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


color the output WHEN; more info below

−d, −−directory

list directories themselves, not their contents

−D, −−dired

generate output designed for Emacs' dired mode


list all entries in directory order

−F, −−classify[=WHEN/]

append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries WHEN


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


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 file system 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), width


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


end each output line with NUL, not newline


list one file per line


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.

The WHEN argument defaults to 'always' and can also be 'auto' or 'never'.

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(1) 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 any translation bugs to <>



Full documentation <>

or available locally via: info '(coreutils) ls invocation'


Copyright © 2022 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.