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Assume there's an image storage directory, say, ./photos/john_doe, within which there are multiple subdirectories, where many certain files reside (say, *.jpg). How can I calculate a summary size of those files below the john_doe branch?

I tried du -hs ./photos/john_doe/*/*.jpg, but this shows individual files only. Also, this tracks only the first nest level of the john_doe directory, like john_doe/june/, but skips john_doe/june/outrageous/.

So, how could I traverse the entire branch, summing up the size of the certain files?

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up vote 47 down vote accepted
find ./photos/john_doe -type f -name '*.jpg' -exec du -ch {} + | grep total$

If more than one invocation of du is required because the file list is very long, multiple totals will be reported and need to be summed.

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Thank Gilles for shortening the answer – SHW Jun 26 '12 at 6:34
That assumes the list of files is short enough than only one invocation of du is run. – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 5 '14 at 9:35
find -iname 'file*' -exec du -cb {} + | grep total$ | cut -f1 | paste -sd+ - | bc # summed byte size – Michal Čizmazia Jul 15 '15 at 13:55
If your system works under other language then you need to change total$ to other word like razem$ in Polish. – Zbyszek Jul 26 '15 at 12:49
du -ch public_html/images/*.jpg | grep total
20M total

gives me the total usage of my .jpg files in this directory.

To deal with multiple directories you'd probably have to combine this with find somehow.

You might find du command examples useful (it also includes find)

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This doesn't traverse the underlying directories? – mbaitoff Jun 26 '12 at 5:48

Primarily, you need two things:

  • the -c option to du, to tell it to produce a grand total;
  • either find or ** to traverse subdirectories.
du -ch -- **/*.jpg | tail -n 1
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very good reply. Simpler than using find (as long * or ** matches the directory structure) – Andre de Miranda Apr 21 at 5:13

The answers given until now do not take into account that the file list passed from find to du may be so long that find automatically splits the list into chunks, resulting in multiple occurences of total.

You can either grep total (locale!) and sum up manually, or use a different command. AFAIK there are only two ways to get a grand total (in kilobytes) of all files found by find:
find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0 | xargs -r0 du -a| awk '{sum+=$1} END {print sum}'

find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0: Find all files with the extension jpg regardless of case (i.e. *.jpg, *.JPG, *.Jpg...) and output them (null-terminated).
xargs -r0 du -a: -r: Xargs would call the command even with no arguments passed, which -r prevents. -0 means null-terminated strings (not newline terminated).
awk '{sum+=$1} END {print sum}': Sum up the file sizes output by the previous command

And for reference, the other way would be
find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0 | du -c --files0-from=-

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Additional hint: On my HDD with 23428 files (22323 being images) the first method runs 1 sec while the second one runs 3.8 secs. – Jan Aug 5 '14 at 10:12
Note that both assume a GNU system. The first one assumes file names don't contain newline characters. – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 6 '14 at 13:06
I'd bet the du --file0-from took longer because you ran it first (caching effect). – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 6 '14 at 13:07
With xargs, several du -a may be run, so you may have discrepancies if there are hard links. – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 6 '14 at 13:09

If the list of files is too big that it can't be passed to a single invocation of du -c, on a GNU system, you can do:

find . -iname '*.jpg' -type f -printf '%b\t%D:%i\n' |
  sort -u | cut -f1 | paste -sd+ - | bc

(size expressed in number of 512 byte blocks). Like du it tries to count hard links only once. If you don't care about hardlinks, you can simplify it to:

(printf 0; find . -iname '*.jpg' -type f -printf +%b) | bc

If you want the size instead of disk usage, replace %b with %s. The size will then be expressed in bytes.

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The solutions mentioned so far are inefficient (exec is expensive) and require additional manual work to sum if the file list is long or they don't work on Mac OS X. The following solution is very fast, should work on any system, and yields the total answer in GB (remove a /1024 if you want to see the total in MB): find . -iname "*.jpg" -ls |perl -lane '$t += $F[6]; print $t/1024/1024/1024 . " GB"'

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Neither -iname nor -ls are standard/portable, so it won't work on any system either. It will also not work properly if there are filenames or symlink targets that contain newline characters. – Stéphane Chazelas Jun 22 at 8:28
Also note that it gives the sum of the file sizes, not their disk usage. For symlinks, it gives the size of the symlinks, not the files they point to. – Stéphane Chazelas Jun 22 at 8:31

Improving SHW's great answer to make it work with any locale, like Zbyszek already pointed out in his comment:

LC_ALL=C find ./photos/john_doe -type f -name '*.jpg' -exec du -ch {} + | grep total$
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