating or moving files).

Verb Arguments

The execution of a verb can take one or several arguments.

For example it may be defined as vi {file}̀.

Some arguments are predefined in broot and depends on the current selection:

name expanded to
{file} complete path of the current selection
{file-name} file name of the current selection
{file-extension} file extension of the current selection (example rs for
{file-stem} file name of the current selection
{file-dot-extension} dot and extension of the current selection (example .rs for or the empty string if there's no extension
{line} number of selected line in the previewed file
{parent} complete path of the current selection's parent
{directory} closest directory, either {file} or {parent}
{other-panel-file} complete path of the current selection in the other panel
{other-panel-parent} complete path of the current selection's parent in the other panel
{other-panel-directory} closest directory, either {file} or {parent} in the other panel
{root} current tree root (top of the displayed files tree)
{git-root} The working directory of the Git repository containing the current selection
{git-name} Name of the working directory of the current Git repository
{file-git-relative} path of the current selection relative to the working directory of the containing Git repository. If the selection is not in a Git repository then the absolute path.


when you're in the help screen, {file} is the configuration file, while {directory} is the configuration directory.

But you may also define some arguments in the invocation pattern. For example:

    invocation: "mkdir {subpath}"
    external: "mkdir -p {directory}/{subpath}"
invocation = "mkdir {subpath}"
external = "mkdir -p {directory}/{subpath}"

(the mkdir verb is standard so you don't have to write it in the configuration file)

In this case the subpath is read from what you type:

md sub

As you see, there's a space in this path, but it works. broot tries to determine when to wrap path in quotes and when to escape so that such a command correctly works.

It also normalizes the paths it finds which eases the use of relative paths:


Here's another example, where the invocation pattern defines two arguments by destructuring:

    invocation: "blop {name}\\.{type}"
    external: "mkdir {parent}/{type} && nvim {parent}/{type}/{name}.{type}"
    from_shell: true
invocation = "blop {name}\\.{type}"
external = "mkdir {parent}/{type} && nvim {parent}/{type}/{name}.{type}"
from_shell = true

And here's how it would look like:


Notice the \\. in the invocation pattern ? That's because it is interpreted as a regular expression (with just a shortcut for the easy case, enabling {name}).

The whole regular expression syntax may be useful for more complex rules. Let's say we don't want the type to contain dots, then we do this:

    invocation: "blop {name}\\.(?P<type>[^.]+)"
    external: "mkdir {parent}/{type} && nvim {parent}/{type}/{name}.{type}"
    from_shell: true
invocation = "blop {name}\\.(?P<type>[^.]+)"
external = "mkdir {parent}/{type} && nvim {parent}/{type}/{name}.{type}"
from_shell = true

You can override the default behavior of broot by giving your verb the same shortcut or invocation than a default one.


Here's a list of internals: builtin actions you can add an alternate shortcut or keyboard key for, without refering to an external program or command:

invocation default key default shortcut behavior / details
:back left - back to previous app state
:clear_stage - cls empty the staging area
:close_panel_cancel - - close the panel, not using the selected path
:close_panel_ok - - close the panel, validating the selected path
:close_preview - - close the preview panel
:close_staging_area - csa close the staging area panel
:copy_line altc - copy selected line (in tree or preview)
:copy_path - - copy path to system clipboard
:escape esc - escape from completions, current input, page, etc. (this internal can be bound to another key but should not be used in command sequences)
:filesystems - fs list mounted filesystems
:focus ctrlf - set the selected directory the root of the displayed tree (don't remove the filtering pattern)
:help F1 - open the help page (which can also be open with ?)
:line_down - scroll one line down or select the next line (can be used with an argument eg :line_down 4)
:line_down_no_cycle - - same as line_down, but doesn't cycle
:line_up - scroll one line up or select the previous line
:line_up_no_cycle - - same as line_up, but doesn't cycle
:next_dir - - select the next directory
:next_match tab - select the next matching file, or matching verb or path in auto-completion
:next_same_depth - - select the next file at the same depth
:no_sort - ns remove all sorts
:open_leave altenter - open the selected file in the default OS opener and leave broot
:open_preview - - open the preview panel
:open_staging_area - osa open the staging area
:open_stay enter - open the selected file in the default OS opener, or focus the directory
:open_stay_filter - - focus the directory but keeping the current filtering pattern
:page_down - scroll one page down
:page_up - scroll one page up
:panel_left - - move to or open a panel to the left
:panel_left_no_open ctrl - move to panel to the left
:panel_right ctrl - move to or open a panel to the right
:panel_right_no_open - - move to panel to the right
:parent - - focus the parent directory
:preview_binary - - preview the selection as binary
:preview_image - - preview the selection as image
:preview_text - - preview the selection as text
:previous_dir - - select the previous directory
:previous_match - - select the previous match
:previous_same_depth - - select the previous file at the same depth
:print_path - pp print path and leave broot
:print_relative_path - prp print relative path and leave broot
:print_tree - pt print tree and leave broot
:quit ctrlq q quit broot
:refresh F5 - refresh the displayed tree and clears the directory sizes cache
:root_down - - move tree root down
:root_up - - "move tree root up"
:select - - select a path given as argument, if it's in the visible tree
:select_first - - select the first line
:select_last - - select the last line
:set_syntax_theme - - set the syntect theme of code preview, eg :set SolarizedDark
:sort_by_count - sc sort by count (only one level of the tree is displayed)
:sort_by_date - sd sort by date
:sort_by_size - ss sort by size
:sort_by_type - st sort by type
:sort_by_type_dirs_first - - sort by type, dirs first
:sort_by_type_dirs_last - - sort by type, dirs last
:stage + - add selection to staging area
:stage_all_directories - - add all directories verifying the pattern to the staging area
:stage_all_files ctrla - add all files verifying the pattern to the staging area
:start_end_panel - - either open or close an additional panel
:toggle_counts - - toggle display of total counts of files per directory
:toggle_dates - - toggle display of last modified dates (looking for the most recently changed file, even deep)
:toggle_device_id - - toggle display of device id (unix only)
:toggle_files - - toggle showing files (or just folders)
:toggle_git_file_info - - toggle display of git file information
:toggle_git_ignore - - toggle git ignore handling (auto, no or yes)
:toggle_git_status - - toggle showing only the file which would show up on git status
:toggle_hidden - - toggle display of hidden files (the ones whose name starts with a dot on linux)
:toggle_perm - - toggle display of permissions (not available on Windows)
:toggle_preview - - toggle display of the preview panel
:toggle_root_fs - - toggle showing filesystem info on top
:toggle_second_tree - - toggle displaying a second tree
:toggle_sizes - - toggle the size mode
:toggle_stage ctrlg - add or remove selection to staging area
:toggle_staging_area - tsa open/close the staging area panel
:toggle_tree - - toggle showing only one level of the tree (when not affected by sorting)
:toggle_trim_root - - toggle trimming of top level files in tree display
:total_search - ctrls search again but on all children instead of stopping when the results look good enough
:trash - - move file to system trash
:unstage - - remove selection from staging area
:up_tree - - focus the parent of the current root
:write_output - - write to the --verb-output file
:clear_output - - clear the --verb-output file

Note that

Input related verbs

Some internal actions can be bound to a key shortcut but can't be called explicitly from the input because they directly act on the input field:

name default binding behavior
:input_clear empty the input,
:input_del_char_left delete delete the char left of the cursor
:input_del_char_below suppr delete the char left at the cursor's position
:input_del_word_left - delete the word left of the cursor
:input_del_word_right - delete the word right of the cursor
:input_go_to_end end move the cursor to the end of input
:input_go_left move the cursor to the left
:input_go_right move the cursor to the right
:input_go_to_start home move the cursor to the start of input
:input_go_word_left - move the cursor one word to the left
:input_go_word_right - move the cursor one word to the right
:input_selection_copy - copy the selected part of the input into the selection
:input_selection_cut - cut the selected part of the input into the selection
:input_paste - paste the clipboard content into the input

You may add this kind of shortcuts in the verbs section:

{ key: "alt-b", internal: ":input_go_word_left" }
{ key: "alt-f", internal: ":input_go_word_right" }
{ key: "alt-l", internal: ":input_del_word_left" }
{ key: "alt-r", internal: ":input_del_word_right" }
key = "alt-b"
internal = ":input_go_word_left"

key = "alt-f"
internal = ":input_go_word_right"

key = "alt-l"
internal = ":input_del_word_left"

key = "alt-r"
internal = ":input_del_word_right"

Copy, Cut, Paste, in input

Pasting into input is bound to ctrlV but copying from input and cutting aren't bound by default, because you don't usually write long texts here. You may add those bindings if you wish:

{ key: "ctrl-c", internal: ":input_selection_copy" }
{ key: "ctrl-x", internal: ":input_selection_cut" }
key = "ctrl-c"
internal = ":input_selection_copy"
key = "ctrl-x"
internal = ":input_selection_cut"


The :focus internal has many uses.

It can be used without explicit argument in which case it takes the selection (for example :!focus is equivalent to ctrl).

It can be used with an argument, for example you can go to a specific place without leaving broot by typing fo /usr/bin then enter.

You may also want to use it in some cases instead of enter because it keeps the active filter.

It serves as base for several built-in commands, like :home whose execution is :focus ~ (~ is interpreted in broot as the user home even on Windows).

And you can add your own ones:

{ key: "ctrl-up", internal: ":focus .." }
{ key: "ctrl-d", internal: ":focus ~/dev" }
{ // make :go an alias of :focus
    invocation: "go {path}",
    internal: ":focus {path}"
    invocation: "gotar {path}",
    internal: ":focus {path}/target"
key = "ctrl-up"
internal = ":focus .."

key = "ctrl-d"
internal = ":focus ~/dev"

cmd execution

The cmd argument lets you define a sequence, just like the one you give to broot with the --cmd argument.

Such a sequence can contain some searches, some calls to internals, some calls to already defined external based verbs.

For example:

    name: "backup"
    invocation: "bu {name}"
    cmd: ":cp {file}-back_{name};:!focus {file}-back_{name}"
    apply_to: directory
name = "backup"
invocation = "bu {name}"
cmd = ":cp {file}-back_{name};:!focus {file}-back_{name}"
apply_to = "directory"

This verb, which is only available when a directory is selected, copies this directory with a name partially composed from the command and focus the new directory in a new panel


The cmd execution type is still experimental in verbs and the precise behavior may change in future minor versions of broot