Midnight Commander (mc) Configuration in Debian

GNU Midnight Commander is a text-mode full-screen file manager. It uses a two panel interface and a subshell for command execution. It includes an internal editor with syntax highlighting and an internal viewer with support for binary files. Also included is Virtual Filesystem (VFS), that allows files on remote systems (e.g. FTP, SSH, SMB servers) and files inside archives to be manipulated like real files.

Install MC in Debian

#apt-get install mc

That's it installation completed. If you want to start mc you need to enter the following command


 At first glance you will notice that the interface consists of four distinct sections.

The topmost line is the menu bar. This behaves much like the menu bar of GUI applications. The menu bar line may not be visible, but appears if you click the topmost line with the mouse or press the F9 key.

Two directory panels which take up most of the screen space. One of the panels is the active panel and is indicated by a horizontal selection bar. Almost all operations take place on the active panel. Some file operations like rename and copy use the directory of the inactive panel as the default destination. Switching from one panel to another can be done via the Tab key.

The second line from the bottom of the screen is a shell command line. You can execute system commands from the Midnight Commander by simply typing them. Everything you type will appear on the shell command line, and the typed command will be executed when you press the Enter key. If no command is typed then the Enter key will be applied to the active panel.

The bottom line shows the function key labels (F1 - F10). The functions keys map to commonly used commands in the browse, view, and edit modes.

Both browse and edit modes contain a top menu area. The top menu may be activated by the F9 key. Once activated, you can traverse the menu area using the arrow keys. The Enter key will execute the current menu selection. The Esc key (twice) will deactivate the top menu.

While within the top menu structure you may have noticed keyboard shortcuts for most of the menu items. While using Midnight Commander, you will find these shortcuts extremely useful. Some of the shortcuts may appear unconventional, such as "C-x". Here's an explanation of these shortcuts:

C-<chr> - Means to hold the Control (Ctrl) key while typing the character <chr>. Example: C-x

M-<chr> - Means to hold the Meta, or Alt, key while typing the character <chr>. Example: M-x

S-<chr> - Means to hold the Shift key while typing the character <chr>. Example: S-x

C-<chr> <chr2> - Means to hold the Control (Ctrl) key while typing the character <chr>, release the Ctrl and <chr> keys, and then press the last character <chr2>. Example: C-x d

If you want to know more options and how to use mc check the Manpage of mc by clicking here