How can I list only files that aren't compiled code in the current directory?

I'm reviewing the custom scripts and code on several HPUX and Linux servers before transferring them to a newer system. I get tired of seeing PuTTYPuTTYPuTTYPuTTYPuTTY when I encounter a file that is compiled.

I would like to sort them so that I can skip over the compiled software and come back to them at a later time.

  • 1
    maybe file * | grep -v ELF (not tested)
    – pmg
    Mar 26, 2015 at 15:37
  • Your listing has to include file size and rights? Having just the file path is enough?
    – petry
    Mar 26, 2015 at 15:42
  • file * | grep -v ELF will work if there are no other options, but I'd prefer to list them with file size and rights but exclude the executables.
    – Jeight
    Mar 26, 2015 at 16:09
  • If you use less or view or several other programs, they'll avoid spewing control sequences to your terminal when you open binary files.
    – derobert
    Mar 26, 2015 at 16:14
  • 1
    So I guess I can use the following line and create an alias for it file * | grep -v ELF | grep -v executable | awk '{print $1}' | sed -e 's/://g' | xargs ls -l. @pmg you helped me in the right direction.
    – Jeight
    Mar 26, 2015 at 16:21

3 Answers 3


It bends the use of grep a bit

grep -r -I -l .

But it will list all non binary file in current directory. Using mostly the -I switch to exclude binary

  • It will recursively list files under that directory also. OP asked for current directory only.
    – DrBeco
    Apr 15, 2017 at 1:45
  • 1
    @DrBeco just drop the -r option
    – fie
    May 15, 2019 at 8:56

When ignoring files with the executable bit set, I just use this command:

find . ! -perm -111

To keep it from recursively enter into other directories:

find . -maxdepth 1 ! -perm -111

No need for pipes to mix lots of commands, just the powerful plain find command.

PS. Reference also link to my other answer


It should work,

file * | egrep -v 'ELF|executable' | awk '{print $1}' | sed -e 's/://g' | xargs ls -l

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