man ls - ls(1) - list directory contents -

ls(1) - list directory contents

GNU coreutils 8.32, February 2022

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.

  • -a, –all
    do not ignore entries starting with .
  • -A, –almost-all
    do not list implied . and ..
  • –author
    with -l, print the author of each file
  • -b, –escape
    print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters
  • –block-size=SIZE
    with -l, scale sizes by SIZE when printing them; e.g., ‘–block-size=M’; see SIZE format below
  • -B, –ignore-backups
    do not list implied entries ending with ~
  • -c
    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
  • -C
    list entries by columns
  • –color[=WHEN]
    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
  • -f
    do not sort, enable -aU, disable -ls –color
  • -F, –classify
    append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries
  • –file-type
    likewise, except do not append ‘*’
  • –format=WORD
    across -x, commas -m, horizontal -x, long -l, single-column -1, verbose -l, vertical -C
  • –full-time
    like -l –time-style=full-iso
  • -g
    like -l, but do not list owner
  • –group-directories-first
    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 -s, print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.
  • –si
    likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
  • -H, –dereference-command-line
    follow symbolic links listed on the command line
  • –dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir
    follow each command line symbolic link
  • that points to a directory
  • –hide=PATTERN
    do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN (overridden by -a or -A)
  • –hyperlink[=WHEN]
    hyperlink file names; WHEN can be ‘always’ (default if omitted), ‘auto’, or ’never’
  • –indicator-style=WORD
    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; used only with -s and per directory totals
  • -l
    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
  • -m
    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
  • -o
    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-control-chars
    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
  • –quoting-style=WORD
    use quoting style WORD for entry names: literal, locale, shell, shell-always, shell-escape, shell-escape-always, c, escape (overrides QUOTING_STYLE environment variable)
  • -r, –reverse
    reverse order while sorting
  • -R, –recursive
    list subdirectories recursively
  • -s, –size
    print the allocated size of each file, in blocks
  • -S
    sort by file size, largest first
  • –sort=WORD
    sort by WORD instead of name: none (-U), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v), extension (-X)
  • –time=WORD
    change the default of using modification times; access time (-u): atime, access, use; change time (-c): ctime, status; birth time: birth, creation;
  • with -l, WORD determines which time to show; with –sort=time, sort by WORD (newest first)
  • –time-style=TIME_STYLE
    time/date format with -l; see TIME_STYLE below
  • -t
    sort by time, newest first; see –time
  • -T, –tabsize=COLS
    assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8
  • -u
    with -lt: sort by, and show, access time; with -l: show access time and sort by name; otherwise: sort by access time, newest first
  • -U
    do not sort; list entries in directory order
  • -v
    natural sort of (version) numbers within text
  • -w, –width=COLS
    set output width to COLS. 0 means no limit
  • -x
    list entries by lines instead of by columns
  • -X
    sort alphabetically by entry extension
  • -Z, –context
    print any security context of each file
  • -1
    list one file per line. Avoid ‘\en’ with -q or -b
  • –help
    display this help and exit
  • –version
    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). Binary prefixes can be used, too: KiB=K, MiB=M, and so on.

The TIME_STYLE argument can be full-iso, long-iso, iso, locale, or +FORMAT. FORMAT is interpreted like in date(1). If FORMAT is FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2, then FORMAT1 applies to non-recent files and FORMAT2 to recent files. TIME_STYLE prefixed with ‘posix-’ takes effect only outside the POSIX locale. Also the TIME_STYLE environment variable sets the default style to use.

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:

  • 0
    if OK,
  • 1
    if minor problems (e.g., cannot access subdirectory),
  • 2
    if serious trouble (e.g., cannot access command-line argument).


Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.

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Copyright © 2020 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.

See Also

Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) ls invocation’