I can use

find /search/location -type l

to list all symbolic links inside /search/location.

How do I limit the output of find to symbolic links that refer to a valid directory, and exclude both, broken symbolic links and links to files?

3 Answers 3


With GNU find (the implementation on non-embedded Linux and Cygwin):

find /search/location -type l -xtype d

With find implementations that lack the -xtype primary, you can use two invocations of find, one to filter symbolic links and one to filter the ones that point to directories:

find /search/location -type l -exec sh -c 'find -L "$@" -type d -print' _ {} +

or you can call the test program:

find /search/location -type l -exec test {} \; -print

Alternatively, if you have zsh, it's just a matter of two glob qualifiers (@ = is a symbolic link, - = the following qualifiers act on the link target, / = is a directory):

print -lr /search/location/**/*(@-/)
  • find . -type l -exec sh -c 'find "$@" -L -type d -print' _ {} + yielded find: unknown predicate `-L' for me. moving the -L in the second find invocation before the "$@" made this work.
    – Wyatt Ward
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 16:29


find /search/location -type l -exec test -e {} \; -print 

From man test:

   -e FILE
          FILE exists

You might also benefit from this U&L answer to How can I find broken symlinks; be sure to read the comments too.

Edit: test -d to check if "FILE exists and is a directory"

find /search/location -type l -exec test -d {} \; -print 
  • thank you, but this finds links to files as well
    – muffel
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 11:47

Here you go:

for i in $(find /search/location -type l); do 
  test -d $(readlink $i) && echo $i 

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