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Total Commander Usage Tips

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OFM Standards  Folder Tabs Total Commander Start Menu Total Commander Show menu      
Guide to Efficient Use of Total Commander     Configuration Cheetsheet History of Development of Total Commander Humor

Many of tips below were borrowed from an excellent Guide to Efficient Use of Total Commander by Ilya Gulko.

Tips from Ilya Gulko

Use directory favorites menu the same way you use favorites menu in you Web browser

Add the directories you use often to the directory favorites menu. Do so by pressing Ctrl+D (or double-clicking on the path bar) and then choosing Configure. To make the directory menu more efficient, add shortcuts to the menus by including the ampersand (&) character before the shortcut letter. You'll add more directories later as you use it.

The Total Commander button bar is fully customizable. You can alter it in many different ways:

Displaying All Files in a Directory Tree

Total Commander 4.52 also includes a great command to view all files in a subdirectory. This is useful in many different situations, such as renaming a group of files that are distributed among a tree of directories. To use this feature, just press Ctrl+B. If you don't have version 4.52, you can duplicate this feature with the following steps:

  1. Open the Find Files dialog by pressing Alt+F7.
  2. Leave the Search for field blank, and press the Start search button (or just press Enter).
  3. Press Feed to listbox (Alt+L).

This feature can also be used in conjunction with the Multi-Rename Tool. Be careful when using it, though, as it can take a very long time to list all of the files in a big tree, such as the root directory of a drive.(January 23, 2000)

Use of the internal zip packer and unpacker.

Press Alt+F5 to pack a group of files, and Alt+F9 to unpack them. You may also navigate inside of archives, including nested archives. Just select one and press Enter like always. This also works for other archives, such as RAR, ACE, CAB, and the self-extracting versions of these (Press Ctrl+PageDown to navigate inside of a self-extracting archive.)


Tips from FAQ

Q: How can I quickly switch to an often used directory?

A: Either use the directory hotlist (CTRL+D), or create a button in the button bar or an entry in the start menu. The directory hotlist allows to add/remove the currently active directory. To add a dir to the button bar, select the directory, hold down the SHIFT key, and drag the directory to the button bar. A new icon will appear. You can also create a menu item in the "Start Menu" using the command cd c:\dirname. (Total Commander requires you to specify the whole path).

Q: How do I create a shortcut (lnk file)?

A: There are two possibilities:
  1. In the other window by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F5
  2. In the same window by right clicking on the file for 1 second or by pressing Shift+F10 and selecting the command Create Shortcut.
Q: How can I print a file list, or import it into a different program?
A: There are several ways to print a directory from Total Commander, although it's not possible directly:
  1. Use Files - Print - File list to print the selected file names. Depending on the current display mode, you can print either only the file names, or all file details. Please note that some fonts like Fixedsys may not work with your printer. To print to a file, install the printer Generic - Text only, and connect it to FILE: .
  2. Use the command cm_copynamestoclip (e.g. add it to button bar) to copy all names via clipboard to other programs
  3. Use the diskdir plugin from our addons page to create a list file, which you can then print from Word or Excel.
  4. Use a third party tool like print folder pro from It's specialized on printing folders.

Q: How can I compare one or more pairs of folders by content, e.g. after burning a CD-R?
You can use the function synchronize dirs: Select the folders which you want to compare, and choose commands - synchronize dirs and choose the options Subdirs, by content and ignore date. Then click compare. Click the = button to hide/show equal files

Q: How can I easily rename a file? The current name of the file should be given as the default!
A: Select the file and press SHIFT+F6.
Q: How can I format or copy  disks using Total Commander?
A: When you right click on the drive letter, it opens a context menu which contains the two commands. Under Windows NT/2000 this only works if the drive isn't the current drive - therefore you have to use the drive button bar (can be enabled through the Configuration dialog). Alternative: Create a button in the button bar with one of the following commands:
rundll32.exe diskcopy.dll,DiskCopyRunDll
(for copying), or:
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,SHFormatDrive
(for formatting).

Q: Is it possible to use F2 for renaming (as in Explorer)?
Yes, you can re-map keyboard shortcuts through Configuration - Options - Misc - Redefine hotkeys. The command for renaming is cm_RenameOnly .


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Old News ;-)

[Dec 12, 2014] Mass Renaming Directories And Files Using Total Commander by Artem Russakovskii

September 16, 2012 |

If you're like me, you constantly move and rename files and directories. You are also an extremely productive person with evangelical ideals of making every task as efficient as it can be. In this tutorial, I will use my favorite must-have file manager called Total Commander (formerly, Windows Commander) and its brilliant Multi-Rename Tool.

You can download a shareware version of Total Commander at I encourage you to buy it after you try it as it'll soon become an integral part of your life. I've been using it for more than 10 years now and seriously can't imagine my computer without it.

Now for some quick tasks I'd like to accomplish using the Multi-Rename Tool in under a minute each that would otherwise take me ages (also being quite boring and tedious). In my example, I'm going to use 5 files, but feel free to extend it to any number – multi is multi after all. The tool supports regular expressions (regex) to execute more advanced operations.

And the sample files are:

vac-sick-leave request form 03-10-08.xls
vac-sick-leave request form 05-30-07.xls
vac-sick-leave request form 10-16-07.xls
vac-sick-leave request form 11-22-07.xls
vac-sick-leave request form 12-19-07.xls

I fire up Total Commander, highlight the files using the gray *, right clicking and dragging on the names, or pressing Insert – the possibilities are endless, and fire up the Multi-Rename Tool from the Files menu (or just Ctrl-M). Here's what the screen looks like now:

[Dec 12, 2014] How To Show Hidden-Invisible Files In Total Commander, Both Locally And On An FTP Server by Artem Russakovskii

March 6, 2010 |

Today I have 2 tips for Total Commander users: •how to display hidden local directories and files and •how to display hidden FTP directories and files

Really, Total Commander should just control this setting in one place but, unfortunately, it is not the case.

I usually prefer when my file manager shows me everything I have, so that I can be more in control and see the hidden directories, such as .svn or $Recycle.Bin, and files, such as .bashrc or pagefile.sys.

How To Display Hidden Local Directories And Files •go to Configuration -> Options… -> Display •put a check next to the "Show hidden/system files (for experts only)"

local show hidden files total commander How To Display Hidden FTP Directories And Files

This one is a bit trickier – you would think the same option as above controls this, and you would be wrong.

Furthermore, you would think that it's an option in the FTP manager (Ctrl-F), and you would be wrong again.

Here is how to do it: •connect to the FTP server you need •select Net -> FTP Show Hidden Files

ftp show hidden files total commander

Weird choice for an option, isn't it?

Apparently, at least as of Total Commander 7.50a, this option persists while Total Commander is running but it is not saved when you restart it.

[Oct 29, 2012] keyboard shortcuts - Windows XP bind Win+Q to open-focus Total Commander - Super User

Q: Is it possible to bind Win+Q key to open Total Commander or if it is already running - focus on it?


  1. In total commander, you can set it to allow only a single copy

    Configuration -> Options -> Operations -> Allow only a single copy ...,
    so if anything tries to open TC it will only focus on it.

  2. You can bind a key combination to any shortcut you have in the start menu, so you can bind Ctrl+Alt+Q to it (this is what windows does when you key in Win+Q). If you don't mind using extra software - maybe AutoHotKey can help you (I never tried it, just found it on another post on this forum).

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