In this post we will look at the linux find command and how to search and find files with different attributes.

Linux find Command

The Linux find command is a built in powerful tool that can be used to locate and manage files and directories based on a wide range of search criteria.

For example, we can find files by their name, extension, size, permissions, etc. We can also use the find command to search for a particular text inside a file which we don’t know the name of.

Let’s see some usage of the find command with examples:

Searching for a file by name

If you know the name of a file but can’t remember the directory it’s in you can use the following command from the root directory:

find . -name sales.csv

Sample output:


Searching for a specific file in a directory

If you want to search for specific file(s) in a directory, we can use:

find ./test -name testCases*

Sample output:


In the above case, we are only searching within the “./test” directory.

Find files by extension

To search and find files by a certain extension we use:

find . -name *.jpg

Sample output:


Find files or directories with certain names

To find only files, we need to use the -f option:

find ./ -type f -name "results*"

Sample output:


To find only directories, we need to use the -d option:

find ./ -type d -name "results*"

Sample output:


Find files in multiple directories

If you want to search and list all files with a given name in multiple directories you can either start the search at root folder, or if you know the directories, you can specify them.


find ./test ./logs -name failed*.* -type f

Sample output:


Find files containing a certain text

Sometimes you want to find a file and you don’t know its name, but you know it has a certain text inside it.

You can use:

find ./test -type f -exec grep -l -i "login_scenarios" {} ;

Here, the -i option is used to ignore case, so Login_Scenarios and login_scenarios will both be found.

Find files by size

We can even find files by different sizes. Size options are:

  • c bytes
  • k kilobytes
  • M Megabytes
  • G Gigabytes

For example to find files on an exact size we use:

find / -size 10M

And to find files which are greater than a certain size, we use:

find ./test -size +2M

The above will find all the files which are greater than 2MB in the ./test folder.

Find and delete specific files

To find and delete specific files we use:

find . -type f -name "temp*" -exec rm {} ;


In this article you learned about how to use the linux find command to search for files based on name, extension, size and type.