LS(1) BSD General Commands Manual LS(1)
ls -- list directory contents
ls [-AaBbCcdFfghikLlmnopqRrSsTtuWwx1] [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, asso-
If no operands are given, the contents of the current directory are dis-
played. If more than one operand is given, non-directory operands are
displayed first; directory and non-directory operands are sorted sepa-
rately and in lexicographical order.
The following options are available:
-A List all entries except for '.' and '..'. Always set for the
-a Include directory entries whose names begin with a dot ('.').
-B Force printing of non-printable 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
-c Use time when file status was last changed for sorting or print-
-d Directories are listed as plain files (not searched recursively)
and symbolic links in the argument list are not indirected
-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 ver-
tical 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.
-i For each file, print the file's file serial number (inode num-
-k Modifies the -s option, causing the sizes to be reported in kilo-
bytes. See also -h.
-L If argument is a symbolic link, list the file or directory the
link references rather than the link itself.
-l (The lowercase letter ``ell''). List in long format. (See
below.) If the output is to a terminal, a total sum for all the
file sizes is output on a line before the long listing.
-m Stream output format; list files across the page, separated by
-n Display the user and group IDs numerically rather than converting
to a user or group name in a long (-l) output.
-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 pos-
sible flags and their meanings.)
-p Display a slash ('/') immediately after each pathname that is a
-q Force printing of non-graphic 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, where partial 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
-T When used with the -l (the lowercase letter ``ell'') option, dis-
play complete time information for the file, including month,
day, hour, minute, second, and year.
-t Sort by time modified (most recently modified first) before sort-
ing 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 Force raw printing of non-printable characters. This is the
default when output is not to a terminal.
-W Display whiteouts when scanning directories.
-x Multi-column output sorted across the page rather than down the
-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, -l, -m, and -x options all override each other; the last one
specified determines the format used.
The -c and -u options override each other; the last one specified deter-
mines the file time used.
By default, ls lists one entry per line to standard output; the excep-
tions 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
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 displayed
on a line by itself immediately before the information for the files in
If the owner or group names are not a known user 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 pre-
ceded 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:
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 posi-
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 exe-
cutable 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 exe-
cutable and set-user-ID mode is set. If in the
group permissions, the file is executable and set-
group-ID mode is set.
x The file is executable or the directory is search-
- The file is neither readable, writable, exe-
cutable, 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
t The sticky bit is set (mode 1000), and is search-
able or executable. (See chmod(1) or sticky(8).)
The number of bytes displayed for a directory is a function of the number
of dirent(5) structures in the directory, not all of which may be allo-
cated to any existing file.
The ls utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
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 displayed 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 display-
ing multiple-text-column output. The ls utility calculates
how many pathname text columns to display based on the width
provided. (See -C.)
TZ The timezone to use when displaying dates. See environ(7) for
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), getbsize(3), dir(5), symlink(7), sticky(8)
The ls utility is expected to be a superset of the IEEE Std 1003.2
An ls utility appeared in Version 5 AT&T UNIX.
BSD December 26, 2003 BSD