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Using FZF to Preview Text Files on the Command Line and within Vim


Here's a video going over how to set up a Shell alias to preview files. It also works out of the box with Vim using the fzf.vim plugin.

Quick Jump: Demo

FZF is extremely useful on the command line to reverse search your history with CTRL+r. I’ve made a video about that a few years ago, but FZF can also fuzzy find files using CTRL+t.

You can take this one step further to have FZF recursively find all files in a directory and then you can quickly preview them with paging support . You can also set up an alias to make it easy to access and even get syntax highlighting if you use the bat tool.



alias pf="fzf --preview='less {}' --bind shift-up:preview-page-up,shift-down:preview-page-down"


  • 0:08 – I’ve made videos in the past about reverse searching your history with FZF
  • 0:18 – Running the FZF command on its own
  • 0:37 – Using the built in CTRL+t bind with FZF to fuzzy search files on the command line
  • 0:57 – Previewing files on the command line with FZF using less
  • 1:59 – Using different commands to preview files, such as head for the first 30 lines
  • 2:24 – Using bat to get syntax highlighting in your previewed files
  • 4:06 – Creating custom FZF binds to page through results and setting up a Shell alias
  • 5:59 – You can preview files with the FZF Vim plugin by default too
  • 7:08 – Recap and any questions?

What types of files are you going to preview using this method? Let me know below.

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