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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.
, −−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


scale sizes by SIZE before printing them; e.g., ’−−block−size=M’ prints sizes in units of 1,048,576 bytes; 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/or −s, print human readable sizes (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)


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)


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


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


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


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

−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)


with −l, show times using style STYLE: full−iso, long−iso, iso, locale, or +FORMAT; FORMAT is interpreted like in ’date’; if FORMAT is FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2, then FORMAT1 applies to non−recent files and FORMAT2 to recent files; if STYLE is prefixed with ’posix−’, STYLE takes effect only outside the POSIX locale


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).

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.


GNU coreutils online help: <>
Report ls translation bugs to <>


Copyright © 2017 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.


Full documentation at: <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) ls invocation'