So far I've been using vim */** which seems to open all files in subdirectories but not those in the current directory, and vim * which opens all files in the current directory. But how do I open all files in the current directory and all subdirectories?


With zsh:

vim ./**/*(.)

Other shells:

find . \( -name '.?*' -prune \) -o -type f -exec vim {} +

To open only the (non-hidden) regular files (not directories, symlinks, pipes, devices, doors, sockets...).

vim ./**/*(D-.)

Other shells, GNU find:

find . -xtype f -exec vim {} +

To also open hidden files (and traversing hidden directories) and symlinks to regular files.


vim ./***/*(D-.)

other shells:

find -L . -type f -exec vim {} +

to also traverse symlinks when looking into subdirectories.

If you only want one level of subdirectories:

vim ./* ./*/*

Note that it's a good habit to prefix your globs with ./ in case some of the file names start with - or +.

(of course the find ones also work in zsh. Note that they may run several instances of vim if the list of files is big).

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In bash with shopt -s extglob:

for file in **/**; do [[ -f "$file" ]] && vim "$file"; done

Note that, as per Stéphane's comment, prior to Bash 4.3 this would follow any symlinks in the directories covered.

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  • 1
    That runs one vim per file though. Note that bash before 4.3 used to traverse symlinks with **. It's been fixed in 4.3. – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 9 '14 at 7:17
  • @StéphaneChazelas Is one vim per file bad per se (assuming we are talking about several files, rather than several hundred)? Thanks for the note about the symlinks: I'll edit that in. – jasonwryan Aug 9 '14 at 7:21

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