find

File

Name

Search for a file named “foobar.txt” starting in the current folder:

find . -name foobar.txt

Search for a file named “foobar.txt” in “/usr”:

find /usr -name foobar.txt

Extension

Case insensitive search from “/” for all files with an mp3 extension:

find / -iname "*.MP3"

Note: Placing quotes around the search criteria avoids issues with wildcard characters and is probably a good habit to get into. Could use a back-slash instead of the quotes… e.g:

find . -iname \*pillow\*

Size

Find files that are over a gigabyte in size:

find ~/Movies -size +1024M

Type

Find only files:

find . -type f

To count the number of files in a folder and sub-folders, see Tips.

Folder

Find only directories (d):

find . -type d
find . -type d -name keydir

…to look for others (files, links, or sockets), just substitute f, l or s for the d in the command above.

Time

Accessed

Files accessed within the last 60 minutes:

find -amin -60

files accessed more than 60 minutes ago:

find -amin +60

Modified

Files modified within the last 10 minutes:

find -mmin -10

There are also day versions of these arguments:

  • -atime: when the file was last accessed.

  • -ctime: when the file’s permissions were last changed.

  • -mtime: when the file’s data was last modified.

Find all files in /etc owned by root that have been modified within the last day:

find /etc -user root -mtime -1

User

Find all files that belong to a certain user:

find . -user daniel

Also works for groups (-group).

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Combining Arguments

You can also combine arguments using and, or, and not. By default if you use two different arguments you are and ing them. If you want to use “or” you give the -o option, and if you want to get everything except something, you use the ! option.

Find only regular files, owned by daniel, that are also jpg images:

find . -user daniel -type f -name "*.jpg"

Now do the same, but exclude anything named autumn:

find . -user daniel -type f -name "*.jpg" ! -name "autumn*"

Exec

This command searches ../a-folder/ for files modified within the last 10 minutes and passes the full path of each file to the ls command:

find ../a-folder/ -mmin -10 -exec ls -la {} \;

../a-folder/

run the find command in this folder.

-mmin -10

Modified within the last 10 minutes.

-exec

Carry out the following command on each file.

ls -la

The command to run for each file.

{}

Substituted with the full path name of the selected file.

\;

Terminate the command (the ; is escaped).

Note:

-exec command {} +

This variant of the -exec action runs the specified command on the selected files, but the command line is built by appending each selected file name at the end.

xargs