When I was in windows I used to use Total Commander as my file manager. There was a function called "Branch view" (CTRL+B), which basically showed all the files within a particular directory including any files within all the recursive directories.

Basic view of Total Commands


I am really struggling finding a linux file manager which satisfies that function. Sometimes I use total commander under wine but on some operations is rather slow. At the moment I am using ranger, but it doesn't have this feature

  • would ls -R? be an option? ... or find with the option -type f? Or do you need a GUI? – Sebastian Sep 19 '14 at 11:14
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    Something like tree in the terminal? – superdesk Sep 19 '14 at 12:00
  • I found a console app called Worker that has a "Flatten Dir" option that shows all the files in a single list. But it's rough looking to me. boomerangsworld.de/cms/worker/changes.html#sec-4 – slm Sep 19 '14 at 13:18
  • @slm, Worker isn't a console app, but a GUI app. Give it a try, it's cool =) – Stephan Henningsen Aug 11 '16 at 21:02
  • Yes, Total Commander is the one Windows software I really miss on Linux and Macs... – mivk Aug 28 '18 at 16:18

Double Commander currently implements Flat view (Commands...Flat view) and nicely mimics behavior of Total Commander. Total Commander itself works pretty well under Wine.

  • The question already mentions Total Commander under Wine.  Can you provide some more information about Double Commander?  In particular, at a bare minimum, say where to get the software. – G-Man Mar 19 '16 at 0:53
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    Sorry for late reply. Double Commander is freeware and available for both Linux and Windows. sourceforge.net/projects/doublecmd – dosware Jul 19 '16 at 23:24

Command line

If you just want your list of files recursively that reside under a specific directory, and do not mind dropping to a terminal to get it, you have the following options.

$ ls -R <somedir>

$ find <somedir>

$ tree <somedir>

But these are not interactive in any way, as if they were displayed by a file browser, rather they're just a static listing of the files that reside under <somedir> and the sub-directories underneath too.


There are many GUIs for exploring files within Unix/Linux, and I'm just not that up on all of them, unfortunately. So rather I'll explain how I'd go about finding an alternative.

Whenever I'm looking for a tool that does similar things to an existing tool I'll first start by going to Alternative To. NOTE: Be sure to go to the .net site, there are knock-offs.

From here you can search for tools that others have identified as alternatives to tool X. When searching here I like to start with a specific tool, but then take a few of the results and put them into the site as well, to cast my net even wider. So for today I'd put in your "Total Commander" tool along with say "Nautilus".

Here's the search for Linux alternatives to "Total Commander": http://alternativeto.net/software/total-commander/?platform=linux.


Here's the search for Linux alternatives to "Nautilus": http://alternativeto.net/software/nautilus/?platform=linux

I'd comb over these lists of applications, looking for any that possess the ability to show you all the files recursively in directory X.

Further research

I did come across this blog post titled: XTREE branch view (aka “flat VFS” or Flat View) capability in Linux / Ubuntu file managers. This article has someone who's looking for the exact same feature as you.


I’m researching Linux file managers which implement a famous XtreeGold file manager feature commonly known as branch view, flat view, or “flat VFS.” A branch view of a directory will show, in one panel, both a parent directory’s files and all its subdirectory files. In principal, one can view, sort, filter, and issue a command on files which originate from different directories. Of course, such recursive operations can also be accomplished in a less visual way using many command line tools.

Unfortunately no popular Linux GUI file manager includes a branch view display feature- and few file manager developers seem to be aware of (or discuss) this flexible approach to viewing and managing groups of files. Krusader and others do implement special virtual file system panels (e.g., display/ manipulate archive file contents, or manipulate file search results in a panel), but not a basic branch view VFS.

Other names?

The "Flat View" that you're looking for appears to go by several names. I found this page titled: Less is More: Orthodox File Managers as Sysadmin IDE which had the following blurb about the topic:

XTree or "Flat tree" VFS. Most modern OFMs provide the possibility of viewing all files in a branch of the tree in a "flat" representation (often bound to Ctrl-B). This representation is extremely important for working with files dispersed into several directories as is often the case in most application installations.



Turns out ranger already has this functionality - flat command is available since v1.7.0

The command documentation string:

flat level

Flattens the directory view up to the specified level. Level -1 means infinite level. Level 0 means standard view without flattened directory view. Level values -2 and less are invalid.

Therefore, :flat -1 will show files in all subfolders

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