All the usual Emacs cursor motion commands are available in Dired buffers. The keys C-n and C-p are redefined to run dired-next-line and dired-previous-line, respectively, and they put the cursor at the beginning of the file name on the line, rather than at the beginning of the line.

For extra convenience, SPC and n in Dired are equivalent to C-n. p is equivalent to C-p. (Moving by lines is so common in Dired that it deserves to be easy to type.) DEL (move up and unflag) is also often useful simply for moving up (see Deleting Files with Dired).

j (dired-goto-file) prompts for a file name using the minibuffer, and moves point to the line in the Dired buffer describing that file.

M-s f C-s (dired-isearch-filenames) performs a forward incremental search in the Dired buffer, looking for matches only amongst the file names and ignoring the rest of the text in the buffer. M-s f M-C-s (dired-isearch-filenames-regexp) does the same, using a regular expression search. If you change the variable dired-isearch-filenames to t, then the usual search commands also limit themselves to the file names; for instance, C-s behaves like M-s f C-s. If the value is dwim, then search commands match the file names only when point was on a file name initially. See Searching and Replacement, for information about incremental search.

Some additional navigation commands are available when the Dired buffer includes several directories. See Moving Over Subdirectories.