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Why to use exa instead of ls on Linux

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  • Last Updated : 28 Jul, 2021
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exa is a modern replacement for the file-listing command-line program ls which is used on operating systems like Linux, UNIX, and macOS.exa gives more features and uses colors to differentiate the files and metadata.

Features of exa

  • All the colors: Different types of files and data will be colored differently, and the user and group columns will be highlighted for the current user.
  • All the information: exa displays a file’s extended attributes, as well as standard file system information such as the inode, the number of blocks, and a file’s various dates and times.
  • It is fast: exa queries files in parallel, giving you performance on par with ls.
  • Tree view: exa gives a standard tree tool, and it shows files’ information alongside the hierarchy.
  • Git support: View the staged and upstaged status of every file, right there in the standard view. Also, it works in a tree view for a high-level overview of your repository.

Now let’s see how to install the exa on different systems.

Installation of exa

  Use the following command according to the system to install exa:

For macOS :

brew install exa

For Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install exa

For Fedora:

sudo dnf install exa

For Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S exa

Alternatively, if you already have a Rust environment set up, you can use the cargo install command:

cargo install exa

Now we have installed exa. Now let’s see how to use exa. To use exa,  just use exa command as follows:


Now let’s explore the options provided by exa.

Options by exa

List one entry per line

When we use -1 or -oneline option, exa displays one entry per line.

exa -1

List Files With Meta Data

When we use -l or –long : option, exa displays extended details and attributes of files.

exa -l

List Content Of Directory In Tree-Like Format

When we use -T or –tree option,exa recurse into directories as a tree.

exa -T

Display icons of files

To show icons of the file, use –icons option:

exa --icons

Display hidden dot files

To show all the hidden and ‘dot’ files use -a or -all option

exa -a

Display directories

To show only directories use -D options

exa -D

To find out more about exa, you can read the man page of exa and visit to GitHub page of exa.

man exa

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