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mcview -- Internal file viewer of GNU Midnight Commander

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mcview is a link to mc, the main GNU Midnight Commander executable. Executing GNU Midnight Commander under this name results in staring the built-in viewer and opening the file specified on the command line. It is equivalent to the command

mc -v view

The internal file viewer provides two display modes: ASCII and hex. To toggle between modes, use the F4 key.

The viewer will try to use the best method provided by your system or the file type to display the information. If you have the GNU gzip program installed, it will be used to automatically decompress the files on demand. 

The internal file viewer will interpret some string sequences to set the bold and underline attributes, thus mak- ing a pretty display of your files.

When in hex mode, the search function accepts text in quotes and constant numbers. Text in quotes is matched exactly after removing the quotes. Each number matches one byte. You can mix quoted text with constants like this:

"String" -1 0xBB 012 "more text"

Note that 012 is an octal number. -1 is converted to 0xFF.

On systems that provide the mmap(2) system call, the program maps the file instead of loading it; if the system does not provide the mmap(2) system call or the file matches an action that requires a filter, then the viewer will use its growing buffers, thus loading only those parts of the file that you actually access (this includes compressed files).


There are two ways to invoke the editor.

Additional options

You can use several additional options in invocation:

Internal commands

Built-in Viewer has three distinct features that  are rarely found in other viewers

Available internal operations for the built-in viewer:


The default colors may be changed by appending to the MC_COLOR_TABLE environment variable. Foreground and background colors pairs may be specified for example with:


  1. /usr/share/mc/mc.hlp The help file for the program.
  2. /usr/share/mc/mc.ini The default system-wide setup for GNU Midnight Commander, used only if the user's own ~/.mc/ini file is missing.
  3. /usr/share/mc/mc.lib Global settings for the Midnight Commander. Settings in this file affect all users, whether they have ~/.mc/ini or not.
  4. $HOME/.mc/ini User's own setup. If this file is present, the setup is loaded from here instead of the system-wide startup file.

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Old News ;-)

[Nov 05, 2012] Re Changing the default PDF viewer application

Oct 10, 2012

From: Andrew Borodin <aborodin vmail ru>
To: mc gnome org
Subject: Re: Changing the default PDF viewer application
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 09:25:36 +0400


On Tue, 9 Oct 2012 20:13:30 +0100 (BST) Keith Roberts wrote:
> [root@karsites ~]# rpm -q mc
> mc-4.6.1a-35.el5
> and would like to change the default PDF viewer. At the moment it is evince, but I'd like to make it KPDF instead.
> How Can I change this please?

Regardless of version, file associations can be modified using common way:
main menu -> Command -> Edit extension file.

Find PDF binding and modify it as you want.

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The internal file viewer provides two display modes: ASCII and hex. To toggle between modes, use the F4 key.

The viewer will try to use the best method provided by your system or the file type to display the information. Some character sequences, which appear most often in preformatted manual pages, are displayed bold and underlined, thus making a pretty display of your files.

When in hex mode, the search function accepts text in quotes and constant numbers. Text in quotes is matched exactly after removing the quotes. Each number matches one byte. You can mix quoted text with constants like this:

"String" -1 0xBB 012 "more text"
Note that 012 is an octal number. -1 is converted to 0xFF.

Here is a listing of the actions associated with each key that the Midnight Commander handles in the internal file viewer.

F1 Invoke the built-in hypertext help viewer.

F2 Toggle the wrap mode.

F4 Toggle the hex mode.

F5 Goto line. This will prompt you for a line number and will display that line.

F6, /. Regular expression search.

?, Reverse regular expression search.

F7 Normal search / hex mode search.

C-s, F17, n. Start normal search if there was no previous search expression else find next match.

C-r. Start reverse search if there was no previous search expression else find next match.

F8 Toggle Raw/Parsed mode: This will show the file as found on disk or if a processing filter has been specified in the mc.ext file, then the output from the filter. Current mode is always the other than written on the button label, since on the button is the mode which you enter by that key.

F9 Toggle the format/unformat mode: when format mode is on the viewer will interpret some string sequences to show bold and underline with different colors. Also, on button label is the other mode than current.

F10, Esc. Exit the internal file viewer.

next-page, space, C-v. Scroll one page forward.

prev-page, Alt-v, C-b, backspace. Scroll one page backward.

down-key Scroll one line forward.

up-key Scroll one line backward.

C-l Refresh the screen.

C-o Switch to the subshell and show the command screen.

! Like C-o, but run a new shell if the subshell is not running.

[n] m Set the mark n.

[n] r Jump to the mark n.

C-f Jump to the next file.

C-b Jump to the previous file.

Alt-r Toggle the ruler.

Alt-e to change charset of displayed text may use M-e (Alt-e). Recoding is made from selected codepage into system codepage. To cancel the recoding you may select "<No translation>" in charset selection dialog.

It's possible to instruct the file viewer how to display a file, look at the Extension File Edit section



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