Linux / UNIX List Just Directories Or Directory Names

How do I list just directory names on a Linux and UNIX-like operating systems? How can I list directories only in Linux?

Linux or UNIX-like system use the ls command to list files and directories. However, ls does not have an option to list only directories.
Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss)
Root privileges No
Requirements None
Time 1m
You can use combination of ls command and grep command to list directory names only. You can use the find command too. In this quick tutorial you will learn how to list only directories in Linux or UNIX.

Display or list all directories in Unix

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

Or better try the following ls command only to list directories for the current directory:
$ ls -d */
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: List Directories in Unix and Linux Systems

Linux list only directories using ls command

Run the following ls command:
ls -d */

Listing only directories using ls command in Linux or Unix-like systems

Linux Display or list only files

Type the following command to display list only files in Linux or Unix:
$ ls -l | egrep -v '^d'
$ ls -l | egrep -v '^d'

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

Task: Create bash shell 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 -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 -d */'
#alias ldir="ls -l | egrep '^d'"

Save and close the file in vim. Now just type lf – to list files. Again run ldir to list directories only:
$ cd /etc
$ lf

Sample outputs:

-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

Sample outputs:

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
....
.....
.

Use find command to list either files or directories on Linux

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

Pass the -maxdepth 0 to limit listing to the starting-points i.e. the current working directory only:
find /path/to/dir -maxdepth 1 -type d
find . -maxdepth 1 -type d
find . -maxdepth 1 -type d -ls

Listing only directories using the find command in Linux

Putting it all together

Say you want to find all directories ending with .bak extension and delete it, run the following find command in the current directory:
find . -type d -iname ".bak" -delete
Verify it:
find . -type d -iname ".bak" -ls
The following shell script does two things for Apache/Nginx/Lighttpd Webroot such as /webroot/:

  1. First, finds all files and directories and set permission to read-only for security reasons.
  2. Second, it allows our web server to read files regardless of permission so that we don’t get an HTTP/403 error.

In other words, all write permissions are removed from Webroot. The server/web-app can only read files but can not alter any files or upload any files. It helps reduces attack surfaces provided that you configure the rest of the server and web application firewall correctly.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Purpose: Remove all write permissions from Apache/Nginx WebRoot. Make it read-only
# Author: Vivek Gite {https://www.cyberciti.biz} under GPL v2.0+
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
_dp="0445" #dir read-only and allow nginx/php/perl-cgi to read it
_fp="0444" #file read-only
_dir="$1"
_user="www-nixcraft"
_group="www-nixcraft"
_chown="/bin/chown"
_chmod="/bin/chmod"
_find="/usr/bin/find"
_xargs="/usr/bin/xargs"
 
# die if $_dir not found
[ $# -eq 0 ] && { echo "Usage: $0 dirname"; exit 1; }
 
# Get base and dir names from arg
_dn="$(dirname $_dir)"
_bn="$(basename $_dir)"
 
# Avoid working on / 
[ "$_dn" == "$_bn" ] && { echo "$0: Sorry, can't work on root path."; exit 1; }
 
# Let us get started 
if [ -d "$_dir" -o -e "$_dir" ]
then
	echo "Chowning $_dir to $_user:$_group ..."
	$_chown -R $_user:$_group "$_dir"
 
	echo "Setting $_dir perm to $_fp ..."
	$_chmod -R $_fp "$_dir"
 
	if [ -d "$_dir" ] 
	then
		echo "Allowing php/perl/our webserver to read files in all subdirs..."
		$_find "$_dir" -type d -print0 | $_xargs -0 -I {} $_chmod $_dp "{}"
	fi
else
	echo "Error: $_dir not found."
fi

We can runt it as follows:
/path/to/read-only-webroot.sh /webroot/
/path/to/read-only-webroot.sh /home/httpd

Conclusion

We explained how to list the directories only using various command-line options in Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

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56 comments… add one
  • Daniel Jan 31, 2014 @ 6:36

    ls -F | grep / | tr -d /

  • Jon Jagger Dec 8, 2015 @ 17:19

    About
    ls -d */

    This works if there are some directories. But if there are no directories I get
    ls: cannot access */: No such file or directory

  • anon Feb 1, 2016 @ 18:26

    Doesn’t work

  • arob May 31, 2016 @ 15:11

    As stated above:
    ls -ld */
    Or, create an alias for above such as:
    alias lsd=”ls -ld */”
    Then, simply lsd will generate a long directory only list.

  • Vignesh Jun 5, 2016 @ 3:50

    Try this option
    ls -ld */
    or
    ls -ld <>/
    example: ls -ld test/

  • Ken Jul 21, 2016 @ 14:36

    Here’s one I use at work when we’re cleaning up data dirs past our retention period.
    We have a production mount with named paths containing a dated subdir.
    The asterisks are there to cover all our various common ‘feeds’. I need this in a report that a Window user will pickup via sftp, so I name the results .txt for their convenience.
    -d for directories
    -g displays directories first (shouldn’t be needed, but sometimes ‘file’ names wind up in my results and this seems to at least keep them together).
    -R …Recursive.

    ls -dgR /path/to/data/*/*/*2015* >> /path/to/employee/dir/DirList-2015.txt

  • Deepak Jul 22, 2016 @ 17:50

    I want see only file
    What is the command?
    Can any one tell

    • 🐧 Vivek Gite Jul 23, 2016 @ 9:36

      Try:

      ls -l | grep -v '^d'

      OR

      find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -ls | more

      OR

      find . -type f -ls | more
  • Tim Feb 14, 2017 @ 15:55

    Great information here! I’ve always wondered if there was a quick way to display just directories in UNIX. I sift through files with a lot of junk in them (in addition to other folders), and this command is money! Thanks for the info!

  • john May 9, 2017 @ 18:44

    can i automatically put it in .txt or .xls file?

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