Let’s Learn A Little About The ‘dir’ Command

In today’s article, we’re going to learn about the ‘dir’ command. The ‘dir’ and ‘ls’ command are quite similar, but ‘ls’ seems to get all the press. So, today we’ll be looking at the ‘dir’ command. It will be a relatively short article (I suppose) and easy enough for new people to follow.

You’re possibly already familiar with the ‘ls’ command. I’ve written a variety of articles about ‘ls’. We’ve used ‘ls’ in numerous articles along the way. Here are a couple of ‘ls’ articles:

Some Fun With Sorting The Output Of ‘ls’
Let’s Use ‘ls’ To Sort Files By Time

Those are just a couple. WordPress, the backbone of this site, isn’t very good at searching for just two characters like ‘ls’. That’s for good reason and I’m not sure if that behavior can be changed.

Ah well… Root around and I’m sure you’ll find more. I’ve written about 300 articles and can’t possibly remember them all!

Anyhow, we’ll be using the ‘dir’ command in this article. It describes itself pretty well in the man pages, and is similar to the ‘ls’ command. It describes itself as:

dir – list directory contents

So, if you’re familiar with the ‘ls’ command, you’ll find ‘dir’ to be quite similar. I’m sure there’s a reason that both exist – I’m just not sure what that reason is, nor am I sure why both are included by default. Feel free to let me know your thoughts or theories!

Edit: See this link to see why Linux contains both.

Well then, let’s get on with it…

The ‘dir’ Command:

Well, you shouldn’t need to install anything for this article, but you will need to have an open terminal. By now, you know how to open the terminal if you’re a regular reader, but others need only press CTRL + ALT + T and their default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, let’s just start with the basics. If you just enter the ‘dir’ command it will output a list of all the visible files in that directory. It looks like:

You can also specify a directory, like:

If you want to show hidden files, you can try this:

If you want to list things in a single column, in a list format, you can just add the -l flag. This also shows the file’s permissions and modification time. So, you could try:

If you want to list files with the ‘dir’ command and to do so recursively (digging into the folders within folders), you can do that too. All you need is the -R flag. So, for example:

That’s just scratching the surface of the ‘dir’ command. There’s a whole lot more that you can do, so just try the man page for more nifty tricks  you can do with ‘dir’.

If you have any questions or nifty ‘dir’ information, please feel free to leave a comment. It’s a pretty handy command to have on hand, much like ‘ls’.

Closure:

And there you have it. You have yet another new article, this one about the ‘dir’ command. It’s not terribly complicated and it’s another tool to toss into your toolbox. You never know when you might want to use it instead of the ‘ls’ command, though they’re awfully similar.

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Some Fun With Sorting The Output Of ‘ls’

Today’s article will be relatively short and easy, as we have some fun with sorting the output of ‘ls’. It’ll be a pretty short and simple article, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Read on and learn about sorting the output of ‘ls’!

The last article I wrote was:

Some Fun With Formatting The Output From ‘ls’

This article will be remarkably similar, but isn’t about formatting the output of ‘ls’, it’s about sorting the output of ‘ls’. Yes, there is a difference! This is useful for a variety of reasons, but it’s mostly useful for viewing your files categorically. There are just a handful of sorting options, but we’ll cover them all.

Like always, it’s important to know that you should not to parse the output of ‘ls’. Parsing the output of ‘ls’ if full of risks, so you shouldn’t do it! The link explains it better than I can, and it tells you what to do instead of parsing the output of ‘ls’.

Obviously, and again, we’ll be using the ‘ls’ command. The ‘ls’ command defines itself fairly accurately as:

ls – list directory contents

So, just like the last article, there’s no real reason to make the intro longer than it needs to be. Let’s just jump right into the article.

Sorting The Output Of ‘ls’:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, you can stay right there in your /home directory, or you can ‘cd‘ into a directory of your choice – preferably one with a variety of files in it.

When you’re done picking a directory, you have the following choices:

See? I even alphabetized them for you! The list of what they do should be fairly obvious, with ls --sort=version being the most unusual and only applying to versioned files.  Also, while included, there’s not a whole lot of reason to use ls --sort=none, as that’s just the default output.

I find sorting by time to be pretty handy, as well as sorting by size. I don’t have much of a reason to use the rest, but they’re there if you need them. I figured I’d include ’em all, rather than just those that I find useful.

Closure:

There you have it, another short article! It’s also another article about the ‘ls’ command, but this time we’re sorting the output of ‘ls’. I figured I’d do this article right after the other one, mostly so that I’d remember to actually cover it. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Some Fun With Formatting The Output From ‘ls’

Today’s article will be a nice and simple one, in which we’ll have some fun with formatting the output from ‘ls’. It’s just a quick article today, as there’s no real reason to make this all that difficult. Read on, my dear readers!

While it’s true that you shouldn’t parse the output from the ‘ls’ command, you can format it to get an output that more suits your needs. You might want to do this to more easily understand the output from ‘ls’. There are a half dozen or so formatting options and we’ll show them all to you in this article. One (or more) of them might tickle your fancy.

Obviously, we’ll be using the ‘ls’ command. The ‘ls’ command describes itself like this:

ls – list directory contents

Which is exactly what it does. It’s not a very complicated command, as far as some commands go, but there are a lot of options. Like always, I highly suggest that you read the man page (man ls) to get more information than will be contained in this article.

Anyhow, I said this will be a short article, so I will just get right into the meat of the article instead of typing a bunch of additional fluff. You’re welcome!

Formatting The Output From ‘ls’:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, you can choose to view the output of ‘ls’ with a variety of formats. They’re more or less self-explanatory, so I’m just going to show them all to you. If you’re confused by any of them, try them in your terminal, which will should make it more clear.

I even made you an alphabetized list! See? I am helpful today!

So, for ls --format=across you’ll get the output spread across your screen (as much as possible). If you use ls --format=comma, the files will be separated by a comma.

Out of all of them, I tend to use ls --format=verbose more often than I use any of the other ways of formatting the output from ‘ls’. It gives me just enough information, from file modification date and time to the file’s permissions. So, out of all of them, that’s the one I’ll use most often. 

Feel free to flip through and try them all. You’re bound to find something interesting in there. The ‘ls’ command is surprisingly useful, and it’s harmless enough for you to explore it at length.

Closure:

See? I told you that it’d be a pretty short article today. I just showed you some ways of formatting the output from ‘ls’ and that’s all I’ve done. There’s no reason to make this longer than necessary. I think my readers are smart enough to take it from here, and figure out what they like most, or find the most useful.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Sort Files By Size (In The Terminal)

In today’s article, we’re going to cover something nice and simple; how to sort files by size in the terminal. This is something everyone should know, because sorting files is often a prerequisite to understanding and managing said files.

Besides, not all the articles have to be something complicated. The tagline for Linux-Tips is “Getting you up to speed!” It’s supposed to be aimed squarely at new Linux users. The problem is, many of those articles are boring to write and the 2nd largest group of readers aren’t really beginners. 

So, yeah…

Today, we’ll have a nice, basic article that tells you how to sort files by size – in the terminal. In fact, some of the more regular users may not have these commands memorized. Now’s a good time to learn ’em.

We’ll be using the ‘ls’ command for this. It is said that you shouldn’t parse the output of ‘ls’ for anything important. It’s bad practice for reasons I think I’ve touched on before. However, you can safely use ‘ls’ for this process as it’s just sorting the files by size and doing so by itself.

For those that don’t know, ‘ls’ has a ton of options. It’s a tool used to show the contents of a directory. You can use man ls to get more information about the command. We’ve previously covered:

Let’s Use ‘ls’ To Sort Files By Time

Well, today we’ll use ‘ls’ to …

Sort Files By Size:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

You might just as well stay right there in your default location – which should be your home directory. Feel free to switch to a new directory, but you really won’t need to. It’s an easy command. 

First, we’ll show the output sorted to show the largest files first:

Of course, you can reverse that sort order and show the smallest files first. To do that, you just add -r (reverse) to your flags, like so:

That command should show you files listed with the smallest ones first and that’s really all there is to this article. Well, there’s the closure section – but nobody reads those.

Closure:

And, well, this particular closure section won’t have anything truly interesting or different in it. After all, this is just a simple article that shows you how to sort files by size. ‘Snot that much more to it. ‘Snot that much more that I can add.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Let’s Use ‘ls’ To Sort Files By Time

Today’s article is going to tell you how to sort files by time while using the ‘ls’ command in the terminal. I find sorting by time is often easiest when working with a lot of files that have less-than-helpful filenames. For example, it’s nice to sort by time when I’m dealing with screenshots, knowing that I took a new screenshot that’s helpfully named something like ‘kgiii@kgiii-msi: ~-Downloads_032.png’.

It’s usually easy enough to graphically sort files by time and date. In your file manager, you might need to select list view, add the column, and then select at least one of the time options. Different GUI file managers will have different options, and may not include all possible time values stored in the file’s meta information. Speaking of screenshots, it might look something like this:

sort by modification time
In this case, arranging items by ‘modification time’ is an available option.

The file’s metadata has several time options and we can sort by those with the ‘ls’ command while in the terminal. The output of ‘ls’ is usually sorted alphabetically. It’s not terribly difficult and will help you along your Linux trails. I find it useful when picking among a large number of files.

Parsing the output of the ‘ls’ command is generally considered a bad idea. We won’t really be doing that, but this is a good time to mention it. If you don’t know why, click this link. They explain it better than I can. That’ll save some time!

Today we will learn to use ‘ls’ to sort files by a few time value stored in the file’s meta information. It’s an easy enough process and a handy tool for your growing toolbox of Linux commands.

Sort Files By Time:

Obviously, you’ll need an open terminal. You can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once you have it open, the /home/user directory is a fine choice. We won’t need to change directories – but you can. If you have a lot of screenshots saved in ~/Pictures, then you may find that directory more informative. Either way, let’s start with the basics:

This first one will show the last time the file was modified – which may be the creation date and time. That command is (the -l used in each command means use the long listing output):

You can sort by access time, sorting by the last time the file was opened. (Yes, this is all part of a file’s metadata.) To do that, you just use:

With that done, we have one more. This one shows the last time the metadata was changed for the files listed. If you were to use touch to change the last modified time, this would show when you did that. Make sense?

And there you have it! If you want to show the output in reverse order, you just use a -r flag and you can still use the -a flag to show hidden files, should you need to do something like that.

Closure:

That’s about it. You can now sort files by time. It’s a pretty handy tool and one you may find yourself using often. As mentioned above, I find it handiest (with my particular uses) when working with all the screenshots I take. I take a whole lot of screenshots. I assume I take more screenshots than most folks.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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