Midnight Commander supports skins, where custom colors can be defined. I have created my own skin with custom colors. However, I am unable to change the color for the internal viewer (mcview). Whatever I define, my colors are being ignored and default colors are used instead.

snippet from my skin .ini file is below:





The _default_ parameter in the [viewer] section is completely ignored. Whatever I put there, the displayed colors will be the ones defined in the '[core]' section (lightgray;blue). In other words, I am unable to override the default colors in mcview.

Can somebody please advise, how I can define different colors for the internal viewer?

  • 1
    Presuming everyone defines _default_ first, grep -C 3 _default_ /usr/share/mc/skins/*.ini | egrep -A 2 "viewer|core" implies none of the stock skins try to set viewer differently than core here -- you could file it as a bug report.
    – goldilocks
    May 1, 2014 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


mcview has ugly blue/grey colors. It is possible to have better view with '-b' option. I added to my ~/.bash_aliases

alias mc='mc -b'

and this makes mcview to show text in black and white mode.


Yes, mcview does not react on color settings (it is a bug). Use another viewer, disable internal viewer in the Menu: Options (F9) -> Configuration -> uncheck Use internal view or type ~/.config/mc/ini and find line 'use_internal_view=' and type 'false' there.

Your external viewer it is "VIEWER" environment variable which you can set up in .bashrc like 'VIEWER=vim' or run mc like this: 'VIEWER=vim' mc

How to set default editor/viewer for Midnight Commander to Sublime

  • also you can run mc in black and white mode: mc -b
    – znavko
    May 7, 2021 at 8:55

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