15 Basic ‘ls’ Command Examples in Linux

ls command is one of the most frequently used commands in Linux. I believe the ls command is the first command you may use when you get into the command prompt of Linux Box.

We use the ls command daily basis and frequently even though we may not aware and never use all the available ls command tricks.

[ You might also like: 5 Useful Tools to Remember Linux Commands Forever ]

In this article, we’ll be discussing the basics of ls command examples with all the available parameters in Linux.

Linux ls Command
Linux ls Command

1. List Files and Directories in Linux

Running ls command with no option list files and directories in a bare format where we won’t be able to view details like file types, size, modified date and time, permission and links, etc.

# ls

0001.pcap         Desktop             Downloads         
index.html        install.log.syslog  Pictures  
Templates         anaconda-ks.cfg     Documents           
fbcmd_update.php  install.log         Music
Public            Videos

2. Long Listing of Files in Linux

Here, ls -l (-l is a character, not one) shows file or directory, size, modified date and time, file or folder name and owner of the file, and its permission.

# ls -l

total 176
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   683 Aug 19 09:59 0001.pcap
-rw-------. 1 root root  1586 Jul 31 02:17 anaconda-ks.cfg
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Documents
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root  4096 Aug 16 02:55 Downloads
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 21262 Aug 12 12:42 fbcmd_update.php
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 46701 Jul 31 09:58 index.html
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 48867 Jul 31 02:17 install.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 11439 Jul 31 02:13 install.log.syslog
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Music
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Public
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Templates
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Videos

3. View Hidden Files in Linux

List all files including hidden files starting with ‘.‘.

# ls -a

.                .bashrc        Documents       .gconfd          
install.log      .nautilus      .pulse-cookie
..               .cache         Downloads       .gnome2          
install.log      .netstat.swp   .recently-used.xbel
0001.pcap        .config        .elinks         .gnome2_private  
.kde             .opera         .spice-vdagent
anaconda-ks.cfg  .cshrc         .esd_auth         .gtk-bookmarks   
.libreoffice      Pictures      .tcshrc
.bash_history    .dbus          .fbcmd            .gvfs            
.local              .pki         Templates
.bash_logout     Desktop        fbcmd_update.php  .ICEauthority    
.mozilla            Public        Videos
.bash_profile    .digrc         .gconf           index.html       
Music           .pulse          .wireshark

4. List Files with Human Readable Format

With a combination of -lh option, shows sizes in a human-readable format.

# ls -lh

total 176K
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  683 Aug 19 09:59 0001.pcap
-rw-------. 1 root root 1.6K Jul 31 02:17 anaconda-ks.cfg
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Documents
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root 4.0K Aug 16 02:55 Downloads
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  21K Aug 12 12:42 fbcmd_update.php
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  46K Jul 31 09:58 index.html
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  48K Jul 31 02:17 install.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  12K Jul 31 02:13 install.log.syslog
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Music
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Public
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Templates
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4.0K Jul 31 02:48 Videos

5. List Files and Directories with ‘/’ Character at the End

Using the -F option with the ls command will add the '/' character at the end of each directory.

# ls -F

0001.pcap        Desktop/    Downloads/        index.html   
install.log.syslog  Pictures/  Templates/
anaconda-ks.cfg  Documents/  fbcmd_update.php  install.log  
Music/              Public/    Videos/

6. List Files in Reverse Order in Linux

The following command with the ls -r option display files and directories in reverse order.

# ls -r

Videos     Public    Music               install.log  
fbcmd_update.php  Documents  anaconda-ks.cfg
Templates  Pictures  install.log.syslog  index.html   
Downloads         Desktop    0001.pcap

7. Recursively list Sub-Directories in Linux

ls -R option will list very long listing directory trees. See an example of the output of the command.

# ls -R

total 1384
-rw-------. 1 root     root      33408 Aug  8 17:25 anaconda.log
-rw-------. 1 root     root      30508 Aug  8 17:25 anaconda.program.log

./httpd:
total 132
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     0 Aug 19 03:14 access_log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 61916 Aug 10 17:55 access_log-20120812

./lighttpd:
total 68
-rw-r--r--  1 lighttpd lighttpd  7858 Aug 21 15:26 access.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 lighttpd lighttpd 37531 Aug 17 18:21 access.log-20120819

./nginx:
total 12
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root    0 Aug 12 03:17 access.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  390 Aug 12 03:17 access.log-20120812.gz

8. List Files and Directories in Reverse Order in Linux

A combination of -ltr will show the latest modification file or directory date as last.

# ls -ltr

total 176
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 11439 Jul 31 02:13 install.log.syslog
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 48867 Jul 31 02:17 install.log
-rw-------. 1 root root  1586 Jul 31 02:17 anaconda-ks.cfg
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Videos
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Templates
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Public
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Music
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Documents
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 46701 Jul 31 09:58 index.html
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 21262 Aug 12 12:42 fbcmd_update.php
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root  4096 Aug 16 02:55 Downloads
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   683 Aug 19 09:59 0001.pcap

9. Sort Files by File Size in Linux

With a combination of -lS displays file size in order, will display big in size first.

# ls -lS

total 176
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 48867 Jul 31 02:17 install.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 46701 Jul 31 09:58 index.html
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 21262 Aug 12 12:42 fbcmd_update.php
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 11439 Jul 31 02:13 install.log.syslog
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Documents
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root  4096 Aug 16 02:55 Downloads
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Music
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Public
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Templates
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root  4096 Jul 31 02:48 Videos
-rw-------. 1 root root  1586 Jul 31 02:17 anaconda-ks.cfg
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   683 Aug 19 09:59 0001.pcap

10. Display Inode number of File or Directory

We can see some numbers printed before the file/directory name. With -i options list file/directory with an inode number.

# ls -i

20112 0001.pcap        23610 Documents         23793 index.html          
23611 Music            23597 Templates         23564 anaconda-ks.cfg  
23595 Downloads        22 install.log         23612 Pictures  23613 Videos
23594 Desktop          23585 fbcmd_update.php     35 install.log.syslog  
23601 Public

11. Shows Version of ls Command

Check the version of the ls command.

# ls --version

ls (GNU coreutils) 8.4
Copyright (C) 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.

12. Show ls Command Help Page

The help page of ls command with their option.

# ls --help

Usage: ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

13. List Directory Information in Linux

With ls -l command list files under directory /tmp. Wherein with -ld parameters displays information of /tmp directory.

# ls -l /tmp
total 408
drwx------. 2 narad narad   4096 Aug  2 02:00 CRX_75DAF8CB7768
-r--------. 1 root  root  384683 Aug  4 12:28 htop-1.0.1.tar.gz
drwx------. 2 root  root    4096 Aug  4 11:20 keyring-6Mfjnk
drwx------. 2 root  root    4096 Aug 16 01:33 keyring-pioZJr
drwx------. 2 gdm   gdm     4096 Aug 21 11:26 orbit-gdm
drwx------. 2 root  root    4096 Aug 19 08:41 pulse-gl6o4ZdxQVrX
drwx------. 2 narad narad   4096 Aug  4 08:16 pulse-UDH76ExwUVoU
drwx------. 2 gdm   gdm     4096 Aug 21 11:26 pulse-wJtcweUCtvhn
-rw-------. 1 root  root     300 Aug 16 03:34 yum_save_tx-2012-08-
16-03-34LJTAa1.yumtx
# ls -ld /tmp/

drwxrwxrwt. 13 root root 4096 Aug 21 12:48 /tmp/

14. Display UID and GID of Files

To display UID and GID of files and directories. use option -n with ls command.

# ls -n

total 36
drwxr-xr-x. 2 500 500 4096 Aug  2 01:52 Downloads
drwxr-xr-x. 2 500 500 4096 Aug  2 01:52 Music
drwxr-xr-x. 2 500 500 4096 Aug  2 01:52 Pictures
-rw-rw-r--. 1 500 500   12 Aug 21 13:06 tmp.txt
drwxr-xr-x. 2 500 500 4096 Aug  2 01:52 Videos

15. ls command and its Aliases

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

# alias ls="ls -l"

Note: We can see a number of aliases available in your system with the below alias command and the same can be unalias as shown below example.

# alias

alias cp='cp -i'
alias l.='ls -d .* --color=auto'
alias ll='ls -l --color=auto'
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
alias mv='mv -i'
alias rm='rm -i'
alias which='alias | /usr/bin/which --tty-only --read-alias --show-dot --show-tilde'

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

# unalias ls

[ You might also like: How to Create and Use Alias Command in Linux ]

In our next article, we’ll cover up more or 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.

If you liked this article, then do subscribe to email alerts for Linux tutorials. If you have any questions or doubts? do ask for help in the comments section.

If You Appreciate What We Do Here On TecMint, You Should Consider:

TecMint is the fastest growing and most trusted community site for any kind of Linux Articles, Guides and Books on the web. Millions of people visit TecMint! to search or browse the thousands of published articles available FREELY to all.

If you like what you are reading, please consider buying us a coffee ( or 2 ) as a token of appreciation.

Support Us

We are thankful for your never ending support.

43 thoughts on “15 Basic ‘ls’ Command Examples in Linux”

  1. Please answer this question about the Unix command “ls”:

    What is the command to list the contents of a directory in Unix and Unix-like operating systems?

    Reply
  2. I was hoping to see the option to output the version information of ls, but couldn’t get a clear answer…

    Reply
  3. There are some questions that I have kept on answering for a week now and they say they are wrong…

    1: What is the option that prints the author of a file?
    My answer.

    $ ls --author -l
    

    2: What is the ls option to sort by file size?
    My answer.

    $ ls  --sort= size
    

    3: what is the ls option to list entries by lines instead of by column?
    My answer:

    $ ls -1
    

    4: What is the option to output the version information of ls?
    My answer.

    $ ls--version
    
    Reply
  4. Help Please, cay you show me coding of (The files which name were end with the letter [A-Z])- give me fast answer please i urgent need this.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to lavaca Cancel reply

Have a question or suggestion? Please leave a comment to start the discussion. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated and your email address will NOT be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.