Basic ls command in Linux with Examples

Basic ls command in Linux with Examples 1

In Linux/Unix platform 'ls' command is one of the most repeatedly used command. I am very sure, this is one of the very first command you have been trained  when you get into the shell/command prompt.

This guide will teach you how to use the various options of 'ls' command. All the below examples of 'ls' command are tested on RHEL/CENTOS 7.6.

The Global Syntax of ls command with options:

ls [OPTION] [File]

There are a lot of options available using 'ls' command, but we will be looking the most used and combined possible options only. The following tabular gives you the possible options in 'ls' command:

ls command syntax in linux

1. How to list files using 'ls' with no option?

# ls

 

Output:

anaconda                cron-20190721        glusterfs                     maillog-20190804          pluto           secure-20190730

sssd Xorg.9.log       audit                         cron-20190730          httpd                                 mariadb     ppp

Note: Using the 'ls' command with no option will simply list all files and directories. You cannot see any other information.

2. How to long list one per line to all  files and directories?

# ls -l

 

output:

Basic ls command in Linux with Examples 2Note: Using 'ls -l' option will display long listing format of  content one per line of the current directory. The line started with some characteristic of "file or directory permission, Owner and Group Name, File size, created/modified date and time, file/folder name".

3. How to list all the hidden files?

# ls -a

 

output:

ls -a command in linuxNote: 'ls -a' will list all the hidden files started with (DOT '.') format along with the normal files. In Unix/Linux all hidden files begins with the dot '.' format are marked hidden.

4. How to list Directories with '/' classification at the end?

# ls -F

 

output:

ls -F command in linuxNote: Using 'ls -F' will added '/' classification at the end of each directory. In the above example, you can see all the directories are listed with '/' sign at the end.

5. How to list all  files and directories without owner details?

# ls -g

 

output:

ls -g command in linuxNote: 'ls -g' option is similar to 'ls -l', but with '-g' option will skip the owner details of files and directories. In the above example it lists all the files without owner details.

6. How to list the index (inode) number of each File and Directory?

# ls -i

 

output:

ls -i command in linuxNote: 'ls -i' option will list the index (called inode) number of each file and directory. In the above example you can some number index/inode printed before the files and directories.

7. How to list the files and directories separated by a comma?

#ls -m

 

output:

ls -m command in linuxNote: Using 'ls -m' will display all the files and directories separated by a comma.

8. How to list UID and GID of files and directories?

# ls -n

 

output:

ls -n command in linuxNote: Using 'ls -n' option will list the UID (User ID) and GID (Group ID) of all the files and directory one per line. In the above example you can see a normal user and group (UID and GID) has 1000 whereas the root UID and GID has 0.

9. How to list all files and directories in reverse order?

# ls -r

 

output:

ls -r command in linuxNote: 'ls -r' option will list all files and directories in reverse order. In the above example you can see, all the files and directories are sorted in reverse alphabetical order.

10. How to get a recursive listing of all subdirectories?

# ls -lR

 

output:

ls -lR command in LinuxNote: Using 'ls -lR' option will long list in the tree format of all directory and sub-directories.

11. How to list the most recently modified files and folders?

# ls -t

 

output:

ls -t command in linuxNote: Option 'ls -t' will list out all the recently modified files and folder at first. In the above example you can see a folder named 'linuxteck' and a file named 'test' are listed at the first place. These two files are the newly created ones.

12. How to list the size of the files in human-readable format?

# ls -lh

 

output:

ls -lh command in linuxNote: Using 'ls -lh' option will show the size of each file in a human-readable format. Reading files in bytes may get confused instead we can read files in KB,MB,GB etc, is very easier "e.g.," To read 5782242 bytes will get confused whereas to read 5.7 M is much user-friendly.

13. How to list a particular file details?

# ls -l cron.txt

 

output:

ls -l cron.txt command in linuxNote: Using the above command, you can get the list of a particular file using 'ls -l filename' command. In the above example you can see the details of "cron.txt" file details.

14. How to list a particular directory details?

# ls -ld testing/

 

output:

ls -ld command in linuxNote: Using the above command you can get the list of a particular directory using 'ls -ld directory name' command. In the above example you can see the details of "testing" directory details.

15. How to list the files under a directory?

# ls -l Desktop/

 

output:

ls -l Desktop command in linuxNote: Using the above command, you can get the list of all the files under a particular directory. In the above example you can see all the files are listed under the Desktop directory.

16. How to list files and directories sorting by file-size?

# ls -lS

 

output:

ls -lS command in linuxNote: Using the above command will list all the files and directories sorted by file size. In the above example you can see the largest size file (lastlog) shown at the beginning of the list. If you want this list to be print in the human readable then you can use 'ls -lSh'. It will print the output file size in KB,MB,GB, etc.

17. How to list the version of ls command?

# ls --v        OR               # ls --version

 

output:

ls --version command in linuxNote: Use one of the above commands to print the version of ls command.

Please refer the manual page by using the below commands to explore in-depth

# man ls

# info ls

I hope this article will help you to learn few options of 'ls' commands in Linux! Drop me your feedback/comments and please share if you like 🙂

Thank you!

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2 Comments on “Basic ls command in Linux with Examples”

  1. Correction:
    10. How to list the most recently modified files and folders?
    Should be:
    10. How to get a recursive listing of all subdirectories.
    Note: Using ‘ls -R’ option will *short* list in the tree format of all directory and sub-directories.

    The options table needs to be updated: “-R = Short list all directories”. It might be worth mentioning that “ls -lR” produces the long list of all directory and sub-directories.

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