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I have a folder with some directories and some files (some are hidden, beginning with dot).

for d in *; do
 echo $d

will loop through all files, but I want to loop only through directories. How do I do that?

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8 Answers 8

You can specify a slash at the end to match only directories:

for d in */ ; do
    echo "$d"
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Note that it also includes symlinks to directories. –  Stéphane Chazelas Aug 14 '13 at 16:09
so how would you exclude symlinks then? –  rubo77 Aug 14 '13 at 22:55
@rubo77: You can test with [[ -L $d ]] whether $d is a symbolic link. –  choroba Aug 14 '13 at 23:00
You can loop through hidden files too with for d in */ .*/ : do .... But how do I loop through hidden files excluding ../? –  rubo77 Oct 21 '13 at 3:12
@choroba: [[ -L "$f" ]] will not exclude symlinks in this case with */, you have to strip the trailing slash with [[ -L "${f%/}" ]] (see Test for link with trailing slash) –  rubo77 Oct 23 '13 at 6:54

You can test with -d:

for f in *; do
    if [[ -d $f ]]; then
        # $f is a directory

This is one of the file test operators.

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Note that it will include symlinks to directories. –  Stéphane Chazelas Aug 14 '13 at 16:12
if [[ -d "$f" && ! -L "$f" ]] will exclude symlinks –  rubo77 Oct 22 '13 at 6:33

You can use pure bash for that, but it's better to use find:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type d -exec echo {} \;

(find additionally will include hidden directories)

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Note that it doesn't include symlinks to directories. You can use shopt -s dotglob for bash to include hidden directories. Yours will also include .. Also note that -maxdepth is not a standard option (-prune is). –  Stéphane Chazelas Aug 14 '13 at 16:11
The dotglob option is interesting but dotglob only applies to the use of *. find . will always include hidden directories (and the current dir as well) –  rubo77 Oct 22 '13 at 5:28

This is done to find both visible and hidden directories within the present working directory, excluding the root directory:

to just loop through directories:

 find -path './*' -prune -type d

to include symlinks in the result:

find -L -path './*' -prune -type d

to do something to each directory (excluding symlinks):

find -path './*' -prune -type d -print0 | xargs -0 <cmds>

to exclude hidden directories:

find -path './[^.]*' -prune -type d

to execute multiple commands on the returned values (a very contrived example):

find -path './[^.]*' -prune -type d -print0 | xargs -0 -I '{}' sh -c \
"printf 'first: %-40s' '{}'; printf 'second: %s\n' '{}'"

instead of 'sh -c' can also use 'bash -c', etc.

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What happens if the echo '*/' in 'for d in echo */' contains, say, 60,000 directories? –  AsymLabs Oct 21 '13 at 4:05
You will get "Too many files" error but that can be solved: How to circumvent “Too many open files” in debian –  rubo77 Oct 21 '13 at 4:09
The xargs example only would works for a subset of directory names 9e.g. those with spaces or newlines would not work). Better to use ... -print0 | xargs -0 ... if you don't know what the exact names are. –  Anthon Oct 21 '13 at 4:50
@rubo77 added way to exclude hidden files/directories and execution of multiple commands - of course this can be done with a script too. –  AsymLabs Oct 21 '13 at 11:22
I added an example in my answer at the bottom, how to do something to each directory using a function with find * | while read file; do ... –  rubo77 Oct 22 '13 at 4:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Use find and pass it to while:

shopt -s dotglob
find * -prune -type d | while read d; do 
    echo "$d"

Use shopt -u dotglob to exclude hidden directories (or setopt dotglob/unsetopt dotglob in zsh).

see AsymLabs answer below for more find options

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I found this solution on: stackoverflow.com/a/8489394/1069083 –  rubo77 Oct 22 '13 at 5:06

This will include the complete path in each directory in the list:

for i in $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -type d); do echo $i; done
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You can loop through all directories including hidden directories (beginning with a dot) in one line and multiple commands with:

for file in */ .*/ ; do echo "$file is a directory"; done

If you want to exclude symlinks:

for file in *; do 
  if [[ -d "$file" && ! -L "$file" ]]; then
    echo "$file is a directory"; 

note: using the list */ .*/ works in bash, but also displays the folders . and .. while in zsh it will not show these but throw an error if there is no hidden file in the folder

A cleaner version that will include hidden directories and exclude ../ will be with the dotglob option:

shopt -s dotglob
for file in */ ; do echo "$file is a directory"; done

( or setopt dotglob in zsh )

you can unset dotglob with

shopt -u dotglob
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Use find with -exec to loop through the directories and call a function in the exec option:

dosomething () {
  echo "doing something with $1"
export -f dosomething
find -path './*' -prune -type d -exec bash -c 'dosomething "$0"' {} \;

Use shopt -s dotglob or shopt -u dotglob to include/exclude hidden directories

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