© Copyright Keller and Chapman 1989-2008. All rights reserved.

FL User Guide

Version 5.00 (2008-07-25)



The FL User Guide has received only minimal updates since version 3, and hence is significantly out of date. To understand the changes made in versions 4 and 5 you must read the pages describing the changes in each release (here).


This page Other pages
Invocation Main Page
Starting FL Licence
Command Joiners Using FL on Linux
Commands FLCUST User Guide
Standard Function Keys FLFIND User Guide
User Function Keys FLTREE User Guide
Navigation Keys FLVIEW User Guide
File Attributes TEE User Guide
Screen Size  


FL [[drive][path][name[.[ext]]]] [...] [options]


Show FL command syntax and version.

Change sort order:

Sort by date/time
Sort by extension
Sort by name
Sort by path
Sort by size

Change panel layout:

Standard panel layout
Wide panel layout
Compact panel layout

Include sub-directories ("tree mode").

Change key set:

Standard function keys
User function keys

Change search attribute:

Archive files
Directories only
Files only
Hidden files
Readonly files
System files

Default: /a:df


FL c:\test\*.exe
List all EXE files in "c:\TEST".

FL a:\*.c /t
List all C Files on drive A:.

FL *.asm
List all ASM files in current directory.

FL *.c *.h
List all C and H files in current directory.

FL *.c test\*.c
List all C and H files in current directory and sub-directory "test".

FL *.c /s:d >cc.lst
Redirect output to file CC.LST (output to a pipe is also supported).

FL \ /a:d /t
List all directories on current drive.

FL \ /a:a /t
List all files with archive attribute on current drive.

FL a:\test c:\test /s:p /m:1
Compare contents of two directories.

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Starting FL

The directory is read and a list of files will be built . If no argument is given, all files in the current directory are listed. Otherwise, only files satisfying the command line argument are shown.

The list of files is sorted according to the specified sort order and displayed.

There is place on each line for a command to be entered, followed with size and date information.

The path is automatically set to the first listed directory and the original path will be restored after returning from FL (#Q command). Alternatively, you can exit to the directory on display (#C command).

If the /t option has been specified, the path is shown on the right, instead of size and date information. You may toggle between size/date and path information via the F11 key.

It is possible to enter several commands at a time. FL scans all input lines (from top to bottom and from start of a line to end of a line) of the list. If a valid entry is found, it is passed to the operating system.

This will be done for each entry. Using any control commands will cause an immediate return after execution of this command line.

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Command Joiners

To separate more than one command in a command line use these command joiners; they have the same meanings as the command joiners on OS/2.

It is possible to mix FL control and OS commands in one line separated via a command joiner.

command separator

AND command execution

OR command execution

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Operating-system commands may include FL commands that result in the manipulation of the file's name components within the resulting OS command.

Insert the whole file name at this point

Insert the drive part of the file name at this point

Insert the path part of the file name at this point

Insert the name part of the file name at this point

Insert the extension part of the file name at this point

Insert the filespec at this point (name.ext)

Insert one "#" char at this point

Do not automatically append the file name to the command and do no substitutions

Repeat Commands

Execute the previously entered command on this line

Multiple repeat command

All lines are filled with the repeat character, starting from the next line

If an operating-system command is entered on a line and executed, the file name will be inserted where a # appears. If no FL command is present on the line, the file name will be appended to the end of the line. In the case that you do not want the command interpretation, begin the line with the FL command #o, followed by the OS command.

Control Commands

Suppress prompt message at the end of a command (has to be the first letter of the command)

QUIT - end Help/FL and return to the operating system

#c [directory]
Quits the FL program in the directory if specified, otherwise the directory and drive currently shown is taken.

Show help panel


Sort the list in extension order

Sort the list in file name order

Sort the list in date order

Sort the list in file size order

Panel layouts:

Previous panel layout

Next panel layout

Standard panel layout

Wide panel layout

Compact panel layout

Scroll to the end of the list of files

Scroll to the top of the list of files


Add to a list of files

Searchargument is required

[ Searchargument1 ] [ Searchargument2 ] [..]

Refresh the list of files

If Searcharguments are entered, FL loads the specified files

#w[-+ ]
Window handling:

Previous window

Next window

[ Searchargument1 ] [ Searchargument2 ] [..]

Create a new window

If Searcharguments are entered, FL loads the specified files

Please notice that using any control command will cause FL to return immediately to the input panel after execution of the command line.

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Standard Function Keys

  1. Activates the Help window.
  2. Toggles between Help window and Input area.

To Scroll up/down in Help, use PgUp and PgDn.

Invoke FLFIND for file on current line.

  1. Quit Help panel if shown.
  2. Quit FL.

Cycle through panel layouts.

Cycle through FL windows.

  1. If current line is a directory, the directory is listed using FL.
  2. If the current line is a file, the file is displayed using FLVIEW.

Sort by name.

Sort by date.

Go up to parent directory.

Go down to directory on the current line.

Switch columns.

Refresh the list of files (#R)

If Searcharguments are entered at the current line, FL loads the specified files.

To switch from user/standard function keys use CTRL-BACKSPACE.

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User Function Keys

If a function key is pressed, only the commands assigned to that key are processed; they are either executed immediately, or copied to the command line for execution later. Commands typed into other command fields are retained for execution later.

These keys are:

(F1) > (F12)

(CTRL + F1) > (CTRL + F12)

(ALT + F1) > (ALT + F12)

(SHIFT + F1) > (SHIFT + F12)

Use FLCUST to customise these function keys.

ALT Keys

These keys are:

(ALT + A) > (ALT + Z)

Use FLCUST to customise these keys.

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Navigation Keys

Execute command(s) entered.

Execute command(s) entered.

Move cursor to beginning of next line.

Scroll one page up.

Scroll one page down.

Move the cursor to the top-page of the list.

Move the cursor to the last-page of the list.

Move cursor to start of current line.

Move cursor just past end of text on current line.

Move the cursor one column to the right.

Move the cursor one column to the left.


Switch standard function keys and user function keys.

Move cursor to the top line of the screen page.

Move cursor to the bottom line of the screen page.

CTRL- <-
Backtab word.

CTRL- ->
Tab word.

Retrieve previous commands.

Delete to the end of the line.

Clear current line.

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File Attributes


Only one attribute is displayed; the choice of attribute to display can be specified in FLCUST.

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Screen Size

FL can use any screen size or window size that is at least 10 rows by 80 columns. FL automatically adjusts its panel layout to make best use of the space available.

Although the original PC hardware supported only a small number of specific screen sizes, modern windowed operating systems support windows of arbitrary sizes. For example, Windows supports any window size in the range 1 row by 1 column, to 9999 rows by 9999 columns.

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