ChromaFiler is a file manager utility with a unique interface, borrowing ideas from Spatial file managers and Miller Column browsers and taking inspiration from the classic Mac OS Finder.

An animation demonstrating folder navigation using ChromaFiler

It functions similar to a column-view browser, but each column can be broken off into its own window by dragging and dropping. You can use it as a popup menu docked to your taskbar for quickly locating a file, or as a complete replacement for Windows File Explorer (and Notepad). More about the design.

ChromaFiler works on Windows 7 through 11.

Sequence of ChromaFiler windows for each version of Windows


Check the Releases page for the latest beta release. See installation instructions for additional information.

ChromaFiler is still in development, so be sure to turn on the auto update check feature so you’ll be notified of new releases.


See the wiki for an introduction to the app.


Building requires MSVC and the Windows 10 SDK (install through the Visual Studio Installer; I’m using VC++ 2017 and SDK 10.0.17763.0), as well as Visual Studio Code for running build scripts. The installer is built using NSIS. (You will need to clone all submodules.)

VS Code must be launched from the “x64 Native Tools Command Prompt” (or equivalent for your platform) to access the correct MSVC build tools, which can be found by searching the Start menu. Type code in this prompt to launch VS Code. Open the ChromaFiler directory, then open src/main.cpp and press Ctrl+Shift+B to build the app in the Debug configuration.

Suggested pairings

If you find ChromaFiler useful, please consider donating to support development.

Contact me

For questions / feedback / bug reports please email me