Chapter 2.4.4: PCManFM-Qt


PCManFM-Qt (PCMan File Manager) is a file manager application ported to Qt after the original developed by Hong Jen Yee from Taiwan which is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar.

  • tabs
  • bookmarks
  • places with removable media
  • Ability to eject removable media and the ability to mount other filesystesms internally.


Along the top to create a new tab in pcmanfm-qt you can use the button with a file and a plus on it to open a new tab or press control +t. The left pointing arrow button is a back button while the right pointing arrow button moves you forward in the directories that you have moved in the file manager. Another way to go back and forward is Alt + Left arrow or Go ‣ Go Back and another way to go forward is Alt + Right Arrow or Go ‣ Go Forward. The button for the arrow pointing upward is to go up one level in the directory tree to the so called parent directory. To rename your files right click on the file and click rename or press f2.

To close a tab click on the red x button on the tab bar. To close a tab using the keyboard press Control +W or from the menu File ‣ Close Tab.

To create a new empty text file press Control + Alt +N or File ‣ Create New ‣ Blank File and type in the name of the file you want. To create a new folder or directory press File ‣ Create New Folder or press Control+ Shift +N and input the new folder name. To delete your files from pcmanfm-qt will first put them in the trash so they are not gone forever. To move a file into the trash right click that file move to trash or press Delete. To get a file out of the trash in places trash to get to your trash or Go ‣ Trash. To bring a file back from the trash right click restore. To permanently delete all files from the trash can right click on the places empty trash. To go back to your home folder press Alt +Home or Go ‣ Home.

To view a directory tree on your side pane select directory tree from the menu above the side pane. To expand into a folder press the + to expand the files and the - button to collapse the folder. To switch to a folder left click on the folder name. To have open a directory in a new tab right click on it and select Open in new tab. Top open a folder from the directory tree in a terminal Open in terminal. To switch to back to places from the menu above the side pane select Places.


If you single click on a file you will select it. If you double click on it you will open it in the default program to open that file. If you right click on a file you can select which program to open a file with if you have multiple programs to open it. If you want to selct multiple files you can hold down control+ Left click to select each file. To copy files select the file right click copy or press control +c. To cut files select them right click cut and or press control + x. After copying or cutting a file you can paste them with right click paste or press control +v. To select all files in a directory is to press Control+ A or right click Select All for all of the files. To select multiple files with the mouse you can hold down Control and left click to select all of the files. To bulk rename multiple files first select all the files you want to rename then Edit ‣ Bulk Rename.

To connect to a remote server such as a NAS go to the go ‣ Connect to server and authenticate to your remote storage. If you want to plug in removeable storage you can open the storage on the left sidebar with devices. This same applies to other internal filesystems on your computer. To eject removeable media press the button on the left with a circled up arrow to eject. On the side pane you can right click to open a place in a new tab by right clicking Open in new tab for places and mounted drives.

To see hidden files press control +h, right click show hidden, or go to:menuselection:view –> show hidden. Press the same thing again to hide hidden files again. To open a terminal in your current folder press f4 or Tool ‣ Open terminal from the menu. To view the properties of a file or folder right click on it and select properties from the menu, File ‣ File Properties or press Alt +Enter. To view a dialog that shows folder properties File ‣ Folder Propertires. General will show you the size of the file where the file is and when it was last modified or accessed.

To search for files press f3 or Tool ‣ search for files. To type part of name in the part where it says File Name Patterns. To make your search case insensitive check the Case insensitive. To toggle searching with regular expressions check/uncheck the Use regular expression checkbox. To add locations and places to search press the Add button and select the additional places to search. To remove an additional place to search press the Remove button. To toggle searching in Subdirectories check/uncheck the Search in subdirectories. To toggle searching for hidden files check/uncheck the Search for hidden files.

The permissions tab will show you who owns the file which if you can’t change it will be grayed out and who has permisson to read modify and execute the file. To change permision of files the Owner, Group, or Other drop down menu will allow you to choose whether you can read, read and write, or forbidden. To make something executeable such as a script you wrote check the Make the file executable.

Pcmanfm-qt can actually launch other applications in places Applications or Go ‣ Applications and then gets all the tasks in the menu in lxqt-panel. To view what files are on your desktop Go ‣ Desktop or on the places sidebar press the desktop item on the left.

To add a bookmark Bookmarks ‣ Add to Bookmarks and it will make a bookmark. To later access this bookmark it will be on the left hand side under bookmarks and under the bookmarks menu. To bring up a dialog to edit bookmarks Bookmarks ‣ Edit bookmarks. To Remove a bookmark from the edit bookmarks dialog press the Remove Item button. You can also add a bookmark from here with the Add item button. To cancel your changes press the Cancel button.

If you want to run an executeable script from pcmanfm double click and then click execute on the execute file dialog window. If you wish to edit the script you can press the open button. To cancel and not do anything press the Cancel button.

Pcmanfm-Qt has different view modes which can be changed in the view menu. To select a view that has bigger thumbnails to view pictures before deciding to open them View ‣ View ‣ Thumbnail View. If you want to view lists of move data about something like the file size the time it is modified select detailed list view by View ‣ View ‣ Detailed list view. If you really want to have see as many files in a small area use the compact view or View ‣ View ‣ Compact View. To return to the original view of pcmanfm-qt is to View ‣ View ‣ Icon View.

To reverse the order that pcmanfm-Qt sorts files View ‣ Sorting ‣ Descending or conversly to switch back View ‣ Sorting ‣Ascending. To sort by file name View ‣ Sorting ‣ By file name. To sort by modification View ‣ Sorting ‣ By modification time. To sort by file size View ‣ Sorting ‣ By file size. To sort by file type View ‣ Sorting ‣ By file type. To sort by owner View ‣ Sorting ‣ By Owner. To seperate all folders first in sorting check the checkbox in View ‣ Sorting ‣ Folder First. To sort with case sensitive check the checkbox in View ‣ Sorting ‣ Case sensitive.

To change your path bar to buttons View ‣ Pathbar ‣ Location and to get back to a pathbar you can type into View ‣ Pathbar ‣ Path Buttons. To toggle showing the menubar Control +M or View ‣ Toolbars ‣ Menubar and uncheck the checkbox. To get the menubar back press Control +M again.


pcmanfm-qt has options when right clicking has special options for dealing with archieves such as tar or zip files. To extract the files in the current directory right click and select extract here. You can also extract to another location with right clicking and selecting extract to and a dialog will pop up showing to where to extract the file.




To open a dialog for prefrences of pcmanfm-qt Edit ‣ Prefrences. The Behavior tab has settings for the way pcmanfm-qt manages files. The checkbox Open files with single click opens files by clicking on them once and you select the files by mousing over them. The Bookmarks drop down menu has options to either open bookmarks in the current tab, open bookmarks in a new tab, or open bookmarks in a new window. The Confirm before deleting files checkbox makes a confirm dialog before deleting files. The checkbox Move deleted files to “Trash bin instead of erasing from disk puts files in the trash bin instead of always deleting them. The Erase files on removable media instead of “trash can” creation Erases files on removable media isntead of creating a trash can on the removable media. The checkbox Confirm before moving files into “trash can” brings a confirmation dialog before moving files to the trash can. The checkbox Launch executable files without prompt will run executable files without bringing up a prompt asking what to do with the file. To select new files automatically check/uncheck the Select newly created files checkbox.


The tab Display tab allows you to change icon sizes and changes size prefexes hide backup files and settings for margins. The Size of big icons changes the size of big icons in pcmanfm-qt. The Size of small icons Changes the size of small icons for pcmanfm-qt. The Size of thumbnails changes the size of thumbnails in pcmanfm-qt. The Size of side pane icons changes the size of side pane icons. The checkbox Use SI decimal prefixes instead of IEC binary prefixes treats kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes as base 1000 instead of 1024. To toggle showing backup files as hidden check/uncheck the Treat backup files as hidden checkbox. To change the minimum margins in icon view for number of pisels change the numbers in Minimum item margins in icon view. To toggle locking the marings in places check/uncheck the Lock checkbox.

The tab User Interface changes how pcmanfm-qt appears in windows. To toggle always showing the tabbar even when you have only one tab check/uncheck the Always show the tab bar checkbox. The checkbox Fullwidth tab bar makes the tab bar take the full width of the window including over the side pane. To toggle showing the x on each tab to close each tab check/uncheck the Show ‘Close’ buttons on tabs checkbox. To have pcmanfm-qt open the window in the same size as the last time you closed the window by checking/unchecking the Remember the size of the last closed window checkbox. If you have the Remember the size of the last closed window you can change the Default width of new Window filed or Default height of new windows fields.

The tab Thumbnail tab has settings for thumbnails on files in pcmanfm-qt. To enable/disable thumbnails check/uncheck the Show thumbnails of files checkbox. If you want to only have thumbnails for local files not on another machine check Only show thumbnails for local files checkbox. Unchecking the previous checkbox will result in a slower performance to get the thumbnails for the files. To put an upper limit on the file size for generating thumbnails which makes thumbnails change the Do not generate thumbnails for image files execeeding the size field.

The tab Volume manages flash drives other partions on external disks and other external meida. The Auto Mount section is settings for atuomatically mounting removable media. The Mount mountable volumens automatically on program startup mounts removable media when you start pcmanfm-qt. To automount removeable media when you insert them into your computer check the Mount removeable media automatically when they are inserted. To show a menu for removeable media when inserted check/uncheck the Show available options for removable media when they are inserted. To choose when you unmount a a removable volum you can choose to Close tab containing removeable medium or Change folder in the tab to home folder.

The Advanced tab shows integration with other programs and advanced settings. To change your default terminal emulator from pcmanfm-qt prefrences drop down change the Terminal emulator drop down menu. To change your Archiver integration change the Archiver integration drop down.


Lubuntu currently ships with 0.13.0 of pcmfanfm-qt.

How to Launch

To open PCManFM in your current directory (in terminal), execute


Feel free to append [lxqt-sudo] to run PCManFM-Qt as root.

You can also go to the Applications menu Accessories ‣ PCManFM-Qt File Manager. There also is a keyboard shortcut for launching pcmanfm-qt of Super + E. The icon for pcmanfm-qt looks like a file cabinet drawer with files in it at the top.