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Understanding ls command in Linux

To list all files in a folder, open a terminal and type:



You can also specify the path as part of the ls command as follows:

ls /path/to/file

By default, files and folders are listed in a column on the screen only displays the file name.

Hidden files (files that start with a full stop) is not automatically displayed by the ls command. Instead, you must use the following command:

ls -a
ls --all

To omit it from the list of files, you can use uppercase A instead of lowercase a as follows:

ls -A
ls --almost-all

Specific commands like mv and cp command, the command is used to move and copy files and has a switch that can be used with commands to create a backup of the original file. These backup files usually end with a tilde (~).

To omit backup files (files ending with a tilde) run the following command:

ls -B
ls --ignore-backups

If you want a more detailed output you can use the following switch:

ls -l

This will provide a list showing the date and time of access, permissions, and file name, you can inode, owner, group, file size, last.

If you do not want to see the owner, instead, use the following command:

ls -g

Specify the following switch you can omit the group details.

ls -o

The list returned in most cases, folders are displayed in a color file is displayed in a different color. For example, in the Terminal folder is a blue and white files.

If you don't want to show different colors you can use the following command:

ls --color=never

Change the Output Format
By default, the output for the file listing is across the screen in columns.

You can, however, specify a format as shown below.

ls -X
ls --format=across

Show the list in columns across the screen.

ls -m
ls --format=commas

Show the list in a comma separated format.

ls -x
ls --format=horizontal

Show the list in a horizontal format

ls -l
ls --format=long
As mentioned in the previous section this shows the list in a long format.

ls -1
ls --format=single-column
ls --format=verbose

Shows all the files and folders, 1 on each row.

ls -c
ls --format=vertical
Shows the list vertically.

How to Sort the Output From the ls Command
To sort the output from the ls command you can use the --sort switch as follows:

ls --sort=none
ls --sort=size
ls --sort=time
ls --sort=version

The default is set to none which means the files are sorted by name. When you sort by size the file with the largest size is shown first and the smallest is shown last.

Sorting by time shows the file which has been accessed last first and the least accessed file last.

Incidentally, all of the above sorts can be achieved with the following commands instead:

ls -U
ls -S
ls -t
ls -v

If you want the results in the reverse sort order use the following command.

ls -r --sort=size
ls --reverse --sort=size

Thanks for being here.

Understanding ls command in Linux Understanding ls command in Linux Reviewed by Raj on November 11, 2018 Rating: 5

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