Basic Information

Marta is a dual-pane file manager. Most of the time you work with two directory panes placed side-by-side. It allows you to do the basic file operations such as copying or moving files in a fast and efficient way, because you can see both source and target directories, and you can copy or move files directly, without copy-pasting it.

One of the panes is active; it means that you can move its cursor using the arrow keys and navigate through the directory tree. The other pane is inactive. You can switch the active/inactive panes using the Tab key.

The active pane is the source, the other (inactive) pane is usually the target. When you run the Copy action, files from the active pane are copied to the inactive pane.

Marta is keyboard-centric: most of the operations are done using the keyboard. All key bindings are configurable. You can read how to set the hotkeys in the Key bindings section.

Core Functionality

Use "Up" and Down to navigate the file list.
Press ↵ Return to open the file (or enter the directory) and ⌫ Backspace to return to the parent directory. Read the Open section for more information about opening files.

Of course, files can be also opened by double-clicking on them, as in Finder. And you can use the breadcrumbs above the file list to navigate to any of the parents of the current directory.

Quick Select

The Quick Select feature allows you to select files by typing its names. Just type the first letters of the name and the first file whose name matches is selected automatically. Use ↑ Up and ↓ Down to navigate to other matched files. Press ⎋ Esc to cancel the Quick Select.

By default, names match by word boundaries, but you can also match against a regular expression or a substring. To match against a regexp, start your filter text with the / symbol. In the case of a substring, start it with \.

🐧 You can change the default word-matching to the prefix-matching.
See behavior/quickSelect/matchOnlyPrefix.


Some actions, such as Copy, allow you to apply it to several files at once. You can select items using the and keys. The selected files are normally highlighted (although it makes little sense, you can create a custom theme and disable the highlighting).

Press ⎋ Esc to remove the selection.


Operations in Marta are called actions. They can be bind to the keyboard shortcuts or run from the Actions Panel (⌘⇧P) or Action Bar.

Action panel

Each action has its range of applicability. Some of the actions, such as Show favorites, can be run everywhere while other actions are available only in a particular context. For example, Edit file can be run only if at least one file is selected.

Action Bar

Actions also can be accessed via the action bar that is located below the panes.

The action bar is visible by default. You can hide it by changing the behavior/actionBar/show value to false. Also, you can change the shown actions (setup/actionBar).


Marta supports multiple pane tabs. Press ⌘T to open the new tab, ⌘W to close the tab (or close the window if only one tab is present).

🐧 You can quickly switch between the tabs using the ⌘1..⌘9 hotkeys.

You can clone the current tab to the left (⌘←) or to the right (⌘→).

Display Modes

There are two display modes available: table and multi-column (1, 2, 3 columns). Use the Display mode action to switch the mode for the current pane.

Multi-column view

Operation queue

All continuous file operations are queued and executed in sequence. You can find the overall progress bar in the top-right corner of each window. The operation queue is shared across all open windows.

Click on a progress bar to open the queue popup. There you can see the progress for each operation, and pause/resume or cancel any of them.

Operation queue

Operation queue is designed to be fully accessible with a keyboard. Press = to open the queue. Operation list can be scrolled with the arrow keys, Space or P pauses the selected operation, A or D aborts it.

Using From Command Line

You can call Marta from the terminal:

marta . to open the current directory in Marta;
marta some ~/other to open two different directories (./some and /Users/<name>/other) side by side.

How to set up the Terminal integration:

File Operations


Press ↵ Return to enter the directory, open a file or start an application.

If you want to select the application to open the file in, use the ⌘↵ hotkey, or run the “Open with…” action. A menu of the relevant applications wll appear.

🐧 ⌘↵ can also be used for opening the application packages or bundles.

New File or Directory

Press F7 to create the new directory.
Press ⇧F7 to create an empty file.


Press F5 to copy the selected files to the target directory.
Press F6 to move the files.

If no files are selected, the file under the cursor is copied/moved. If the directory already exists, Marta asks you if it should replace or merge the existing directory.


Press ⇧F6 to rename the file or directory.


Press F8 to move the selected files/directories to the Trash.

Press ⇧F8 to delete the file.

⚠️ Files are deleted permanently and you won’t be able to restore them. Please move the files to the Trash if you feel you may need to restore them later.

🐧 You can disable the confirmation dialog: behavior/actions/core.delete.confirm
for the Delete action and behavior/actions/core.trash.confirm for the Trash action.


Press F4 to edit the text file. Press ⇧F4 to open the current directory in the text editor.

🐧 You can configure the text editor (environment/textEditor). Marta supports Sublime Text, Atom, Visual Studio Code, macvim and many other popular editors. Just specify the application name without the .app extension suffix, and that’s it.


Press ⌘Y to show the Preview for the file or directory.

🐧 Preview displays the directory size for directories.

Look up

Look up is a Spotlight functionality built into Marta. You may think of it as the system-global version of Quick Select.

Look up action

There are two versions of the action: Look up (⌘P) searches globally, while Look up here (⌘⌥P) limits results to the current directory contents. By default, it displays all directories whose name is matched by the prefix. If you want more, use these prefixes:

f:Include files in search results
@:Search by a substring (instead of a prefix)
^:Match by a prefix (if you enabled substring search by default)
t:Search in a document title
a:Search in a document author metadata
c:Search in a file content

For example, if you want to search for music by Smokie, enter a:smokie. Look up also supports path search: f:frameworks/appkit will display you “appkit*” files inside a Frameworks/ directory.

Look up also understands absolute paths (paths starting with /). It even supports completion for them so you can use Look up instead of Go to path for the local file system.

⚠️ Look up uses the Spotlight caches which may not be available for some directories (such as a user-local ~/Library).

Get Info

Press ⌘I to open the “Get info” window.


Press ⌥2 to show the favorites menu. Press ⇧F3 to add the current directory to favorites.

Edit Favorites

Run the Edit favorites action using the Actions panel. If you use the action regularly, it may be convenient to bind it (core.edit.favorites) to some hotkey.

Edit favorites opens the embedded Marco configuration editor. Marta comes with a few default favorite entries:

Home "~"
Downloads "${user.downloads}"
Documents "${user.documents}"
Desktop "${user.desktop}"
Library "${user.library}"
Applications "${system.applications}"

A key is a favorite entry name – it can be an identifier or a string. Value is an absolute path of the directory.

"My music" "${user.documents}/Music"

You can use the following path variables:


Specify an empty path to add a separator:

Separator0 ""

To create a submenu, just replace the path with a nested object:

Media {
    Music "${}"
    Movies "${user.movies}"

Advanced Features

Archive support

Marta supports a list of archive formats out of the box:

You can open archives just as regular directories. You can even open (and edit) nested archives. Edit action watches if the opened file is modified, and changes the archive automatically.

Embedded terminal

Marta has an embedded terminal called etty. The terminal window is shown under the status bar; each pane has its own pty session.

Press Cmd+O to open the terminal. Then you can quickly switch between it and your file list by pressing the same hotkey. If you want to hide etty, press Cmd+Alt+O. It’s easy to remember: Cmd+O changes focus, and Cmd+Alt+O toggles visibility.

🐧 Even being hidden, the shell process is still running. Press Ctrl+D if the shell is not needed anymore.

You can configure the terminal theme, font and environment variables in conf.json. Refer to the default configuration file (Open default configuration action) to see all available options.

The session’s current directory is two-way synchronized with the pane’s directory. You can disable this behavior in conf.json. Note that the current directory won’t be changed for the nested shells, including ssh sessions. This behavior is intentional.

There are a number of other configuration options available for etty, including setting environment variables, copy on selection and text dimming. The reasonable defaults for all of them are provided in the default configuration file. Check it out for more information.


DirStat allows you to find large files or directories in a particular place.

Run “DirStat: Analyse directory structure” action, and Marta calculates the size of each directory including its subdirectories. Note that it if you enter some directory for which an occupied space is already calculated, you do not need to rerun the action.


You can create custom actions (gadgets) that run external tools. There are two types of gadgets available:

🐧 Gadgets are regular actions. They have an action identifier, and you can bind hotkeys to them.

Adding an application launcher

Gadgets are configured in conf.json.

gadgets [
        id "gadget.action.identifier"
        name "Action name"
        type "application"
        application "Application Name"
        "files" [ "${active.selection.paths}" ]

You can use state variables in files. Here is the list of available variables:

Variable nameDescription
${active.selection.paths}Selected item paths (active pane) (*)
${active.selection.names}Selected item names (active pane) (*)
${inactive.selection.paths}Selected item paths (inactive pane) (*)
${inactive.selection.names}Selected item names (inactive pane) (*)
${current.file.path}Current file path (active pane)
${}Current file name (active pane)
${active.dir.path}Current directory path (active pane)
${inactive.dir.path}Current directory path (inactive pane)
${user.home}User home directory

Variables with a star mark (*) can be mapped to several arguments (in case if several files are selected).

Adding a command line executor

gadgets [
        id "gadget.action.identifier"
        name "Action name"
        type "executable"
        executable "/usr/bin/git"
        args [ "arg1" "arg2" ... ]

You can use state variables in args (the variables are the same as in application launchers).

Other Actions


Press ⌥1 to open the Volumes menu.

Recent Directories

Press ⌥3 to open the Recent directories menu.

🐧 You can clean the list by running the Clean recent directories action.


Press ⌥0 to open the Hierarchy menu, the “keyboard version” of breadcrumbs.

Go to Path

Press ⌘G to open the Go to path window.

🐧 Go to path supports completion. Press Tab to show the completion menu.

Copy the Path

Press F12 to copy the absolute path of the current directory.
Press ⌘F12 to copy the absolute path(s) of the selected files.

Toggle Hidden Files

Press ⌃H to show/hide the hidden files.

Open the Terminal

Press F11 to open the terminal in the current directory.

🐧 You can configure the default terminal application (environment/terminal). Marta supports iTerm and Terminal.

Reveal in Finder

Run the Reveal in Finder action from the Actions panel. You can also bind the action to some hotkey using its identifier (

Configuring Marta

Configuration Files

Marta has two configuration files: conf.marco and favorites.marco. These files are placed inside the ~/Library/Application Support/org.yanex.marta directory. Marta uses the Marco configuration format. You can think of it like a simplified JSON.

Configuration files
conf.marcoCurrent theme, behavior settings, key bindings.
Run the Preferences action to open the preferences editor. Its left pane contains the default configuration values, and the right pane is for customization.
favorites.marcoFavorite items.
Run the Edit favorites action to open the favorites editor.

Key Bindings

You can change the default key bindings by editing the keyBindings configuration section.

🐧 You can unblock letter-only key bindings if you deactivate the behavior/quickSelect/activateOnAnyCharacter preference. However, you will have to press / each time you use Quick Select.

Here is how you can configure the Right arrow key to open the selected directory and Left to go up:

keyBindings {
    "Left" { id "core.go.up" }
    "Right" { id "" }

core.go.up and are the action identifiers. You can find them right in the Action panel Cmd+Shift+P: just hold the Alt key, and the identifiers will be shown.

Action arguments

Several Marta actions allow you to specify its arguments right in the configuration file.

Action nameArguments
DirStat: Analyze directory structuresrc – directory to analyze
Compresssrc – source files, target – target directory
Create symbolic linksrc – file to make a symlink for, target – symlink path
Editsrc – files to edit
Open editor heresrc – directory to open
Eject disksrc – directory to eject
Unmount volumesrc – directory to unmount
Hierarchysrc – directory to open
Navigate to original filesrc – symlink path
Navigate to original file in new tabsrc – symlink path
Reveal in Findersrc – file to reveal
Sharesrc – file to share
Flattensrc – directory to open
Opensrc – files to open
Open directorysrc – directory to open
Open withsrc – files to open
Display modemodetable, 1column, 2columns, 3columns

Here is how you can bind Alt+H to open the home directory:

keyBindings {
    "Alt+H" {
        id ""
        src "~"


Marta theme can be changed in conf.marco (behavior/theme).
There are five bundled themes: Kon, Dark, Classic, Commander and Sakura.

The custom themes can be bundled with plugins or inside the ~/Library/Application Support/org.yanex.marta/Themes directory (Marta does not create it automatically).

🐧 Use the Open configuration directory for the fast access to the Themes directory.


All Marta fonts (except fonts in dialogs) can be configured (fonts).

The value is a two-element array (e.g. ["Helvetica Neue" 13]). The first element is the font name (including postfixes such as Bold or Italic), the second is the text size.

Use the “Default” font family (e.g. “Default Regular” or “Default Light”) to apply the default macOS font.


You can change the displayed columns using the “Edit columns” action. The value example: extension:50,size,added:100, when extension, size and added are column types, and the optional number on the right is the column width.

Available column identifiers:

Column typeMeaning
sizeFile size
created“Created at” date
modified“Modified at” date
added“Added at” date
extensionFile extension


By default, Marta uses the native macOS sheet dialogs. If you hate the sheet opening animation, you can switch to ordinary window dialogs. Just change the behavior/sheetDialogs value to false.

How to uninstall Marta

In case if you need to completely uninstall Marta, here is the list of paths you need to delete: