I'm trying to list all the hidden files in a directory, but not other directories, and I am trying to do this using only ls and grep.

ls -a | egrep  "^\."

This is what I have so far, but the problem is that it also lists hidden directories, when I don't want that.

Then, completely separately, I want to list the hidden directories.

  • 1
    why not to use find?? why to limit self w/ ls and grep?? – zaufi Dec 29 '15 at 15:18
  • just for the case (if you don't know about find): 1) find . -maxdepth 1 -name '.*' -type f to find "hidden" files 2) find . -maxdepth 1 -name '.*' -type d to find "hidden" directories – zaufi Dec 29 '15 at 15:22

To list only hidden files:

ls -ap | grep -v / | egrep "^\."  

Note that files here is everything that is not a directory. It's not file in "everything in Linux is a file" ;)

To list only hidden directories:

ls -ap | egrep "^\..*/$"  


  • ls -ap lists everything in the current directory, including hidden ones, and puts a / at the end of directories.
  • grep -v / inverts results of grep /, so that no directory is included.
  • "^\..*/$" matches everything that start with . and end in /.
  • If you want to exclude . and .. directories from results of the second part, you can use -A option instead of -a for ls, or if you like to work with regex, you can use "^\.[^.]+/$" instead of "^\..*/$".

Have fun!

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  • 1
    Whilst the others did answer the question, you were the only one who listened when I said I only wanted to use ls and grep. I know you can do this using find, but I wanted to be able to do this using only grep and ls, thanks a lot – Rikg09 Dec 29 '15 at 17:38
  • Try ls -aF instead of ls -ap – GypsyCosmonaut Jul 11 '17 at 7:45

To list the hidden files and directories in the current directory, including . and ..:

echo .*

To list the hidden files and directories in the current directory and its subdirectories recursively:

find . -name '.*'

If you want to save the results to a file, use a redirection:

find . -name '.*' >output-file.txt
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Switch to zsh (if you haven't already), and run

ls .*(^/)

The part inside parenthesis is so called glob modifiers and means to select everything but directories.

If you are interested only in plain files, so want to exclude not only directories, but also other special files (named pipes etc) then try

ls .*(.)
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Try this command:

find -maxdepth 1 -type f -name '.*' | sed 's/^..//'

This will find only files (-type f) in the current directory (-maxdepth 1), starting with a '.', the sed command gets rid of './' in every line.

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This command works:

ls -a | grep ".*"
  • Any hidden file starts with .

  • * matches all characters

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  • 1
    In this context, .* doesn't mean what you think it does. – muru Nov 5 '19 at 7:15
  • The regular expression .* matches any string, not just string starting with a dot. – Kusalananda Nov 5 '19 at 7:27
  • "^.*" matches all the patterns that start with . – madD7 yesterday

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