Linux and Unix ls command

Quick links

About ls
Syntax
Examples
Related commands
Linux and Unix main page

About ls

Lists the contents of a directory.

Syntax

ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

Description

List information about the FILEs (the current directory by default). Sort entries alphabetically if none of -cftuvSUX nor --sort is specified.

-a, --all do not ignore entries starting with ".".
-A, --almost-all do not list implied "." and "..".
--author with -l, print the author of each file.
-b, --escape print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters.
--block-size=SIZE scale sizes by SIZE before printing them. E.g., '--block-size=M' prints sizes in units of 1,048,576 bytes. See SIZE format below.
-B, --ignore-backups do not list implied entries ending with "~".
-c with -lt:, sort by and show the ctime (time of last modification of file status information); with -l:, show ctime and sort by name; otherwise: sort by ctime, newest first.
-C list entries by columns.
--color[=WHEN] colorize the output. WHEN defaults to 'always' or can be 'never' or 'auto'.
-d, --directory list directory entries instead of contents, and do not dereference symbolic links.
-D, --dired generate output designed for Emacs' dired mode.
-f do not sort, enable -aU, and disable -ls --color.
-F, --classify append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries.
--file-type similar to --classify, except do not append '*'
--format=WORD Formats according to the following: across -x, commas -m, horizontal -x, long -l, single-column -1, verbose -l, vertical -C.
--full-time like -l --time-style=full-iso.
-g like -l, but do not list owner.
--group-directories-first Group directories before files. Can be augmented with a --sort option, but any use of --sort=none (-U) disables grouping.
-G, --no-group in a long listing, don't print group names.
-h, --human-readable with -l, print sizes in human-readable format (e.g., 1K, 234M, 2G).
--si like --human-readable, but use powers of 1000, not 1024.
-H, --dereference-command-line follow symbolic links listed on the command line.
--dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir follow each command line symbolic link that points to a directory.
--hide=PATTERN do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN (overridden by -a or -A).
--indicator-style=WORD append indicator with style WORD to entry names: none (default), slash (-p), file-type (--file-type), classify (-F).
-i, --inode print the index number of each file.
-I, --ignore=PATTERN do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN.
-k, --kibibytes use 1024-byte blocks.
-l use a long listing format.
-L, --dereference when showing file information for a symbolic link, show information for the file the link references rather than for the link itself.
-m fill width with a comma separated list of entries.
-n, --numeric-uid-gid like -l, but list numeric user and group IDs.
-N, --literal print raw entry names (don't treat e.g. control characters specially).
-o like -l, but do not list group information.
-p, --indicator-style=slash append "/" indicator to directories
-q, --hide-control-chars print ? instead of non graphic characters.
--show-control-chars show non graphic characters as-is (default unless program is 'ls' and output is a terminal).
-Q, --quote-name enclose entry names in double quotes.
--quoting-style=WORD use quoting style WORD for entry names: literal, locale, shell, shell-always, c, escape.
-r, --reverse reverse order while sorting.
-R, --recursive list subdirectories recursively.
-s, --size print the allocated size of each file, in blocks.
-S sort by file size.
--sort=WORD sort by WORD instead of name: none (-U), extension (-X), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v).
--time=WORD with -l, show time as WORD instead of modification time: "atime" (-u), "access" (-u), "use" (-u), "ctime" (-c), or "status" (-c); use specified time as sort key if --sort=time.
--time-style=STYLE with -l, show times using style STYLE.

STYLE may be one of: "full-iso", "long-iso", "iso", "locale", "+FORMAT".

FORMAT is interpreted like 'date'; if FORMAT is "FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2", FORMAT1 applies to non-recent files and FORMAT2 to recent files; if STYLE is prefixed with 'posix-', STYLE takes effect only outside the POSIX locale.
-t sort by modification time, newest first.
-T, --tabsize=COLS assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8.
-u with -lt:, sort by and show access time; with -l: show access time and sort by name; otherwise: sort by access time.
-U do not sort; list entries in directory order.
-v natural sort of (version) numbers within text.
-w, --width=COLS assume screen width COLS instead of current value.
-x list entries by lines instead of by columns.
-X sort alphabetically by entry extension.
-Z, --context print any SELinux security context of each file.
-1 list one file per line.
--help display a help message and exit.
--version display version information and exit.

SIZE Format

SIZE is an integer and optional unit (example: 10M is 10*1024*1024). Units are K, M, G, T, P, E, Z, Y (powers of 1024) or KB, MB, ... (powers of 1000).

Using color to distinguish file types is disabled both by default and with --color=never. With --color=auto, ls emits color codes only when standard output is connected to a terminal. The LS_COLORS environment variable can change the settings. Use the dircolors command to set it.

Exit Status

0 Everything is OK.
1 There were minor problems; for example, could not access a subdirectory.
2 There were serious problems; for example, a command-line option could not be accessed.

Examples

ls -l

Lists the total files in the directory and subdirectories, the names of the files in the current directory, their permissions, the number of subdirectories in directories listed, the size of the file, and the date of last modification.

ls -laxo

Lists files with permissions, shows hidden files, displays them in a column format, and suppresses group information.

ls ~

List the contents of your home directory by adding a tilde after the ls command.

ls /

List the contents of your root directory.

ls ../

List the contents of the parent directory.

ls */

List the contents of all subdirectories.

ls -d */

Display a list of directories in the current directory.

ls -ltr

List files sorted by the time they were last modified in reverse order (most recently modified files last).

Please also see our explanation of the ./ and ../ directories listed in the listing of files.

Related commands

chmod — Change the permissions of files or directories.
df — Report the amount of available disk space on file systems.
diff — Identify the differences between two files.
du — Report the amount of disk space used by a file or files.
file — Determine a file's type.
stat — Display the status of a file or filesystem.
tree — List the contents of a file hierarchy visually in a tree format.