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PCMan File Manager
PCMan File Manager.png
Developer Hong Jen Yee (PCMan)
Latest version 1.1.0 (from 31 October 2012)
Genre File Manager
License GNU General Public License
Website blog.lxde.org

PCMan File Manager (PCManFM) is a file manager application developed by Hong Jen Yee from Taiwan which is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. Released under the GNU General Public License, PCManFM is free software. PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE, which is also developed by the same author in conjunction with other developers.

PCManFM is intended to follow the specifications given by Freedesktop.org for interoperability in free software.


PCManFM's features include:

  • Full gvfs support with seamless access to remote filesystems (Able to handle sftp://, webdav://, smb://, ...etc when related backends of gvfs are installed.)
  • Thumbnails for pictures (default only for local pictures) with optional EXIF support
  • Desktop management - shows wallpaper and desktop icons, with possibility to have different wallpapers on each desktop
  • Bookmarks - saved places. You can see them in the left panel of PCManFM. Visible from other Gtk+ applications.
  • Multilingual (translated in several languages)
  • Can be started in one second on normal machine
  • Tabbed windows (similar to Firefox tabs)
  • Volume management (mount/unmount/eject, requires gvfs) with optional automounting
  • Drag & Drop support
  • Files can be dragged among tabs
  • File association support (e.g. default application to open)
  • Provides icon view, compact view, detailed list view and thumbnail view.
  • Standard compliant (follows the FreeDesktop.org guidelines)
  • Clean and user-friendly interface (GTK+ 2)
  • Trash can support
  • Applications menu virtual folder
  • File system advanced search


Since 2010, PCManFM has undergone a complete rewrite from scratch. So the new PCManFM is totally different from the old 0.5.x series. Build instructions, the ways to setup, and configuration files are different, too.

Get and Compile the Source Code

Please, refer to the complete build and setup guide for PCManFM/libfm.


Desktop Path

If your desktop displays the files of your /home/ and not the files on your real Desktop path, you probably do not have an established path "Desktop". To fix this please do the following:

  • mkdir ~/Desktop
  • nano ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs
  • and restart your LXDE session (log out and log in).

Desktop Icons/links

Desktop links are not totally obvious. Here are some hints.

Create desktop icons with the GUI

lxshortcut -i ~/Desktop/myapplication.desktop

Manually create desktop icons

Open the files with editor to see how they work:

  • Look at the examples here: /usr/share/applications
  • A typical file name is like this one: leafpad.desktop The file name won't show up on pcmanfm but name stated inside the file instead.
Other Hints
  • Copy files from /usr/share/applications to your ~/Desktop folder.
  • Make your own desktop links by following the examples above and put them in your ~/Desktop folder.
  • The same .desktop files are used for the buttons in the lxpanel.

Tips and Tricks

  • Next keyboard actions will work on folder in the current tab even if keyboard focus is on Sidebar or Toolbar buttons:
    • Selected File Properties
    • Context menu for selection
  • Next keyboard actions will work depending on keyboard focus:
    • Cut selected into clipboard
    • Copy selected into clipboard
    • Paste clipboard content
    • Delete selected
    • Select all
  • All other keys mentioned in main menu work always on folder in the current tab.
  • Context menu for folder selection can be called by pressing 'Shift' + 'Menu'.
  • Standard context menu keys ('Menu', or 'Shift' + 'F10') when folder view is focused call context menu for folder itself.
  • You can select few files by pressing cursor keys while holding 'Shift'.
  • You can toggle selection of focused file by pressing 'Ctrl' + space.
  • Selected file properties window can be called by pressing 'Alt' + 'Enter'.
  • When keyboard focus is in Path Entry, key 'Tab' does completion and never leave the entry.
  • Pressing 'Enter' in Path Entry will change keyboard focus onto folder in current tab.
  • Pressing 'Shift' + 'Tab' in Path Entry will change keyboard focus onto Sidebar.

Run as root

If Tools > "Open Current Folder as Root" command gives an error, you probably need to enter a change similar to this one:

PCManFM > Edit > Preferences > Advanced and in the the "Switch user command" field add the command "gksu %s" (without quotes). This works in Debian Squeeze running Openbox or LXDE. In Fedora use "beesu %s" after installing beesu as root. A different command may be needed if running PCManFM in other desktops such as KDE, if gksudo is not installed.

Bug reports, patch submissions or feature requests

See also

External Links