I would like to (recursively) find all files with "ABC" in their file name, which also contain "XYZ" in the file. I tried:

find . -name "*ABC*" | grep -R 'XYZ'

but its not giving the correct output.

4 Answers 4


That's because grep can't read file names to search through from standard input. What you're doing is printing file names that contain XYZ. Use find's -exec option instead:

find . -name "*ABC*" -exec grep -H 'XYZ' {} +

From man find:

   -exec command ;
          Execute  command;  true  if 0 status is returned.  All following
          arguments to find are taken to be arguments to the command until
          an  argument  consisting of `;' is encountered.  The string `{}'
          is replaced by the current file name being processed  everywhere
          it occurs in the arguments to the command, not just in arguments
          where it is alone, as in some versions of find. 


   -exec command {} +
          This  variant  of the -exec action runs the specified command on
          the selected files, but the command line is built  by  appending
          each  selected file name at the end; the total number of invoca‐
          tions of the command will  be  much  less  than  the  number  of
          matched  files.   The command line is built in much the same way
          that xargs builds its command lines.  Only one instance of  `{}'
          is  allowed  within the command.  The command is executed in the
          starting directory.

If you don't need the actual matching lines but only the list of file names containing at least one occurrence of the string, use this instead:

find . -name "*ABC*" -exec grep -l 'XYZ' {} +
  • How would someone include the path to the file also?
    – b_dubb
    May 15, 2021 at 4:08

I find the following command the simplest way:

grep -R --include="*ABC*" XYZ

or add -i to search case insensitive:

grep -i -R --include="*ABC*" XYZ

… | grep -R 'XYZ' does not make sense. On one hand, -R 'XYZ' means to recursively act on the XYZ directory. On the other hand, … | grep 'XYZ' means to look for the pattern XYZ in grep's standard input.\

On Mac OS X or BSD, grep will treat XYZ as a pattern, and complain:

$ echo XYZ | grep -R 'XYZ'
grep: warning: recursive search of stdin
(standard input):XYZ

GNU grep will not complain. Rather, it treats XYZ as a pattern, ignores its standard input, and recursively searches starting from the current directory.

What you meant to do was probably

find . -name "*ABC*" | xargs grep -l 'XYZ'

… which is similar to

grep -l 'XYZ' $(find . -name "*ABC*")

… both of which tell grep to look for XYZ in the matching file names.

Note, however, that any whitespace in the filenames will cause those two commands to break. You can use xargs safely by using NUL as the delimiter:

find . -name "*ABC*" -print0 | xargs -0 grep -l 'XYZ'

But @terdon's solution using find … -exec grep -l 'XYZ' '{}' + is simpler and better.


Linux Commend : ll -iR | grep "filename"

ex: Bookname.txt then use ll -iR | grep "Bookname" or ll -iR | grep "name" or ll -iR | grep "Book"

we can search with part of the file name.

This will list all the file names matching from the current and sub folders

  • This is only a partial answer as it never addresses the "searching inside the file" part of the question. It is also much more efficient to use filename globbing patterns, possibly in combination with find as shown in some of the other answers.
    – Kusalananda
    Sep 4, 2018 at 10:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .