LS(1) BSD General Commands Manual LS(1)
ls -- list directory contents
ls [-AaBbCcdFfghikLlMmnopqRrSsTtuWwx1] [file ...]
For each operand that names a file of a type other than directory, ls displays its name as well as any requested, associated information.
For each operand that names a file of type directory, ls displays the names of files contained within that directory, as well as any
requested, associated information.
If no operands are given, the contents of the current directory are displayed. If more than one operand is given, non-directory operands are
displayed first; directory and non-directory operands are sorted separately and in lexicographical order.
The following options are available:
-A List all entries except for '.' and '..'. Always set for the super-user.
-a Include directory entries whose names begin with a dot ('.').
-B Force printing of non-graphic characters in file names as xxx, where xxx is the numeric value of the character in octal.
-b As -B, but use C escape codes whenever possible.
-C Force multi-column output; this is the default when output is to a terminal.
-c Use time when file status was last changed, instead of time of last modification of the file for sorting (-t) or printing (-l).
-d Directories are listed as plain files (not searched recursively) and symbolic links in the argument list are not followed.
-F Display a slash ('/') immediately after each pathname that is a directory, an asterisk ('*') after each that is executable, an at
sign ('@') after each symbolic link, a percent sign ('%') after each whiteout, an equal sign ('=') after each socket, and a vertical
bar ('|') after each that is a FIFO.
-f Output is not sorted.
-g The same as -l, except that the owner is not printed.
-h Modifies the -s and -l options, causing the sizes to be reported in bytes displayed in a human readable format. Overrides -k and -M.
-i For each file, print the file's file serial number (inode number).
-k Modifies the -s option, causing the sizes to be reported in kilobytes. The rightmost of the -k and -h flags overrides the previous
flag. See also -h and -M.
-L For each file, if it's a link, evaluate file information and file type of the referenced file and not the link itself; however still
print the link name, unless used with -l, for example.
-l (The lowercase letter ``ell''). List in long format. (See below.) A total sum for all the file sizes is output on a line before
the long listing.
-M Modifies the -l and -s options, causing the sizes or block counts reported to be separated with commas (or a locale appropriate sepa-
rator) resulting in a more readable output. Overrides -h. Does not override -k.
-m Stream output format; list files across the page, separated by commas.
-n The same as -l, except that the owner and group IDs are displayed numerically rather than converting to a owner or group name.
-o Include the file flags in a long (-l) output. If no file flags are set, ``-'' is displayed. (See chflags(1) for a list of possible
flags and their meanings.)
-p Display a slash ('/') immediately after each pathname that is a directory.
-q Force printing of non-printable characters in file names as the character '?'; this is the default when output is to a terminal.
-R Recursively list subdirectories encountered.
-r Reverse the order of the sort to get reverse lexicographical order or the smallest or oldest entries first.
-S Sort by size, largest file first.
-s Display the number of file system blocks actually used by each file, in units of 512 bytes or BLOCKSIZE (see ENVIRONMENT) where par-
tial units are rounded up to the next integer value. If the output is to a terminal, a total sum for all the file sizes is output on
a line before the listing.
-T When used with the -l (the lowercase letter ``ell'') option, display complete time information for the file, including month, day,
hour, minute, second, and year.
-t Sort by time modified (most recently modified first) before sorting the operands by lexicographical order.
-u Use time of last access, instead of last modification of the file for sorting (-t) or printing (-l).
-W Display whiteouts when scanning directories.
-w Force raw printing of non-printable characters. This is the default when output is not to a terminal.
-x Multi-column output sorted across the page rather than down the page.
-1 (The numeric digit ``one''). Force output to be one entry per line. This is the default when output is not to a terminal.
The -B, -b, -w, and -q options all override each other; the last one specified determines the format used for non-printable characters.
The -1, -C, -g, -l, -m, and -x options all override each other; the last one specified determines the format used with the exception that if
both -l and -g are specified, -l will always override -g, even if -g was specified last.
The -c and -u options override each other; the last one specified determines the file time used.
By default, ls lists one entry per line to standard output; the exceptions are to terminals or when the -C or -m options are specified.
File information is displayed with one or more <blank> separating the information associated with the -i, -s, and -l options.
The Long Format
If the -l option is given, the following information is displayed for each file:
number of links
file flags (if -o given)
number of bytes in the file
abbreviated month file was last modified
day-of-month file was last modified
hour and minute file was last modified
In addition, for each directory whose contents are displayed, the total number of 512-byte blocks used by the files in the directory is dis-
played on a line by itself immediately before the information for the files in the directory.
If the owner or group names are not a known owner or group name, or the -n option is given, the numeric ID's are displayed.
If the file is a character special or block special file, the major and minor device numbers for the file are displayed in the size field.
If the file is a symbolic link the pathname of the linked-to file is preceded by ``->''.
The file mode printed under the -l option consists of the entry type, owner permissions, group permissions, and other permissions. The entry
type character describes the type of file, as follows:
a Archive state 1.
A Archive state 2.
b Block special file.
c Character special file.
l Symbolic link.
s Socket link.
- Regular file.
The next three fields are three characters each: owner permissions, group permissions, and other permissions. Each field has three character
1. If r, the file is readable; if -, it is not readable.
2. If w, the file is writable; if -, it is not writable.
3. The first of the following that applies:
S If in the owner permissions, the file is not executable and set-user-ID mode is set. If in the group permissions, the
file is not executable and set-group-ID mode is set.
s If in the owner permissions, the file is executable and set-user-ID mode is set. If in the group permissions, the
file is executable and setgroup-ID mode is set.
x The file is executable or the directory is searchable.
- The file is neither readable, writable, executable, nor set-user-ID nor set-group-ID mode, nor sticky. (See below.)
These next two apply only to the third character in the last group (other permissions).
T The sticky bit is set (mode 1000), but not execute or search permission. (See chmod(1) or sticky(7).)
t The sticky bit is set (mode 1000), and is searchable or executable. (See chmod(1) or sticky(7).)
The number of bytes displayed for a directory is a function of the number of dirent(3) structures in the directory, not all of which may be
allocated to any existing file.
The following environment variables affect the execution of ls:
BLOCKSIZE If the environment variable BLOCKSIZE is set, and the -h and -k options are not specified, the block counts (see -s) will be dis-
played in units of that size block.
COLUMNS If this variable contains a string representing a decimal integer, it is used as the column position width for displaying multi-
ple-text-column output. The ls utility calculates how many pathname text columns to display based on the width provided. (See
TZ The timezone to use when displaying dates. See environ(7) for more information.
The ls utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
The group field is now automatically included in the long listing for files in order to be compatible with the IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'')
chflags(1), chmod(1), stat(2), dirent(3), getbsize(3), sticky(7), symlink(7)
The ls utility is expected to be a superset of the IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') specification.
An ls utility appeared in Version 5 AT&T UNIX.
April 2, 2011 BSD