The tree view gives you an overview of the current directory, fitting into your screen even when there are millions of files.

It does so with a parallel trimming of child directories to give you a balanced view:

tree view basic

This basic representation will probably be the one you'll most frequently use but you'll also want at times

hidden & gitignored files

With default configuration, hidden files (the ones whose name starts with a dot) and gitignored files (when in a git repository) are initially hidden.

If you don't want to hide those files, you may either

  1. launch broot with flags: br -hi would show both categories, try br --help to see the description of those flags
  2. set the flags directly in your config file: see default flags
  3. toggle hiding when in the application

The toggle commands are :toggle_hidden (shortcut: :h) and :toggle_git_ignore (shortcut: :gi).

If you use those toggles frequently enough, you'll remember the alth alti key combinations.

And if you forget the combinations, have a look at the help.

File Properties

File properties are shown with "toggle" commands, which have shortcuts and which can be bound to key combinations if you want.

Owner and Permissions

Use :toggle_perm (shortcut: :perm) to show unix permissions (depending on your system):


(you could have them from the start by launching broot with br -p)


Use :toggle_sizes (shortcut: :size) to show the size of files and directories.

The size of directories is computed in background: if you have a great number of files in some directories, their size may not be displayed immediately but you can go on using broot while the computation is done (results are cached so you may move around and come back to find the sizes already here).


To the right of the name of the root directory, you'll notice some disk information: type, total size, occupation. This is the disk holding the root directory (and most usually also its children).


The displayed size on Unix is the space the file takes on disk, that is the number of blocks multiplied by the size of a block. If a file is sparse, a little 's' is displayed next to the size.

Last Modification Dates

The last modification date is computed in a very similar way: it's the max modification date of a directory's content.

You display it with :toggle_dates (shortcut: :dates).



Similar again is the number of files in directories (or 1 for files).

Here it is, combined with the sizes:



By default, files are sorted with a rough alpha order.

To see the available sorts, type :sort: broot proposes you the possible completions (you may rotate between them with the tab key):


There are 4 kinds of sort:

The 3 first kinds involve that only one level of files is displayed, there's no visible file hierarchy.

Here's for example all files of my home directory sorted by date (this is a cool way to find out on Monday morning what you were doing before the week-end):


Whale Mode

Sorting by size is the basis of the "whale mode" (dedicated to finding the big fat files). This mode involves also showing all files.

You start it with br -w and it sports bars to make relavive sizes more obvious:

br -w

Git information

With :toggle_git_file_info) (shortcut: :gf) you can see what files have been modified, or are new.

The top line tells you on what branch you are and summarizes changes:


With some customization you have the perfect tool for reviewing your changes before a commit.

All Toggles

Each of those toggles lets you alternate between 2 or 3 modes.

name shortcut key description
toggle_counts counts toggle showing deep counts of files in directories
toggle_dates dates toggle showing last modified dates (deep computed)
toggle_files files toggle showing files (or just folders)
toggle_git_file_info gf toggle display of git file information
toggle_git_ignore gi alti toggle use of .gitignore
toggle_hidden h alth toggle showing hidden files
toggle_perm perm toggle showing file permissions (Unix only)
toggle_sizes sizes toggle showing sizes
toggle_trim_root t toggle removing nodes at first level too
toggle_tree tree toggle showing file tree (when not affected by sorting mode)

To apply one, type a space (or :), then the start of its shortcut, then hit .

For example typing :s then enter will show file and directory sizes.

Those toggles may also be defined with launch options and the default_flags preference. And you can see them in the application with ?.