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.

-a, --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


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 ~


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 -s, print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.


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)


hyperlink file names; WHEN can be 'always' (default if omitted), 'auto', or 'never'


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


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 (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


sort by file size, largest first


sort by WORD instead of name: none (-U), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v), extension (-X)


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/date format with -l; see TIME_STYLE below


sort by time, newest first; see --time

-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). 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:


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.


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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.


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