I am on Linux (Ubuntu) and I am would like to exclude certain directories (like .hg) when I am doing a

find | less  

I tried the following to exclude the .hg directory from listing, but does not seem to work.

find -type d \( ! -iname \.hg \)
find -type d \( ! -name \.hg \)
find -type d \( ! -iname .hg \)

How do I exclude .directory in a find command

3 Answers 3


On the research for a similar find solution I discovered the helpful explanation on How to use '-prune' option of 'find' in sh? by Laurence Gonsalves.

You could use something like:

find . \( -type d -name .hg -prune \) -o \( -type f -name "foo" -print \)

or (without the name)

find . \( -type d -name .hg -prune \) -o \( -type f -print \)

The (escaped) parentheses \( and \) group the tests (type and name) and corresponding actions (prune and print, respectively) together left and right of the OR (-o).

Since -o has lower precedence than juxtaposition, you can omit the parentheses if you like. Many find implementations also let you skip the final -print.

find . -type d -name .hg -prune -o -type f -name "foo" -print
  • 2
    I was about to write my solution, but it appears to be exactly this. Personally I'd put the -prune inside the first set of brackets, and the -type f -print in a second set, just to make the and/or operations more obvious, but otherwise this looks spot-on to me.
    – me_and
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 12:35
  • 1
    I improved parentheses (and their reasoning) thanks to @me_and 's comment.
    – fheub
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 12:43

Have a look at ack: http://betterthangrep.com/

In addition to having a reasonable set of default excluded folders (.hg is a default exclude for instance), it is easy to exclude new folders:

ack --ignore-dir=.directory search_term

To bring this back to your use case where you are looking for a list of files, you would use the -f option, as in:

ack -f --ignore-dir=.directory

I switched from writing convoluted search/find commands to simple ack ones.

Tip: Put commonly used command line options (excluded folders for instance) into a .ackrc file.

  • Based on the find | less in the question, the OP is looking for a simple list of files. How does this help with that?
    – user
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 5:58
  • @MichaelKjörling As I stated in my answer, the -f option provides a list of files. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 16:37

you can try

find \( ! -regex '.*/\.directory\(\|/.*\)' \)
  • Pretty damn sure this does nothing like what the OP asked for.
    – me_and
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 12:33
  • I just thought this is what he mean by .directory
    – yuyichao
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 13:58

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