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Intro to Ranger

What is Ranger?

Ranger is an open source Github project that aims to streamline and simplify directory navigation on any computer. If you’re relatively new to the terminal or only use it rarely, this may not be a big deal for you. However, if you use the terminal on a regular or even daily basis, this tool may be invaluable. Unlike a typical GUI layout found on Windows or Linux machines, Ranger gives you 3 columns of folders at once. This allows you to see one directory up, your current working directory, and one directory down.

Why is this Awesome?

If you’ve used Apple’s Finder, you’ll know there’s a file view called “Column View” that allows you to navigate in and out of folders with speed, just using the arrow keys. Ranger essentially brings this speed to every platform, inside the terminal.

Column view in Apple’s Finder window

If You’re New to Terminal

If you’re like me and just starting to use the terminal for the first time, there’s a good chance you know the commands “cd” and “ls” (on linux or mac) or “dir” for Windows. Those commands absolutely do work, and you can still use them if you like. However, it’s also nice to know of some nice alternatives! So instead of typing out long directory paths and risking typos, now you can just run “ranger”. In addition to fast file navigation, you can also get ASCII previews of image files, text previews of documents, and even look inside zipped files!

Just Scratching The Surface

Finally, this article is meant to be a very shallow, surface-level introduction to what Ranger is and what it does in a very general sense. Be sure to check out the full documentation to discover the VAST amount of control you can get out of Ranger. That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for reading!

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