ls command: how can I get a recursive full-path listing, one line per file?

BashCommand LineFindLs

Bash Problem Overview

How can I get ls to spit out a flat list of recursive one-per-line paths?

For example, I just want a flat listing of files with their full paths:


ls -a1 almost does what I need, but I do not want path fragments, I want full paths.

Bash Solutions

Solution 1 - Bash

Use find:

find .
find /home/dreftymac

If you want files only (omit directories, devices, etc):

find . -type f
find /home/dreftymac -type f

Solution 2 - Bash

If you really want to use ls, then format its output using awk:

ls -R /path | awk '
NF&&f{ print s"/"$0 }'

Solution 3 - Bash

ls -ld $(find .)

if you want to sort your output by modification time:

ls -ltd $(find .)

Solution 4 - Bash

Try the following simpler way:

find "$PWD"

Solution 5 - Bash

Best command is: tree -fi

-f print the full path prefix for each file
-i don't print indentations


$ tree -fi

In order to use the files but not the links, you have to remove > from your output:

tree -fi |grep -v \>

If you want to know the nature of each file, (to read only ASCII files for example) try a while loop:

tree -fi |
grep -v \> |
while read -r first ; do 
    file "${first}"
done |
grep ASCII

Solution 6 - Bash

Oh, really a long list of answers. It helped a lot and finally, I created my own which I was looking for :

To List All the Files in a directory and its sub-directories:

find "$PWD" -type f

To List All the Directories in a directory and its sub-directories:

find "$PWD" -type d

To List All the Directories and Files in a directory and its sub-directories:

find "$PWD"

Solution 7 - Bash

I don't know about the full path, but you can use -R for recursion. Alternatively, if you're not bent on ls, you can just do find *.

Solution 8 - Bash

du -a

Handy for some limited appliance shells where find/locate aren't available.

Solution 9 - Bash

Using no external commands other than ls:

ls -R1 /path |
while read l; do case $l in *:) d=${l%:};; "") d=;; *) echo "$d/$l";; esac; done

Solution 10 - Bash

find / will do the trick

Solution 11 - Bash

Run a bash command with the following format:

find /path -type f -exec ls -l \{\} \;

Likewise, to trim away -l details and return only the absolute paths:

find /path -type f -exec ls \{\} \;

Solution 12 - Bash

The easiest way for all you future people is simply:


This however, also shows the size of whats contained in each folder You can use awk to output only the folder name:

du | awk '{print $2}'

Edit- Sorry sorry, my bad. I thought it was only folders that were needed. Ill leave this here in case anyone in the future needs it anyways...

Solution 13 - Bash

Don't make it complicated. I just used this and got a beautiful output:

ls -lR /path/I/need

Solution 14 - Bash

With having the freedom of using all possible ls options:

find -type f | xargs ls -1

Solution 15 - Bash

I think for a flat list the best way is:

find -D tree /fullpath/to-dir/ 

(or in order to save it in a txt file)

find -D tree /fullpath/to-dir/ > file.txt

Solution 16 - Bash

Here is a partial answer that shows the directory names.

ls -mR * | sed -n 's/://p'


ls -mR * lists the full directory names ending in a ':', then lists the files in that directory separately

sed -n 's/://p' finds lines that end in a colon, strip off the colon and print the line

By iterating over the list of directories, we should be able to find the directories as well. Still workin on it. It is a challenge to get the wildcards through xargs.

Solution 17 - Bash

Adding a wildcard to the end of an ls directory forces full paths. Right now you have this:

$ ls /home/dreftymac/

You could do this instead:

$ ls /home/dreftymac/*

Unfortunately this does not print the full path for directories recursed into, so it may not be the full solution you're looking for.

Solution 18 - Bash

If the directory is passed as a relative path and you will need to convert it to an absolute path before calling find. In the following example, the directory is passed as the first parameter to the script:


# get absolute path
directory=`cd $1; pwd`
# print out list of files and directories
find "$directory"

Solution 19 - Bash

A lot of answers I see. This is mine, and I think quite useful if you are working on Mac.

I'm sure you know there are some "bundle" files (.app, .rtfd, .workflow, and so on). And looking at Finder's window they seem single files. But they are not. And $ ls or $ find see them as directories... So, unless you need list their contents as well, this works for me:

find . -not -name ".*" -not -name "." | egrep -v "\.rtfd/|\.app/|\.lpdf/|\.workflow/"

Of course this is for the working dir, and you could add other bundles' extensions (but always with a / after them). Or any other extensions if not bundle's without the /.

Rather interesting the ".lpdf/" (multilingual pdf). It has normal ".pdf" extension (!!) or none in Finder. This way you get (or it just counts 1 file) for this pdf and not a bunch of stuff…

Solution 20 - Bash

ls -lR is what you were looking for, or atleast I was. cheers

Solution 21 - Bash

tar cf - $PWD|tar tvf -             

This is slow but works recursively and prints both directories and files. You can pipe it with awk/grep if you just want the file names without all the other info/directories:

tar cf - $PWD|tar tvf -|awk '{print $6}'|grep -v "/$"          

Solution 22 - Bash

Recursive list of all files from current location:

ls -l $(find . -type f)

Solution 23 - Bash

@ghostdog74: Little tweak with your solution.
Following code can be used to search file with its full absolute path.

sudo ls -R / | awk '
NF&&f{ print s"/"$0 }' | grep [file_to_search]

Solution 24 - Bash

I knew the file name but wanted the directory as well.

find $PWD | fgrep filename

worked perfectly in Mac OS 10.12.1

Solution 25 - Bash

The realpath command prints the resolved path:

realpath *

To include dot files, pipe the output of ls -a to realpath:

ls -a | xargs realpath

To list subdirectories recursively:

ls -aR | xargs realpath

In case you have spaces in file names, man xargs recommends using the -o option to prevent file names from being processed incorrectly, this works best with the output of find -print0 and it starts to look a lot more complex than other answers:

find -print0 |xargs -0 realpath

See also Unix and Linux stackexchange question on how to list all files in a directory with absolute path.

Solution 26 - Bash

If you have to search on big memory like 100 Gb or more. I suggest to do the command tree that @kerkael posted and not the find or ls.

Then do the command tree with only difference that, I suggest, write the output in the file.


tree -fi > result.txt

After, do a grep command in file using a pattern like grep -i "*.docx" result.txt so you not lose a time and this way is faster for search file on big memory.

I did these commands on 270GB memory that I get a file txt taken 100MB. Ah, the time that taken for command tree are 14 minutes. enter image description here


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