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LS_COLORS environmental variable lets you decide on colours for different file types for GNU coreutil's ls command, such as directories, regular files, links etc. I suppose that dot files are considered a variation of the Linux file types and not a type on its own hence there is no option for specifying a display colour for them.

Is there any (other) way you can make ls listings show hidden files in a different colour?

  • This answer has more than you ever wanted to know about LS_COLORS. I couldn't figure out how to get it to work for dotfiles but you might want to check it out. – terdon Sep 23 '14 at 14:52
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    @terdon - it doesn't work for dotfiles. It might for some, but very few. There's a limit to an extension's length and most whole filenames will exceed it. It will work for files named *.hide for example. This answer addresses a similar problem for directories, though the answers to this and the directory problem are probably not the same. – mikeserv Sep 23 '14 at 15:43
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If you're only sorting by name, this might help:

alias ll='LS_COLORS=$LS_COLORS:"di=0;34:" ; S_COLORS=$LS_COLORS:"fi=0;37:" ; export LS_COLORS; ls -dHhl --color=auto .*; LS_COLORS=$LS_COLORS:"di=1;94:" ; LS_COLORS=$LS_COLORS:"fi=1;37:" ; export LS_COLORS$

However, it splits the ls command in two parts, one for hidden files and folders, one for the rest.

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Yes, use cf. I just released a well-documented version, it specifically colors ls output per file extension and/or certain special attributes (executable, links, hidden and directories). Give it a shot!!! It's hard to let go from using this once you get used to it.

https://github.com/AdamDanischewski/cf

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If you just want to highlight hidden files (and folders) and you don't care about the coloring of all the other files, then the obvious approach is to run ls -la | grep -E "^| \.[^/|'.].*"

If you want to maintain the other colors, then things start to get tricky, because $LS_COLORS does not natively support colorizing hidden files as it seems.

I came up with the idea to dynamically append the current directory's hidden files to the $LS_COLORS environment variable as a pseudo extension, then execute ls -la and after that run dircolors to reset the original color schema. Obviously there will be a conflict if a hidden file has the same name as a known extension. Also this method does not work with hidden folders.

Warning: This solution is a (not very thoroughly tested) hack. Use it at your own risk.

for h in $(ls -A | grep "^\."); do LS_COLORS="$LS_COLORS*$h=04;05:"; done; ls -la; eval $(dircolors)

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