Basic Usage

Keyboard Interface

Kupfer is to the largest part a keyboard-managed interface to applications and documents.

Kupfer's default mode is the command mode: If you type a query, kupfer will search for a match in its catalog.

The arrow keys allow you to browse query matches quite naturally, going to the previous or next match, and going up and down in the subcatalogs.

In command mode, some keystrokes have special meanings:

or Space

Go to the next match

or Shift+Space

Go to the previous match

or /

Descend into an object with content


Erase a character from the query. If the query is empty, go up a level


Activate free-text mode


Put selected object on the stack ("Comma Trick")


  • Return activates the current selection: the command is executed.

  • Escape clears the current selection.

  • Tab switches between the object and the action pane.

By default you show Kupfer using the global keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Space.

See Command Keys and Accelerator Keys for more information.

Learning Habits

Kupfer remembers which objects and actions are used the most and which abbreviations you use to access them. When starting, you have to use the arrow keys at times to make it precise which object you want to find. After a few uses of that object, Kupfer will rank it higher.

The Catalog

The Catalog is the collection of objects you can access in Kupfer, such as documents and programs.

Objects in the catalog that have content, like folders, are marked with an arrow. Pressing will enter these objects. Much of the catalog is composed of subcatalogs; plugin subcatalogs do in general list objects that are also available directly from the top level. Subcatalogs can be used for a narrower view or search scope, when using Kupfer.

Most subcatalogs update their content automatically. For example, the Desktop folder source is always up-to-date.