Drag and Drop
4Pane uses Drag and Drop (D'n'D) to Move, Paste or Link files or directories. The destination will usually be a directory displayed in a
different pane, but it can be in the same pane (or even sometimes the same directory).
To start dragging, place the mouse on the name of the item to be dragged, press the left mouse button and start moving.
For multiple items, first highlight them, then press the Ctrl key as you begin to drag one of them; release it once the drag has "caught" if you don't need it.
Within the first centimeter of movement you should get a visual feedback to show that dragging has started. You can configure how easily you want
this to happen in Options > Configure 4Pane > Misc; however too low a trigger distance might result in unintended changes to your filesystem!
The visual feedback will depend on what you're trying to do:
If no metakeys are being pressed, you are Moving and you will see
With the Ctrl key pressed you're Copying, and you will see
With the Ctrl and Shift keys pressed you get a Hardlink, and you will see
With the Alt and Shift keys you're making a Softlink, and you will see
If you change keys in mid-drag, the icon will change appropriately. You can choose different metakey-patterns in Options > Configure 4Pane > Misc.
Apart from this "What am I doing?" feedback, you also need some for "Are we there yet?". This is provided by the cursor: if you can't drop
in the current position, the cursor looks like
Once you're over a suitable target, so you can drop, it changes to
What if you are dragging, and you realise that your target directory isn't actually visible? Well the easy answer is to stop dragging
(in "mid air", so you don't accidentally drop the files in the wrong place), expose the target, and start again. But if you want you can
force a scroll while dragging, in three ways:
Once you are over the name of a directory, the cursor will change and dropping is possible. If you are doing a Move or a Paste, it
will just happen. For Linking, a dialog will appear. In this you can:
- If you hover just above/below the destination pane, it will slowly scroll in that direction.
- If you hover over the destination pane, you can use the mousewheel to scroll.
- A right-click above or below the destination pane's vertical scrollbar's thumb (the bit that moves) will scroll a page at a time. Don't forget to keep the
left button pressed all the time, or the drag will abort.
Instead of dropping onto a directory in a dir-view, you can drop in a file-view. If you drop onto a file, it will be the file's parent directory
that accepts the drop; if onto a subdirectory in the fileview, it will be that subdirectory.
- Choose a name to give the link: either keeping the same name as the link's target (providing you're not making the link in the same directory!); using the same name plus an extension e.g. foo -> foo.lnk; or providing a new name of your choice.
- Change your mind as to which sort of link to make.
- If you are creating links to more than one file, you can make these choices 'Apply to all' of them. This isn't possible if you are choosing a new name for the links.
If you Move or Paste a file by D'n'D, but drop it back into its own directory, this will usually be accidental: either D'n'D triggered unintentionally,
or you released the mouse button too early. If this happens a dialog appears, allowing you to admit to the mistake, but also giving the option
to Duplicate the file instead. However creating a Link in the same directory is perfectly reasonable, you just need to give it a different name.
D'n'D to elsewhere
You can use D'n'D from a pane in three other situations:
It isn't possible to use D'n'D from 4Pane to other applications, or from outside into 4Pane.
- You can drag item(s) onto the Terminal Emulator or the Command-line. The name segment of each filepath will be copied there. If the
Ctrl key is pressed, instead you get ./filename; with both Ctrl and Shift keys pressed, the whole filepaths are copied. This is useful if you're building a command and want to pass it several filenames as parameters.
- Editors. These are applications, usually editors e.g. kwrite, but may be others e.g. Firefox, OpenOffice. Each has an icon in the
toolbar. Dragging a file (or for some applications e.g. gedit, multiple files) onto an editor's icon will
launch that editor, with that file opened. This is useful for opening a text file that doesn't have the .txt extension e.g. a Readme file.
- Devices. These are things like dvdrom drives and usbpens. Each has an icon in the toolbar, to the right of the Editors.
Dragging item(s) onto a device's icon will have no effect if it's read-only e.g. a dvdrom, but if it's read-write e.g. a floppy disc or a
usbpen, the device will be mounted if it isn't already, and the file Moved or Copied onto it.