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find command examples

··518 words·3 mins·
Tips & How-To's Applications Linux Ubuntu
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I’ve used find extensively and always wanted to writeup a nice post on this, but the linked post trumps my effort! Copy pasted from his blog, as the person’s allowed to do so. Also, as a general note - before using exec with the actual command, do preview it!

remove empty directories

# find . -depth -type d -empty -exec rmdir {} \;

change various file attributes

# find . -type f -exec chgrp users {} \;
# find . -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;
# find . -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

find all ‘iso’ files (case insensitive)

find -iname '*.iso'

example output:

Find all the file with the name ‘ruby’ in them. (starts in the current directory)


  • -name is case sensitive
  • -iname is insensitve
# find -name ruby

example output:

find all the pdf files > 10M and list their details

Note: {} stands for the file name, \; terminates the command

# find . -iname '*.pdf' -and -size +10M -exec ls -l {} \;

example output:
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 11173003 2008-11-07 06:14 ./Desktop/SecurityPlus.PDF
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 12857446 2009-04-17 13:55 ./Documents/RoR/Railspace/Railspace.pdf
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 12894140 2009-08-18 15:01 ./Documents/Calculus, Applications and Theory.pdf
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 29461154 2009-10-10 17:13 ./Documents/PDF's/Learning the vi and Vim Editors, 7th Edition.pdf
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 12857446 2009-04-17 13:55 ./Documents/PDF's/Railspace.pdf

find all txt files in current directory that contain “ruby”

find . -iname "*.txt" -print0 |xargs -0 grep ruby

find all php files in current and sup-directories that contain “legend”. list names only.

find . -iname '*.php' -exec grep -l "legend" {} \;

example output:

find all subdirs and set excutiable bit:

Note: {} stands for the file name, ; terminates the command

find * -type d -exec chmod a+x {} \;

find all extentions in subdirectories

find . -type f | sed -e 's/.*\.//' | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn

example output:
10 htm
7 jpg
4 gif
1 css

change extension of all files from .html to .htm in all subdirectoies

find . -iname "*.html" | xargs rename .html .htm {} \;

fix file permissions (e.g. after copy from usbdrive)

find . -type d -exec chmod 775 {} \;
find . -type f -exec chmod 664 {} \;

example output:
drwxrwxr-x 2 chuck chuck 4096 2010-05-05 10:21 my_directory/
-rw-rw-r-- 1 chuck chuck 300 2010-05-07 18:14 my_file.txt

find all the *.ini files in home directory but ignore hidden directories

note: -print needed to print. not sure why. maybe because of the "or" (-o)

find ~/ -type d -name "*.*" -prune -o -iname "*.ini" -print
find all *.ico files on computer but ignore directories named "win7", "share", "doc"
(note: -print is important on this. see above)

find / -type d \( -name win7 -o -name share -o -name doc \) -prune -o -iname "*.ico" -print

delete all files like ‘my_music_file 1.m4a’

find . -iname '* 1.m4a' -exec rm {} \;

Linux/Unix CLI “find” examples. « Useless Posts from Tigard.

Sathyajith Bhat
Sathyajith Bhat
Author, AWS Container Hero and DevOps Specialist.


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