Find command: Exclude or Ignore Files (e.g. Ignore All Hidden .dot Files )

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How do I ignore all hidden .dot files while searching for files using the find command? How do I ignore or exclude certain files while running Linux or UNIX find command?

The find command support standard UNIX regex to match, include or exclude files. You can write complex queries easily with regex while find command recursively descends the directory tree for each /file/to/path listed, evaluating an expression. The syntax is as follows:


## Basic syntax ##
find /dir/to/search/ -options -name 'regex' -action
find /dir/to/search/ -options -iname 'regex' -action
find /dir/to/search/ -type f -name 'regex' -print
find /dir/to/search/ -type f -name \( expression \) -print
## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ##
## The -and operator is the logical AND operator                          ## 
find /dir/to/search/ -type f -name 'expression -and expression' -print
## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ##
## The -or operator is the logical OR operator.  The expression evaluates ##
## to true if either the first or the second expression is true.          ##
find /dir/to/search/ -type f -name 'expression -or expression' -print

Examples: find command and logical operators

Find any file whose name ends with either ‘c’ or ‘asm’, enter:
$ find . -type f \( -iname "*.c" -or -iname "*.asm" \)
OR find all *.conf and text file in /etc/ directory:
$ find . -type f \( -name "*.conf" -or -name "*.txt" \) -print
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Linux find command exclude files command
Fig.01: Linux find command exclude files command

The parentheses must be escaped with a backslash, “\(” and “\)“, to prevent them from being interpreted as special shell characters. The -type f option force to only search files and not directories. The -or operator either find .c or .asm file.

Understanding find command operators

Operators build a complex expression from tests and actions. The operators are, in order of decreasing precedence:

( expr )Force precedence. True if expr is true
expr -not expr
! expr
True if expr is false. In some shells, it is necessary to protect the ‘!’ from shell interpretation by quoting it.
expr1 -and expr2 expr2 is not evaluated if expr1 is false.
expr1 -or expr2 expr2 is not evaluated if expr1 is true.
WARNING! The ‘-or’, ‘-and’, and ‘-not’ operator are not available on all versions of find. Usually GNU find supports all options. Refer your local find command man page for more information.

How do I ignore hidden .dot files while searching for files?

Find *.txt file but ignore hidden .txt file such as .vimrc or .data.txt file:
$ find . -type f \( -iname "*.txt" ! -iname ".*" \)
Find all .dot files but ignore .htaccess file:
$ find . -type f \( -iname ".*" ! -iname ".htaccess" \)

Say hello to -path option

This option return true if the pathname being examined matches pattern. For example, find all *.txt files in the current directory but exclude ./Movies/, ./Downloads/, and ./Music/ folders:

cd $HOME
find . -type f -name "*.txt" ! -path "./Movies/*" ! -path "./Downloads/*" ! -path "./Music/*" 
## add -ls option to get ls -l kind of output ##
find . -type f -name "*.txt" ! -path "./Movies/*" ! -path "./Downloads/*" ! -path "./Music/*" -ls

Sample outputs:

./Desktop/Bills-PDF/receipt-05-OCT-14 10-08 AM.txt
./Desktop/Bills-PDF/wufoo/Give Us Feedback for nixCraft.txt
./Desktop/untitled 4.txt

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


18 comment

  1. can you help me?
    I need to find all files older than 500 days.

    this is my code so far and I get an error saying -iname is not a valid option.

    find . -type f \( ! -iname ".*" \) -mtime +500 -exec ls {} \;
  2. i have some issue
    having a directory LOG. in that so many files and directories are there. i want to find and delete the file which starts with PS. but it should not check sub directories.

  3. I have to delete the files modified yesterday so I can keep only today files (which I download daily ) in current directory how do I do that ?

  4. Is there a way to get a list of “.c” files and grep the contents only in those files for a keyword?

    I tried
    find . -type f \( -iname “*.c” \) |grep -i -r “keyword”

    It seems like grep is still going through all the files and not just the “.c” files.

  5. How can i find a last 5 min created file in a folder not the sub folder like.

    i serach a file inside folder /home/pankaj but not in /home/pankaj/test/test1

    1. You can not check creation time but you can check for last change like this:

      find /home/pankaj -maxdepth 1 -cmin -5 -type f

      The “-maxdepth 1” keeps find from looking in subfolders but will check the subfolder itself, that’s why you use “-type f” to only look for files, “-cmin” specifies the minutes since last change, use +5 to get files older than 5 min.

  6. Hi Pankaj, i was faced same issue, i search on internet and found this article, its really helpful, i succeed that with Long Path Tool, you can try

  7. In find command i am not entered file name, so it’s showing error message.

    Eg: find . -name

    error like “parameter not entered”

    I want to discard this error

    I used the Error handling method like “2>/dev/null
    then also error is showing.

    if any one knows reply me.

  8. find . -size +20M -type f \( ! -iname "*.ppm" ! -iname "*.pic" ! -iname "*.v" \)

    The above command can show all files with greater than 20 Mega Bytes and not having following extension .ppm, .pic, .v

  9. Hi,
    Am trying to find some files which are created 6 months ago Or 180 days back. and delete all, but except the files which contains “1545” in the filename any help please.
    I could able to fine all the files but could not able to exclude them
    find . -type f -not -name .* -mtime +180 -exec ls {} \;

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Found solution
      find . -type f ! -iname "*1545*" -not -name .* -mtime +180 -exec rm -f {} \;

      all because of your examples above.

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