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How do I set up Midnight Commander or other text-based file navigator so that when I start typing it searches the first directory or file matching the typed text?

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I presume you mean "search for", not "search in".

If you want to use tab autocompletion with mc on the command line, use alt-tab (or ctrl-alt-tab if that doesn't work) instead of tab.

If you press ctrl-s, you'll see a highlighted search bar replace the "mini-status" bar at the bottom of your current panel. When you start typing, the selection bar will jump to the first matching file name (so, e.g., you can just hit 'm' to go to files starting with m). Esc closes the bar.

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  • uu, nice. How do I make Ctrl-S always-on?
    – aleb
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 19:39

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