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In bash, how do I specify a pattern that matches everything but subdirectories in current directory. Given that the pattern */ matches all the subdirectories, I tried (with extglob turned on):

$ echo !(*/)

But it didn't work.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted
find . -maxdepth 1 ! -type d


  • -maxdepth 1 restricts the search to the current directory

  • ! -type d eliminates directories

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Great simple solution. Thanks. –  York Jul 13 at 22:02
another variant that i use frequently is find . -maxdepth 1 -type f this only matches regular files –  hildred Jul 14 at 12:42

The reason */ matches directories is that the final / restricts matches to directories. This effect is only triggered when the / is after a pattern, you can't use / inside parentheses in !(*/). There's no feature built into bash to do what you want.

You can make a loop over all files and build an array.

for x in *; do
  [ -d "$x" ] || non_directories+=("$x")
somecommand "${non_directories[@]}"

You can also use find, if you want to execute a command over all files. If your find implementation supports it (GNU, BSD, BusyBox), use -mindepth and -maxdepth to list only entries in the current directories (with ./ prepended). Use ! -name '.*' to omit dot files (if you indeed want to omit them).

find . -mindepth 1 -maxdepth 1 ! -type d -exec somecommand {} +

If you can only assume a POSIX find, use -prune to avoid recursing.

find . -name . -o -type d -prune -o -exec somecommand {} +

If you want to stuff the output of find into an array variable, beware that parsing the output of find requires additional assumptions on the file name. You're better off with a loop.

In zsh, you can use glob qualifiers: *(^/), or *(.) to match only regular files.

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Very informative answer. Thanks. –  York Jul 13 at 22:05
What does the -mindepth 1 do in your first example? You are already excluding directories with the ! -type d, is there any point to using -mindepth as well? Also, your -prune example won't work, did you mean -type f? –  terdon Jul 14 at 12:00
@terdon I included -mindepth 1 as a force of habit for a non-recursive use of find. I guess it doesn't hurt and if I left it out one could arguably wonder why. The second find command was a typo (braino?) of mine: -name . has to go first, otherwise . would end up pruned. –  Gilles Jul 14 at 14:23

Sort of long winded, but:

for f in *; do if [ ! -d "$f" ]; then echo "$f"; fi; done

-d is a file test operator to check if the argument is a directory.

The above could also be shortened to

for f in *; do [ ! -d "$f" ] && echo "$f"; done
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Correct answer and the link provided was really nice. Thanks. –  York Jul 13 at 22:03

This should really be a comment, but I don't have enough points. That said - I'm not sure which of the 2 options to you want to achieve - bash globing that excludes based on filesystem attributes, or a way to display only files in a directory?

If the first, I'm not sure that's possible. Globing just expands, and filenames are a base in any directory - bash doesn't distinguish between a file name or a dirname on it's own.

If the second - you already got 2 answers, another one using ls:

ls -dF * | grep -v "/$"  
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My suggestion:

GLOBIGNORE=$(echo */)            # create list of directories with globbing
GLOBIGNORE=${GLOBIGNORE//:/\\:}  # escape possible ":" with "\" to allow
                                 # the separator ":" in directory names
GLOBIGNORE=${GLOBIGNORE//\/ /:}  # replace "/ " with separator ":" 
GLOBIGNORE=${GLOBIGNORE%/}       # remove trailing "/"
ls -ld *

Result: no directories

Back to default with unset GLOBIGNORE

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