Linux "ls" Command with Examples

In Linux, the command "ls" is one of the most commonly used. It's used to display a list of files and sub-directories in the current directory. If you're new to using the command line, the first command you should learn is probably ls.This command can be used by both regular users as well as system administrators.

The ability to view what files are in a directory is what makes ls so important. It will be used frequently to display directory contents. Although it is not a complicated command, it does come with a number of options for listing files with additional information. Even while ls is always enough to list contents, you're likely to find a few of these options highly handy.

Linux Command "ls" options

A Linux command has the following basic syntax:

ls [ Options ] [File]

Following are some frequently used options in Linux ls commands:

Options Description
ls -a list all files including hidden file starting with '.'.
ls -d list directories - with ' */'.
ls -l list with long format - show permissions.
ls -F Append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries.
ls -lh This command will show you the file sizes in human readable format.
ls -r list in reverse order.
ls -i list file's inode(index) number.
ls -ltr View Reverse Output Order by Date.
ls -t sort by time & date.
ls -n It is used to print group ID and owner ID instead of their names.
ls -m A list of entries separated by commas should fill the width.
ls -g This allows you to exclude the owner and group information columns.
ls -q Force printing of non-graphic characters in file names as the character `?';.
ls -Q Place double quotations around the entry names.

Basic examples of Linux ls command

Here, we will look at the basics of ls command examples in a Linux environment with all the available options.

1.The 'ls' command is used to list files and directories.

The contents of your current working directory, which is just a technical way of stating the directory that your terminal is presently in, will be listed if you run the "ls" command without any further options.

Linux Command ls

2. Display the hidden files and directories:

Use the -a option of the ls command to show hidden files and directories in the current directory.

ls -a

The files that start with the dot are hidden (.). The current directory (.) as well as the parent directory (..) are displayed by "ls -a".

Linux Command ls -a

3. Display complete information about the files:

The "ls -l" option displays the contents of the current directory in a long listing format, one per line. The line begin with the file or directory permission, owner and group name, file size, created/modified date and time, file/folder name as some of the attributes.

ls -l
Linux Command ls -l

4. Classify the files with special characters:

The ls command categorises the files using the -F parameter. It signifies, Directories that ends with a slash (/), Files that can be executed with a trailing asterisk (*), Symbolic links with a trailing at the rate symbol (@), FIFOs with a trailing vertical bar (|), and
Regular files that contain nothing.

ls -F

5. Display File Index Number:

For internal purposes, you may need to know the index number of a file. To display the index number, use the "ls -i" option. You can remove files with special characters in their names by using the index number.

ls -i
Linux Command ls -i

6. View Last Edited File:

The most recently modified file is displayed first as the file is sorted by modification time. Use the ls and head commands together to access the most recently edited file in the current directory.

ls -t

ls -t | head -1
Linux Command ls -t

7. Display File Size in Human Readable Format :

Another frequent ls option is -h or -human-readable and -h should be used with -l and -s to print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.. This will display the file sizes in human-readable format rather than bytes.

ls -lh

When you use ls -lh, it will display the entire information about the file or directory name and when you use ls -sh it will display only the size and the filename or directory name.

Using ls -lh:

Linux Command ls -lh

Using ls -sh:

Linux Command ls -sh

8. Display Reverse Output Order by Date:

In the above command l argument is used for long listing format, t argument sorts all the files and directories based on the modification time and lists the newest first, and r argument is used to reverse the sorting order.

ls -ltr

As a result, the ls -ltr command long lists all the directories and file names by sorting the modified date in reverse order.

Linux Command ls -ltr

9. List all the files and directories in reverse order:

The option "ls -r" lists all files and directories in reverse order. The files and directories are all arranged in reverse alphabetical order.

ls -r
Linux Command ls -r

10. List UID and GID of files and directories:

The "ls -n" command displays the UID (User ID) and GID (Group ID) of each file and directory, one per line. A typical user and group (UID and GID) have 1000, but the root UID and GID have zero.

ls -n
Linux Command ls -n

11. List the files and directories separated by a comma:

The "ls -m" command displays all files and directories separated by a comma.

ls -m
Linux Command ls -m

12. List all the files and directories without the owner details:

The "ls -g" option is similar to the "ls -l" option, however the '-g' option skips the file and directory owner details.

ls -g
Linux Command ls -g

13. Display the Sub-directories without other files:

This "ls -d */" command can be used to display only the sub-directories and hide all other files.

ls -d */
Linux Command ls -d */"

14. Display Version of ls command:

By using this "ls --version" command, you can check the version of ls command.

ls --version
Linux Command ls --version

15. Display ls command Help page:

By using this "ls --help", you can a guide for ls command. It has more options. Some of them are given below for the reference.

ls --help
Linux Command ls --help


In this article, Some of the options for the ls command are listed above  with the examples. It is one of the simplest command in linux. Even if you are familiar with this commands, you might not be familiar with all of the specified circumstances.

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Sindhu is a Content Writer at Atatus. She's a lifelong learner with a curiosity to learn new things.

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