ls-(1) manual page


ls – list directory contents


ls [OPTION]… [FILE]…


List information about the FILEs (the current directory by default). Sort entries alphabetically if none of -cftuvSUX nor –sort is specified. Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-a, –all
do not ignore entries starting with .
-A, –almost-all
do not list implied . and ..
with -l, print the author of each file
-b, –escape
print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters
with -l, scale sizes by SIZE when printing them; e.g., ‘–block-size=M’; see SIZE format below
-B, –ignore-backups
do not list implied entries ending with ~
with -lt: sort by, and show, ctime (time of last modification of file status information); with -l: show ctime and sort by name; otherwise: sort by ctime, newest first
list entries by columns
colorize the output; WHEN can be ‘always’ (default if omitted), ‘auto’, or ‘never’; more info below
-d, –directory
list directories themselves, not their contents
-D, –dired
generate output designed for Emacs’ dired mode
do not sort, enable -aU, disable -ls –color
-F, –classify
append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries
likewise, except do not append ‘*’
across -x, commas -m, horizontal -x, long -l, single-column -1, verbose -l, vertical -C
like -l –time-style=,full-iso/
like -l, but do not list owner
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 and -s, print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.
likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
-H, –dereference-command-line
follow symbolic links listed on the command line
follow each command line symbolic link that points to a directory
do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN (overridden by -a or -A)
hyperlink file names; WHEN can be ‘always’ (default if omitted), ‘auto’, or ‘never’
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
default to 1024-byte blocks for disk usage; used only with -s and per directory totals
-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 entry names without quoting
-o       like -l, but do not list group information
-p, –indicator-style=slash
append / indicator to directories
-q, –hide-control-chars
print ? instead of nongraphic characters
show nongraphic characters as-is (the default, unless program is ‘ls’ and output is a terminal)
-Q, –quote-name
enclose entry names in double quotes
use quoting style WORD for entry names: literal, locale, shell, shell-always, shell-escape, shell-escape-always, c, escape (overrides QUOTING_STYLE environment variable)
-r, –reverse
reverse order while sorting
-R, –recursive
list subdirectories recursively
-s, –size
print the allocated size of each file, in blocks
sort by file size, largest first
sort by WORD instead of name: none (-U), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v), extension (-X)
with -l, show time as WORD instead of default modification time: atime or access or use (-u); ctime or status (-c); also use specified time as sort key if –sort=,time/ (newest first)
time/date format with -l; see TIME_STYLE below
sort by modification time, newest first
-T, –tabsize=COLS
assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8
with -lt: sort by, and show, access time; with -l: show access time and sort by name; otherwise: sort by access time, newest first
do not sort; list entries in directory order
natural sort of (version) numbers within text
-w, –width=COLS
set output width to COLS. 0 means no limit
list entries by lines instead of by columns
sort alphabetically by entry extension
-Z, –context
print any security context of each file
list one file per line. Avoid ‘\n’ with -q or -b
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

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

The TIME_STYLE argument can be full-iso, long-iso, iso, locale, or +FORMAT. FORMAT is interpreted like in date(1). If FORMAT is FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2, then FORMAT1 applies to non-recent files and FORMAT2 to recent files. TIME_STYLE prefixed with ‘posix-‘ takes effect only outside the POSIX locale. Also the TIME_STYLE environment variable sets the default style to use.

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:

if OK,
if minor problems (e.g., cannot access subdirectory),
if serious trouble (e.g., cannot access command-line argument).


Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.


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Copyright © 2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.

This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.