HowTo: Linux / UNIX List Just Directories Or Directory Names

by on September 28, 2006 · 45 comments· LAST UPDATED July 5, 2010

in , ,

How do I list just directory names under Linux and UNIX operating systems?

Under Linux or UNIX use the ls command to list files and directories. However, ls does not have an option to list only directories. You can use combination of ls and grep to list directory names only.

Display or list all directories

Type the following command:
$ ls -l | egrep `^d'

Display or list only files

Type the following command:
$ ls -l | egrep -v `^d'

grep command used to searches input. It will filter out directories name by matching first character d. To reverse effect (just to display files) you need to pass -v option. It invert the sense of matching, to select non-matching lines.

Task: Create aliases to save time

You can create two aliases as follows to list only directories and files.
alias lf="ls -l | egrep -v '^d'"
alias ldir="ls -l | egrep '^d'"

Put above two aliases in your bash shell startup file:
$ cd
$ vi .bash_profile

Append two lines:
alias lf="ls -l | egrep -v '^d'"
alias ldir="ls -l | egrep '^d'"

Save and close the file.

Now just type lf - to list files and ldir - to list directories only:
$ cd /etc
$ lf

Output:

-rw-r--r--   1 root root      2149 2006-09-04 23:25 adduser.conf
-rw-r--r--   1 root root        44 2006-09-29 05:11 adjtime
-rw-r--r--   1 root root       197 2006-09-04 23:48 aliases
-rw-------   1 root root       144 2002-01-18 13:43 at.deny
-rw-r--r--   1 root root       162 2006-09-22 23:24 aumixrc
-rw-r--r--   1 root root        28 2006-09-22 23:24 aumixrc1
....
..
....

List directory names only:
$ cd /etc
$ ldir
Output:

drwxr-xr-x   4 root root      4096 2006-09-22 16:41 alsa
drwxr-xr-x   2 root root      4096 2006-09-20 20:59 alternatives
drwxr-xr-x   6 root root      4096 2006-09-22 16:41 apm
drwxr-xr-x   3 root root      4096 2006-09-07 02:51 apt
drwxr-xr-x   2 root root      4096 2006-09-08 01:46 bash_completion.d
....
.....
.

find command

The find command can be used as follows to list all directories in /nas, enter:

find /nas -type d
find /nas -type d -ls
find . -type d -ls

Sample outputs:

1070785    8 drwxrwxrwt   8 root     root         4096 Jul  5 07:12 .
1070797    8 drwx------   2 root     root         4096 Jul  4 07:22 ./orbit-root
1070843    8 drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./w
1070789    8 drwxr-xr-x  10 root     root         4096 Jun 17 14:54 ./b
1071340    8 drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./b/init.d
1071581    8 drwxr-xr-x   3 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./b/bind
1071584    8 drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./b/bind/bak
1071617    8 drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./b/fw
1071628    8 drwxr-xr-x   8 root     root         4096 Jun 16 18:55 ./b/scripts
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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eric April 26, 2007 at 1:07 pm

To get just file names without the long list data:

ls -l | grep ‘^d’ | awk ‘{ print $9 }’

Or

for foo in *; do if [ -d $foo ]; then print -n ” $foo”; else false; fi; done

Reply

2 Lingerance September 18, 2007 at 7:39 am

find . -type d -maxdepth 1

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3 mysurface September 21, 2007 at 12:15 am

ls -d */

or for hidden directories
ls -d .*/

Reply

4 Diogo May 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm

nice!

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5 nixCraft September 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for contributing all other tips :)

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6 Vinayak September 26, 2007 at 5:56 am

Thanks a lot for nice recipe… :-)

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7 Michel Roig October 1, 2007 at 2:48 pm

To get just the subdirectories names

find . -type d -maxdepth 1 -exec basename {} \;

However, in this case you also get the directory itself! To avoid this, add mindepth 1:

find . -type d -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 -exec basename {} \;

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8 Eugenio November 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm

For some reasons on FAT fs

ls -d */

is not working. But this works on any filesystem:

ls -d ./*/

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9 Suresh M January 4, 2008 at 10:52 am

echo */

Reply

10 Al January 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm

mysurface — you are the man!

Reply

11 biodafes January 21, 2009 at 1:18 am

(folders)
ls -F | grep /
(files)
ls -F | grep -v /

Reply

12 Mahantesh Biradar January 30, 2009 at 5:13 am

Lists all the subdirectories in the current directory..

ls -R | grep ./

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13 Gareth Reeman May 1, 2009 at 6:19 pm

can some1 please help me i need to know what the significant effects are of the following characters in unix filenames. 2 dots / 1 dot / tilde or “squiggle”
..
.
~

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14 nixCraft May 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

. Current directory
.. Parent directory
~ Your home directory

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15 Dennis Quek May 5, 2009 at 7:35 am

Can you just list the directories name, without the permission, datetime, and etc … ?

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16 kopla May 8, 2009 at 10:22 am

Thanx, nice post. I was just thinking of doing it with awk but couldnt get the wildcard working. Now I am one step ahead in my shell knowledge ^^
To Dennis Quek above :
A rather dirty solution but does the job.

ls -l | egrep ‘^d’ | awk ‘$1=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “‘| awk ‘$1=” “‘| awk ‘$1=” “‘

(forgive me if seeing this code gives someone a heart attack, all i can say is that I’m still learning :P )
I would love if someone can give my code a neater look :)

Reply

17 Ashish June 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

A cleaner Recipe for the same using AWK :

ls -l | egrep ‘^d’ | awk ‘{ print $9}’

another alternate is bit clumsy :

ls -l | egrep ‘^d’ | awk ‘$1=” “,$2=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “,$2=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “,$2=” “‘ | awk ‘$1=” “,$2=” “‘

Another Simpler and Faster way out to get the Desired result :

ls -l|grep ‘^d’

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18 kopla May 8, 2009 at 10:34 am

oops! didnt read the other comments. Already many nice solutions have been posted :P

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19 jagan June 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm

i used to the $ du command to retrieve all directory names.
$ du

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20 Aditya July 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

> i used to the $ du command to retrieve all directory names.
Jagan,
du is used to calculate Disk Usage. I want to know did you tweak this command to display directory listing in pwd. Please explain.

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21 anon October 7, 2009 at 6:36 pm

$ /bin/ls -l | grep “^d” | cut -d’ ‘ -f8
it’s a neat trick on linux systems.

i’m using /bin/ls and not ls because it may be aliased

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22 Amit Nagwanshi October 20, 2009 at 5:30 am

one can list directory i simple and easy way by :
1. ls -ltr | grep -e d
2. ls -ld */
3. du

third one is the most easiest way. :-)

Reply

23 Amr October 23, 2009 at 7:58 am

I tried with both GNU ls and BSD one and the best option is as someone else posted above:

ls -ld */

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24 Mohammed asif December 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

i renamed a directory name with a space in between the directory name within GUI(Graphical User Interface)
which is allowed and now in the shell prompt i.e. in the terminal command mode i want to enter the directory which has a space in between but it does not allows to enter into that directory it says “INVALID DIRECTORY”
is their any alternative solution or trick to enter into the directory with the name having space.please explain
the directory name is “file data”
i tried with — $cd file data but it didnt work out.

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25 Sirdude February 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm

nice stuff!

i learned a lot from the original post, but the comments are a treasure trove!

one thing about the original post, you have a back tick instead of a single quote in the 1st two snippets
ls -l | egrep `^d’ for example should be ls -l | egrep ‘^d’ for the copy / pasters

thanks again ;)

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26 newbee1 March 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

if you wanted to pull a date from the directory to only list files from datea/timea through dateb/timeb (say March 2 at 6:00 AM to March 8 at 6:00 AM) and move into a new file the output, how is this accomplished? I tried this but no output
#!/bin/bash
FILES=’ls -A1′
OUTFILE=”c:/temp/RRDfilesinrange.txt”
STARTDATE=’date –utc –date “2010-02-27 06:00:00″ %s’
ENDDATE=’date –utc –date “2010-03-02 06:00:00″ %s’
cd C: temp/tsfr-complete
for f in $FILES
do
if [ -f $f ]; then
FDATE=’stat -c “%Z” $f’
if [ $FDATE -ge $STARTDATE ]; then
if [ $FDATE -le $ENDDATE ]; then
‘echo $f >> $OUTFILE’
fi
fi
fi
done

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27 Davis April 27, 2010 at 2:17 am

How do you get the directory listing to display only: the file name, the user that owns the file and that user’s permissions?

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28 balarajangeetha August 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

//Mohammed asif December 9, 2009
is their any alternative solution or trick to enter into the directory with the name having space.please explain//
did you try
cd “file data”
or
cd ‘file data’
( i.e. directory name with double quotes or single quote)
you yourself have given the hint :-)

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29 danio August 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

@Davis:
ls -l | awk ‘{ print $1,$3,$9 }’

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30 Volomike October 8, 2010 at 2:53 am


alias ldir="ls -d -1 */ | tr -d '/'"
ldir

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31 dccrowley February 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

works :)) Thanks

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32 alireza October 21, 2010 at 8:20 am

Hello.
I would like to do some batching in my linux but I couldn’t find any way of initializing an array containing folder’s location information. In short, I have data in two folders located at:
/home/alireza/Desktop/DTIBetula101019/B2509.30
/home/alireza/Desktop/DTIBetula101019/B2509.50

and I want to make an array following by a loop to do some specific command inside each folder seprately like this:

fn_list= (‘/home/alireza/Desktop/DTIBetula101019/B2509.30′,’/home/alireza/Desktop/DTIBetula101019/B2509.50′)

for fn in ${fn_list}
do
cd $fn
fsl4.1-fslmerge -t big4D 2501.45-DTI1-s007 2501.45-DTI2-s008 2501.45-DTI3-s009
done

can anybody help me to figure out how to specify an array that can pointed to a folder which can be reused during a for loop?

Thanks
/Alireza

Reply

33 asl.marc January 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm

alias lsdir=’ls -d ./*/ | cut -d / -f 2′

lsdir

for i in `lsdir` ; do du -ks $i; done

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34 SilversleevesX September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Commenting on Eric’s ls | grep | awk combination:
Cygwin (1.7.9) displays 8, not 9, fields in

    ls -l

.

So change his “awk ‘{print 9}’” to awk ‘{print 8}’ and you’ll get more than a bunch of deadspace in mintty.

Just in case it wasn’t already obvious. *S*

BZT

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35 Ramesh Kumar J May 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

ls -lrt | grep /

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36 Prasad June 30, 2012 at 6:32 am

From all the above I feel the best way is …

ls -ld */

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37 James Friedman October 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thank you for a very helpful and useful post – much appreciated… – James

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38 Adrian April 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

A sed version:

ls -F1 | grep ‘/’ | sed ‘s/\///’

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39 Nageswara Rao Orsu May 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

ls -d */ or ls -ld */ (Use these commands to display only directories in current user)
cd /etc
ls -ld */ ( Use these two commands to display only directories for all users including root)

Reply

40 mammy boy May 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm

list of directories:
ls -alp /

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41 nn June 28, 2013 at 3:10 am

alias lsd=’ ls –color=always -ld */ | tr -d / ‘

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42 seb August 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

It’s already been said but
ls -d */
works best for me, very simple and obvious.

Reply

43 jimbo August 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

alias dir=”ls -l | grep ‘^d’ | awk ‘{print \$9}’”

Reply

44 Ashish K Bajpai October 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I know many good options are available but one more variation using tr & cut:

ls -l /var|egrep ‘^d’|tr -s ‘ ‘|cut -d’ ‘ -f9

Reply

45 Daniel January 31, 2014 at 6:36 am

ls -F | grep / | tr -d /

Reply

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