ls command list files and directories in Linux within the file system, and shows detailed information about them. This article will show you how to use the ls command through examples and most common
ls options. Below is the syntax of the command
ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...
When used with no options and arguments, ls displays a list of the names of all files in the current working directory
root@tryit-driven:~# ls t1.txt t2.txt
Show Detailed Information
The default output of the
ls command shows only the names of the files and directories. Use
-l ( lowercase L) option to print files in a long listing format. This format shows following information:
- Number of hard links to the file.
- Date and Time
root@tryit-driven:~# ls -la total 0 drwx------ 1 root root 38 Mar 3 13:59 . drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 172 Mar 3 13:58 .. drwxr-x--- 1 root root 6 Mar 3 13:59 .config -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 3 13:59 t1.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 3 13:59 t2.txt
The first character in the above example shows the type. Types can be one of the following
- – : Regular file
- b : Block special file
- c : Character special file
- d : Directory
- l : Symbolic link
- n : Network file
- p : FIFO
- s : Socket
The next nine characters are showing the file permissions. The first three characters are for the user, the next three are for the group, and the last three are for others. The number 1 after the permission characters is the number of hard links to this file.
The next two fields root root are showing the file owner and the group, followed by the size of the file in bytes. Use the
-h option if you want to print sizes in a human-readable format instead of bytes.
root@tryit-session:~# root@tryit-driven:~# ls -lh total 0 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 3 13:59 t1.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 3 13:59 t2.txt
Next value shows last file modification date and time. The last column is the name of the file.
By default, the
ls command is listing the files in alphabetical order.
--sort option allows you to sort the output.
- –sort=extension (or -X ) : Sort alphabetically by extension.
- –sort=size (or -S) : Sort by file size.
- –sort=time ( or -t) : Sort by modification time.
- –sort=version (or -v) : Natural sort of version numbers.
-r option to get the results in the reverse sort order.
# Sort the file by modification time root@tryit-driven:~# ls -lt /var total 4 drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 126 Mar 3 13:58 lib drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 72 Mar 3 06:16 cache drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Mar 2 08:29 opt drwxrwxrwt 1 root root 0 Feb 17 00:44 lock drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Apr 15 2020 backups drwxrwsr-x 1 root staff 0 Apr 15 2020 local drwxrwxrwt 1 root root 0 Apr 15 2020 tmp # Sort the file by modification time in reverse order root@tryit-driven:~# ls -ltr /var total 4 drwxrwxrwt 1 root root 0 Apr 15 2020 tmp drwxrwsr-x 1 root staff 0 Apr 15 2020 local drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Apr 15 2020 backups drwxrwxrwt 1 root root 0 Feb 17 00:44 lock drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 72 Mar 3 06:16 cache drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 126 Mar 3 13:58 lib
List Subdirectories Recursively
By default ls command only lists the files and directories in the top level directory. To display the contents of the subdirectories recursively use
To list all files including hidden files (starting with .), use
-a option as shown below.
-F option will add the ‘/’ character at the end of each directory.
root@tryit-glad:~# ls -a /var . .. backups cache lib local lock log mail opt run spool tmp root@tryit-glad:~# ls -aF /var ./ ../ backups/ cache/ lib/ local/ lock/ log/ mail/ opt/ run@ spool/ tmp/
Below command will show the file size in human readable format.