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On Windows, the "File Explorer" (explorer.exe) has a handy preview feature beyond thumbnails: It can show files and contents side by side in the same window. Is there any Linux file manager that provides similar functionality?

Screenshot

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Preview-pane vs Thumbnails vs Opening the files

This feature is helpful, when browsing large document folders, e.g. my PDFs of scanned personal documents, as it allows quickly looking through the files in a manner, that wouldn't be possible otherwise:

  • Thumbnails are unreadable when small, and make navigating across many files confusing when large, because they don't provide a clean separation between file listing and content view. They also don't allow viewing the second page.
  • Opening the files is distracting, as it requires jumping back and forth between at least two windows. By comparison, browsing through several files with a side-by-side preview is as easy as pressing the key.

Terminology problems

Searching for such a solution on Google proofed hard:

  • "Preview" will yield results about thumbnail support.
  • "Side by side" will yield results about displaying multiple locations side-by-side.
  • "Side by side preview" will mostly yield results about authoring tools (e.g. LaTeX and Markdown editors).

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