The File System Browser (FSB)

Utilities>File System Browser displays the file system browser. By default, the file system browser is shown in a floating window. This window can be docked using the commands in its top-left corner popup menu; see the section called “Window Docking Layouts”.

The FSB can be customized in the Utilities>Options dialog box; see the section called “The File System Browser Panes”.

Navigating the File System

The directory to browse is specified in the Path text field. Clicking the mouse in the text field automatically selects its contents allowing a new path to be quickly typed in. If a relative path is entered, it will be resolved relative to the current path. This text field remembers previously entered strings; see Appendix C, History Text Fields. The same list of previously browsed directories is also listed in the Utilities>Recent Directories menu; selecting one opens it in the file system browser.

To browse a listed directory, double-click it (or if you have a three-button mouse, you can click the middle mouse button as well). Alternatively, click the disclosure widget next to a directory to list its contents in place. To browse higher up in the directory hierarchy, double-click one of the parent directories in the parent directory list.

Files and directories in the file list are shown in different colors depending on what glob patterns their names match. The patterns and colors can be customized in the File System Browser>Colors pane of the Utilities>Options dialog box.

The Path: Text Box can be used to navigate to a specific directory. Environment variables are expanded here, allowing for both $VARNAME or %VARNAME% syntax.

A+Up is a keyboard shortcut that brings you to the parent directory.

A+Left and A+Right navigate back and forward through the visited directory stacks, in a Netscape/Konqueror/IE like fashion.

To see a specific set of files only (for example, those whose names end with .java), enter a glob pattern in the Filter text field. This text fields remembers previously entered strings. See Appendix D, Glob Patterns for information about glob patterns.

Unopened files can be opened by double-clicking (or by clicking the middle mouse button). Open files have their names underlined, and can be selected by single-clicking. Holding down Shift while opening a file will open it in a new view.

Clicking a file or directory with the right mouse button displays a popup menu containing various commands.


The file list sorting algorithm used in jEdit handles numbers in file names in an intelligent manner. For example, a file named section10.xml will be placed after a file named section5.xml. A conventional letter-by-letter sort would have placed these two files in the wrong order.

The Tool Bar

The file system browser has a tool bar containing a number of buttons. Each item in the Commands menu (described below) except Show Hidden Files and Encoding has a corresponding tool bar button.

The Commands Menu

Clicking the Commands button displays a menu containing the following items:

  • Parent Directory - moves up in the directory hierarchy. The Alt+Left arrow keyboard shortcut achieves the same thing.

  • Reload Directory - reloads the file list from disk. F5 does this also.

  • Root Directory - on Unix, goes to the root directory (/). On Windows and MacOS X, lists all mounted drives and network shares. The forward slash (/) achieves this too.

  • Home Directory - displays your home directory. Keyboard shortcut: ~

  • Directory of Current Buffer - displays the directory containing the currently active buffer. Shortcut: -

  • New File (Ctrl+N) - opens new, empty, buffer in the current directory. The file will not actually be created on disk until the buffer is saved.

  • New Directory - creates a new directory after prompting for the desired name.

  • Search in Directory - displays the search and replace dialog box set to search all files in the current directory. If a file is selected when this command is invoked, its extension becomes the file name filter for the search; otherwise, the file name filter entered in the browser is used. See the section called “Search and Replace” for details.

  • Show Hidden Files - toggles if hidden files are to be shown in the file list.

  • Encoding - a menu for selecting the character encoding to use when opening files. See the section called “Character Encodings”.

The Plugins Menu

Clicking the Plugins button displays a menu containing plugin commands. For information about plugins, see Chapter 9, Installing and Using Plugins.

The Favorites Menu

Clicking the Favorites button displays a menu showing all files and directories in the favorites list. The Add to Favorites item adds the currently selected file to the favorites list. If nothing is selected, the current directory is added. To remove a file from the favorites, invoke Edit Favorites, which will show the favorites list in the file system view, then select Delete from the right-click menu of the entry you want to remove.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Completion behaves differently in file dialogs than in the stand-alone file system browser window.

In the file dialog, keyboard input goes in the file name field by default. Pressing Enter opens the file or directory path that is either fully or partially entered in the file name field. Typing the first few characters of a file's name selects that file. If the file name field is empty and nothing is selected, / lists the root directory on Unix and the list of drives on Windows. There are two handy abbreviations that may be used in file paths: ~ expands to the home directory, and - expands to the current buffer's directory.

For example, to open a file /home/slava/jEdit/doc/TODO.txt, you might enter ~/j/d/to.

In the stand-alone file system browser, keyboard input is handled slightly differently. There is no file name field, instead shortcuts are active when the file tree has keyboard focus. Additionally, pressing /, ~ or - always immediately goes to the root, home and current buffer's directory, respectively.