How to List Directory Content ( ls command)
In Linux, to list out all the files of a directory or subdirectory, we can use
ls command. This is the most commonly used command that every Linux user uses. We will learn about this command in detail with the available options and examples.
- If we use
lscommand without any arguments it lists the files and directory in the current working directory.
lscommand is also available in the EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) shell.
- In other environments, such as DOS (Disk Operating System) and Microsoft Windows similar functionality is provided by the
- The output of the
lscommand is colored whereas
dircommand is not colored.
The general syntax of the ls command
The following is the syntax of the ls command in Linux.
ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...
Linux ls command Options
The following is a brief description of the options available with the ls command.
|-a, --all||It is used to show hiding files.|
|-A, --almost-all||do not list implied . and . .|
|-author||It is used to print the author information of each file.|
|--block-size=SIZE||It is used to set scale size before printing.|
|-B, --ignore-backups||It is used to ignore the listing of backup files.|
|-F, --classify||It is used to append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries.|
|--file-type||It is used to set file type.|
|-i, --inode||It is used to print the index number of each file.|
|-r, --reverse||It is used to list files in reverse order while sorting.|
|-R, --recursive||It is used to list subdirectories recursively.|
|--help||It is used to display help for the ls command.|
|--version||It is used to print version information of the ls command.|
Example: lists the contents of a directory
In this example, the
ls command displays the list of files and directories.
Example: lists hidden contents of directories
In this example, we are using
ls -a or ls --all command that displays all files included hidden files ( files start with . or .. are hidden files or directory).
Example: Display the author of each file with ls command
In this example, we are using the ls command with the -author option that prints the author of each file with permission. We can also check it for any specific file using
ls -author <file name>.
Example: list the contents of directories excluding backup files
In this example, we excluded backup files (files ends with ~ sign) by using
ls -B option in the ls command. We can also use
ls --ignore-backups to filter the backup files.
Example: Use of append indicator with ls command
In this example, ls -F or --classify command classifies files into their types.
- '/' sign indicates a directory.
- '*' sign indicates an executable.
- '@' sign indicates a symbolic link.
- '%' sign indicates a whiteout.
- '=' sign indicates a socket.
- '|' sign indicates a FIFO.
Example: List Subdirectories Recursively
If a directory contains several subdirectories and we want to list out all the subdirectories and their content then -R option can be used along with the ls command. See the command below.
$ ls -R
In this tutorial, we covered how to list directory contents in the Linux operating system using the ls command with available options and suitable examples. In Linux,
vdir are also available for the list out a directory and its content but for other purposes. We will discuss these later in our next tutorial.