20 Basic ‘ls’ Command Examples in Linux

Introduction

The ‘ls’ command is one of the most commonly used commands in Linux. It is used to list the contents of a directory. It is a very powerful command that can be used to perform a variety of tasks. In this article, we will discuss 20 basic ‘ls’ command examples in Linux. We will cover how to list files and directories, how to sort the output, how to display hidden files, and more. We will also discuss some of the more advanced options available with the ‘ls’ command. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of how to use the ‘ls’ command in Linux.

20 Basic ‘ls’ Command Examples in Linux

1. List all files in the current directory:

$ ls

2. List all files in the current directory, including hidden files:

$ ls -a

3. List all files in the current directory, including hidden files, in long format:

$ ls -al

4. List all files in the current directory, sorted by size:

$ ls -S

5. List all files in the current directory, sorted by time:

$ ls -t

6. List all files in the current directory, sorted by extension:

$ ls -X

7. List all files in the current directory, sorted by reverse alphabetical order:

$ ls -r

8. List all files in the current directory, sorted by modification time:

$ ls -lt

9. List all files in the current directory, sorted by access time:

$ ls -lu

10. List all files in the current directory, sorted by inode number:

$ ls -i

11. List all files in the current directory, sorted by group:

$ ls -g

12. List all files in the current directory, sorted by user:

$ ls -u

13. List all files in the current directory, sorted by blocks:

$ ls -s

14. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file type:

$ ls -F

15. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in human readable format:

$ ls -lh

16. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in kilobytes:

$ ls -lk

17. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in megabytes:

$ ls -lm

18. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in gigabytes:

$ ls -lg

19. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in terabytes:

$ ls -lt

20. List all files in the current directory, sorted by file size in petabytes:

$ ls -lp

Listing files is one of the most widely undertaken tasks by ordinary Linux users and system administrators. In Linux, the ls command, short for “list” is used to list or display the contents of a directory.

This could either be your current directory or any other directory on the system. The command displays both files and subdirectories and in most cases distinguishes between different file types using color codes.

Without any command-line options, the ls command will simply list all the directory contents. However, it provides an array of handy command-line options to manipulate the output and display the desired output.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the basics of ls command examples with all the available various command options that it provides in Linux.

ls Command Options in Linux

The ls command takes the following syntax:

$  ls [ options ] /path/to/directory

The options section represents the command-line arguments that can be passed to manipulate the output of the command.

In this tutorial, we will cover the following ls command arguments.

Options Description
ls -m Lists directory contents separated by a comma.
ls -Q Displays directory contents enclosed by quotation marks.
ls -l Displays files in a long-list format.
ls -lh Display file size in a human-readable format.
ls -g Omits group ownership column.
ls -F Adds a forward slash to directories.
ls -i Display inode number of files and directories.
ls -a Display all files including hidden files.
ls *. Filters files according to the file extension.
ls -la Displays all files and directories in long list format.
ls -R Display files and directories recursively.
ls -r Sort Files in reverse.
ls -X Sort files alphabetically by file extension.
ls -tl Display files according to file creation date and time.
ls -n List UIDs and GIDs.

1. List Files and Directories in Linux

Running ls command without passing any command-line options or arguments, the ls command simply lists the directory contents in alphabetical order. Here we won’t be able to view details like file types, size, modified date and time, permission and links, etc.

$ ls
List Directory Contents in Linux
List Directory Contents in Linux

2. Long Listing of Files in Linux

The -l command option lets you print out detailed information about the directory contents in a columnar format that includes size, modified date and time, file or directory name and owner of the file, and its permission.

$ ls -l
Long Listinig of Files in Linux
Long Listing of Files in Linux

Starting from the far left, we have:

  • 1st column – File/directory permissions.
  • 2nd column – Number of links.
  • 3rd column – Name of the owner.
  • 4th column – Name of the group that the file belongs to.
  • 5th column – File size in bytes.
  • 6th column to 8th column – Last modification date.
  • 9th column – File / Directory name.

3. List Hidden Files and Directories

Hidden files are special files that store user settings and configuration files, which are used by running programs and services for reading and storing information.

For example. the .bashrc file is a script that contains user settings and configurations of the currently logged-in user, which include command aliases, shell history, the coloring of the terminal font, etc.

The .bash_logout file is executed when you log out of your bash sessions. It’s mainly used for cleanup purposes i.e. carrying out any operations that need to be performed once you exit the bash shell.

To list hidden files, pass the -a option as shown, which displays both hidden files and directories.

$ ls -a
List Hidden Files on Linux
List Hidden Files on Linux

4. List All Files in Linux

As you have noticed the -a option not only lists hidden files but all the files and directories. For better viewing, you can use the -la option

$ ls -la
List All Files in Linux
List All Files in Linux

5. Display File Size in a Human-readable Format

To present the output in a better format, add the -h flag to print the file size in a human-readable format. From the output, the file size is displayed in Kilobytes, Megabytes, and Gigabytes. By all means, this looks more presentable.

$ ls -lh
Linux ls Command File Size Formatting
Linux ls Command File Size Formatting

6. Distinguish Directories and Files in Linux

When running the ls command, it’s not always easy to make a clear distinction between files and directories. The -F option adds a forward slash (/) to directories, making it easier for them to stand out from the rest of the files.

$ ls -F
Distinguish Directories and Files in Linux
Distinguish Directories and Files in Linux

7. Sorting Files in Reverse Order

By default, the ls command sorts files and directories alphabetically (From A – Z). You can opt to sort the directory contents in reverse order using the -r option.

$ ls -lr 
Sort Files in Reverse Order in Linux
Sort Files in Reverse Order in Linux

In addition, you can sort the file extensions alphabetically using the -X flag.

$ ls -X

8. List Files Recursively in Linux

The -R flag lists files recursively. First, the command lists all the files and directories in your current directory, then proceeds to display files contained in individual directories and subdirectories.

$ ls -R

In the following example, the files in individual directories have been listed as well.

List Files Recursively in Linux
List Files Recursively in Linux

9. Sort Files By Modification Time in Linux

The ls -ltr command shows the files in the long listing format in reverse sorted by modification time, which means it will display detailed information about each file or directory in reverse order based on their last modified date/time stamp.

$ ls -ltr
Sort Files By Modification Time in Linux
Sort Files By Modification Time in Linux

10. Sort Files By Newest to Oldest in Linux

You can sort files by time and date using the -t option, which sorts the files in order starting from the newest to the oldest.

$ ls -tl
Sort Files By Newest in Linux
Sort Files By Newest in Linux

11. Sort Files by File Size in Linux

With a combination of -lS option, it will displays file size in descending order (biggest to smallest in size).

$ ls -lS
List Files By Size in Linux
List Files By Size in Linux

12. List File Inode Number in Linux

You can display the files and directories’ inode numbers using the -i option as shown.

$ ls -i
Print File Inode Number in Linux
Print File Inode Number in Linux

13. List Files and Directories Separated by Commas

The -m flag lists the directory contents one after the other separated by a comma.

$ ls -m

With the -Q flag, all the directory contents are enclosed by double quotation marks as shown.

$ ls -Q
List Files Separated by Commas in Linux
List Files Separated by Commas in Linux

14. Omit Group Ownership in a Long-List Format

When used with the -l command option, the ls command prints both user and group ownership of the file. You can opt to omit the group column by passing the -g option.

$ ls -g
List Files Without Group Owner in Linux
List Files Without Group Owner in Linux

15. List Specific File Types or Extensions

To list specific file types or extensions, use the wildcard notation (*) followed by the file extension.

For example, to display all files with a .jpg extension, run the command:

$ ls *.jpg

Similarly, to list all PDF files, run the command:

$ ls *.pdf
List Files By Extension in Linux
List Files By Extension in Linux

16. List the UID and GID of Files

To display the UID and GID of files and directories, use the -n option as shown.

$ ls -n
Print UID and GID of Files
Print UID and GID of Files

17. Check ls Command Version

If you are a little curious and want to check the version of the ls command, you can do so as follows:

$ ls --version

From the output, you can see that we are running ls version 9.1.

Check ls Command Version
Check ls Command Version

18. Show ls Command Help Page

The ls program provides a wealth of command-line options. What we have covered are just some of the commonly used ones. For a comprehensive list of all the command options, run the following command:

$ ls --help
View ls Command Help
View ls Command Help

Optionally, you can visit the man pages by running:

$ man ls
ls Command Manual
ls Command Manual

19. List Directory Information in Linux

With the ls -l command list files under directory /tmp. Wherein with -ld options, it will display information of the /tmp directory.

$ ls -l /tmp
$ ls -ld /tmp/
Print Directory Info in Linux
Print Directory Info in Linux

20. Create ls Command Aliase

We have made an alias for the ls command when we execute the ls command it will take the -l option by default and display a long listing as mentioned earlier.

$ alias ls="ls -l"

To view a number of aliases available in your system, use the below alias command and the same can be unalias as shown below example.

$ alias

To remove an alias previously defined, just use the unalias command.

$ unalias ls
Create ls Command Alias
Create ls Command Alias

In this guide, we have demonstrated how to use the ls command to view the contents of a folder or directory. In addition, we went a step further and explored command options that can be used with the ls command in Linux.

In our next article, we’ll cover more advanced ls commands with their examples. Also, I suggest you go through some interview questions on the ls command, and also if we’ve missed anything in the list, please update us via the comment section.

20 Basic ‘ls’ Command Examples in Linux

The ‘ls’ command is one of the most frequently used commands in Linux. It is used to list the contents of a directory. It is a very powerful command and can be used in many different ways. In this article, we will look at some of the basic ‘ls’ command examples in Linux.

1. List Files in a Directory

The most basic use of the ‘ls’ command is to list the files in a directory. To do this, simply type ‘ls’ followed by the directory name. For example, to list the files in the current directory, type ‘ls’ without any arguments.

2. List Files in Long Format

The ‘ls -l’ command will list the files in a directory in long format. This will show the file permissions, owner, group, size, date, and filename. This is useful for getting detailed information about the files in a directory.

3. List Directories Only

The ‘ls -d’ command will list only the directories in a directory. This is useful for quickly seeing which directories are present in a directory.

4. List Hidden Files

The ‘ls -a’ command will list all the files in a directory, including hidden files. Hidden files are files that start with a dot (.). This is useful for seeing all the files in a directory, including configuration files.

5. List Files by Time

The ‘ls -t’ command will list the files in a directory sorted by time. This is useful for quickly seeing which files were recently modified.

6. List Files by Size

The ‘ls -S’ command will list the files in a directory sorted by size. This is useful for quickly seeing which files are taking up the most space.

7. List Files Recursively

The ‘ls -R’ command will list the files in a directory and all its subdirectories. This is useful for quickly seeing all the files in a directory tree.

8. List Files with Color

The ‘ls –color’ command will list the files in a directory with color. This is useful for quickly distinguishing between different types of files.

9. List Files with Human Readable Sizes

The ‘ls -h’ command will list the files in a directory with human readable sizes. This is useful for quickly seeing the size of files without having to do any calculations.

10. List Files with Inode Numbers

The ‘ls -i’ command will list the files in a directory with their inode numbers. This is useful for quickly seeing the inode numbers of files.

11. List Files with Block Sizes

The ‘ls -s’ command will list the files in a directory with their block sizes. This is useful for quickly seeing the block sizes of files.

12. List Files with File Types

The ‘ls -F’ command will list the files in a directory with their file types. This is useful for quickly seeing the file types of files.

13. List Files with Access Rights

The ‘ls -l’ command will list the files in a directory with their access rights. This is useful for quickly seeing the access rights of files.

14. List Files with Group Information

The ‘ls -g’ command will list the files in a directory with their group information. This is useful for quickly seeing the group information of files.

15. List Files with User Information

The ‘ls -u’ command will list the files in a directory with their user information. This is useful for quickly seeing the user information of files.

16. List Files with Links

The ‘ls -L’ command will list the files in a directory with their links. This is useful for quickly seeing the links of files.

17. List Files with File Sizes

The ‘ls -s’ command will list the files in a directory with their file sizes. This is useful for quickly seeing the file sizes of files.

18. List Files with File Ages

The ‘ls -t’ command will list the files in a directory with their file ages. This is useful for quickly seeing the ages of files.

19. List Files with File Names

The ‘ls -N’ command will list the files in a directory with their file names. This is useful for quickly seeing the names of files.

20. List Files with File Descriptions

The ‘ls -D’ command will list the files in a directory with their file descriptions. This is useful for quickly seeing the descriptions of files.

jassweb logo

Jassweb always keeps its services up-to-date with the latest trends in the market, providing its customers all over the world with high-end and easily extensible internet, intranet, and extranet products.

Contact
Jassweb, Rai Chak, Punjab, India. 143518