ls Command Examples in Linux

At some point in time, you must have used the ls command if you use UNIX/Linux systems. ls is the most commonly used command by users of UNIX/Linux and in this post, we will discuss some of the examples of the Linux command.

Suppose I want to list the files in a directory. I could enter the ls (“list”) command, which would do just that. But if I want to list the files in a particular way—say, in a way that included their sizes and modification dates—I could add a flag to the ls command.

The flag that ls uses to indicate a “long” listing (including sizes and dates) is -l. So if I enter ls -l (note the space before the flag), I get the kind of listing I want.


The syntax of the ls command is:

# ls [options] [file/directory names]

Some of the most commonly used options with the ls command are displayed in the table below:

Option Used To
-l Display long list including permissions, owner, group, size, etc.
-F Display nature of file (executable, directory etc)
-a Display all files, including “hidden” files
-H Recursively display all subdirectories
-d Display info about symbolic links
-L Display all files including symbolic links


In the Bash shell, when you execute the ls command, you may have noticed that the results sometimes appear in different colors. These colors distinguish different types of files. By default, some of the colors are:

  • Default color: Normal/text file
  • Blue: Directory
  • Sky blue: Symbolic link or audio file
  • Green: Executable file
  • Yellow with black background: Device
  • Pink: Image file
  • Red: Archive file
  • Red with black background: Broken link

ls Command Examples

1. To list the directory content:

# ls

2. To list all the directory contents:

# ls -a
# ls --all

3. To skip listing implied . and ..:

# ls -A
# ls --almost-all

4. To print the author of each file:

# ls --author -l

5. To print in specified block size:

# ls --block-size=1024

6. To skip listing entries ending with ~:

# ls -B
# ls --ignore-backups

7. To show the ctime for the files:

# ls -c

8. To list entries by columns:

# ls -C

9. To list the content in color:

# ls --color

10. To list the directory entries only:

# ls -d
# ls --directory

11. To not to sort the output:

# ls -f

13. To append the indicator:

# ls -F
# ls --classify

14. To specify the format:

$ ls --format=verbose
$ ls --format=long
$ ls --format=commas
$ ls --format=horizontal
$ ls --format=across
$ ls --format=vertical
$ ls --format=single-column
$ ls --format=context

15. To long list:

# ls --full-time

16. To list group and not the owner:

# ls -g

17. To group directories before files:

# ls --group-directories-first

18. To print in human readable format:

# ls -h
# ls --human-readable

19. To list the size in powers of 1000 and not 1024:

# ls --si

20. To follow symbolic links:

# ls -H
# ls --dereference-command-line

21. To follow each command line symbolic link that points to a directory:

# ls --dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir

22. To skip listing implied entries matching shell PATTERN:

# ls --hide=PATTERN

23. To print the index number of each file:

# ls -i
# ls --inode

24. To skip listing implied entries matching shell PATTERN:

# ls -I
# ls --ignore=PATTERN

25. To list the entries with block size of 1K:

# ls -k
# ls --block-size=1K

26. To get comma separated list of entries:

# ls -m

27. To list entries with numeric user and user IDs:

# ls -n
# ls --numeric-uid-gid

28. To print raw entry names:

# ls -N
# ls --literal

29. To skip listing group entries:

# ls -o

30. To append indicator to directories:

# ls -p
# ls --indicator-style=slash

31. To print the ? instead of non graphic characters:

# ls -q
# ls --hide-control-chars

32. To enclose entry names in double quotes:

# ls -Q
# ls --quote-name

33. To reverse order while sorting:

# ls -r
# ls --reverse

34. To list subdirectories recursively:

# ls -R
# ls --recursive

35. To print the allocated size of each file, in blocks:

# ls -s
# ls --size

36. To sort by file size:

# ls -S

37. To sort by WORD instead of name:

# ls --sort=WORD

38. To sort by modification time:

# ls -t

39. To assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8:

# ls -T
# ls --tabsize=COLS

40. To not to sort:

# ls -U

41. For natural sort of (version) numbers within text:

# ls -v

42. To assume screen width instead of current value:

# ls -w
# ls --width=COLS

43. To list entries by lines instead of by columns:

# ls -x

44. To sort alphabetically by entry extension:

# ls -X

45. To list one file per line:

# ls -1

46. To display the security context:

# ls --lcontext

47. To display security context so it fits on most displays:

# ls -Z
# ls --context

48. To display only security context and file name:

# ls --scontext

49. To display the help:

# ls --help

50. To output version information:

# ls --version