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find command in Linux with examples

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The find command in UNIX is a command line utility for walking a file hierarchy. It can be used to find files and directories and perform subsequent operations on them. It supports searching by file, folder, name, creation date, modification date, owner and permissions. By using the ‘-exec’ other UNIX commands can be executed on files or folders found. 


$ find [where to start searching from]
[expression determines what to find] [-options] [what to find]


  • -exec CMD: The file being searched which meets the above criteria and returns 0 for as its exit status for successful command execution.
  • -ok CMD : It works same as -exec except the user is prompted first.
  • -inum N : Search for files with inode number ‘N’.
  • -links N : Search for files with ‘N’ links.
  • -name demo : Search for files that are specified by ‘demo’.
  • -newer file : Search for files that were modified/created after ‘file’.
  • -perm octal : Search for the file if permission is ‘octal’.
  • -print : Display the path name of the files found by using the rest of the criteria.
  • -empty : Search for empty files and directories.
  • -size +N/-N : Search for files of ‘N’ blocks; ‘N’ followed by ‘c’can be used to measure the size in characters; ‘+N’ means size > ‘N’ blocks and ‘-N’ means size < ‘N’ blocks.
  • -user name : Search for files owned by username or ID ‘name’.
  • \(expr \) : True if ‘expr’ is true; used for grouping criteria combined with OR or AND.
  • ! expr : True if ‘expr’ is false.

Examples: Consider the following tree hierarchy: @

1. Search for a file with a specific name.

$ find ./GFG -name sample.txt 

It will search for sample.txt in GFG directory. 


 Search a file with specific name 

2. Search for a file with pattern.

$ find ./GFG -name *.txt 

It will give all files which have ‘.txt’ at the end. 


 Search a file with pattern 

3. How to find and delete a file with confirmation.

$ find ./GFG -name sample.txt -exec rm -i {} \; 

When this command is entered, a prompt will come for confirmation, if you want to delete sample.txt or not. if you enter ‘Y/y’ it will delete the file. 

Output :

  find and delete a file with confirmation 

4. Search for empty files and directories.

$ find ./GFG -empty

This command finds all empty folders and files in the entered directory or sub-directories. 


 Search for empty files and directories 

5. Search for file with entered permissions.

$ find ./GFG -perm 664

This command finds all the files in the GFG directory or sub-directory with the given permissions. 


 Search for file with entered permissions 6. Displays repositories and sub-repositories

find . -type d

This command displays all the repositories and sub-repositories present in the current repository. In the below example, we are currently in a repository namely “GeeksforGeeks” which contains a repo “Linux”, which contains sub-repo “LinuxCmds” which further contains a repo “FindCmd”. The ouput of below cmd is simply displaying this info. Please note that in this case if you will use “ls” cmd then it will only show “/Linux”.



7. Search text within multiple files.

$ find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" -exec grep 'Geek'  {} \;

This command print lines which have ‘Geek’ in them and ‘-type f’ specifies the input type is a file. 


 Search text within multiple files


Last Updated : 25 Aug, 2023
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