I want to collect all the files I have used in a project. I am using find command, and I want it to find a list of files and then I pass its result to zip command to create a single zip file containing all the matched files. Just a convenience if it is possible. However, it seems there are problems with it and it does not work.

find /lmms/samples/ -name warp01*,JR_effect2k*,clean_low_key*,q_kick_2*,sticky_q_kick*,upright_bass*,pizzi*,chorded_perc*,Tr77_kick*,Tr77_tom1*,Tr77_cym*,hihat_008a*,Hat_o.ds,Hat_c.ds,Kickhard.ds,Tr77_snare* -exec zip {} ~/Desktop/files.zip

Output is:

find: missing argument to `-exec'


After fixing some errors pointed out in the below answers and following their guidelines, I have reformatted the code as below:

find ~/lmms/samples/ (-name warp01* -o -name JR_effect2k* -or -name clean_low_key* -or -name q_kick_2* -or -name sticky_q_kick* -or -name upright_bass*-or  -name pizzi* -or -name chorded_perc* -or -name Tr77_kick* -or -name Tr77_tom1* -or -name Tr77_cym* -or -name hihat_008a* -or -name Hat_o.ds -or -name Hat_c.ds -or -name Kickhard.ds -or  -name Tr77_snare*)  -exec zip -add  ~/Desktop/files.zip {} +

It still fails with the message bash: syntax error near unexpected token(' `

Removing the parentheses eliminates error but does seem to only add one file to the archive, which surprisingly, I do not seem to find on my Desktop!!!

 find ~/lmms/samples/ -name warp01* -o -name JR_effect2k* -or -name clean_low_key* -or -name q_kick_2* -or -name sticky_q_kick* -or -name upright_bass*-or  -name pizzi* -or -name chorded_perc* -or -name Tr77_kick* -or -name Tr77_tom1* -or -name Tr77_cym* -or -name hihat_008a* -or -name Hat_o.ds -or -name Hat_c.ds -or -name Kickhard.ds -or  -name Tr77_snare*  -exec zip  ~/Desktop/files.zip {} +
  adding: home/john/lmms/samples/drumsynth/tr77/Tr77_snare.ds (deflated 49%)
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    Following your PS: there still remain several errors in your find command (proper spacing and pattern quoting). I have updated my answer to add a zip-only command. – xhienne Jan 12 '17 at 13:16
  • You need to quote the patterns as StephenKitt showed you in his answer: -name "file*", not just -name file* – xhienne Jan 12 '17 at 13:39
  • I think It actually worked without quoting after I escaped the parentheses. – codezombie Jan 12 '17 at 13:48
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    Sometimes it will work, sometimes not, and you probably won't notice it. You are free to not follow Stephen's syntax of course. – xhienne Jan 12 '17 at 13:52
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    Every pattern (i.e. filename containing *, ? or [...]) should be surrounded be single or double quotes: -name clean_low_key* => -name 'clean_low_key*' or -name "clean_low_key*". See the note in my answer. If you want a clear demonstration of why it matters, do shopt -s nullglob and try your command (then undo this with shopt -u nullglob) – xhienne Jan 12 '17 at 14:06

-exec takes two parameters: the command to execute, and a flag to tell find whether the command should be run once per match (;) or with as many files as possible per run (+).

In addition, the zip parameters are the wrong way round.

The -name test doesn't work that way either; it only takes one pattern at a time. If you want to check for multiple patterns, you need to use multiple -name tests combined using -o ("or"), and wrap them in parentheses (thanks to xhienne for pointing that out):

find /lmms/samples/ \( -name "warp01*" -o -name "JR_effect2k*" ... \) -exec ...

(quoting each pattern to avoid issues with shell globbing).

All in all, if you fix your name tests and end your find with

-exec zip ~/Desktop/files.zip {} +

it should do the right thing.

  • Thanks @StephenKitt it seems to work now. Files have been added to ~/Desktop/files.zip, but in hierarchical order. I mean their directories have been added as well. Here is the created zip if you mind checking it out. s9.picofile.com/file/8282171700/files.zip.html – codezombie Jan 12 '17 at 12:59
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    If you don't want to store the paths, you can use zip's -j option to drop them. You need to be sure that you don't have two (or more) files with the same name in different directories! – Stephen Kitt Jan 12 '17 at 13:08

You just need to terminate your -exec option with either a ; or a + (man find). Your zip file must precede the files you put in your archive IIRC, so this would become:

find ... -exec zip ~/Desktop/files.zip {} ;
find ... -exec zip ~/Desktop/files.zip {} +

The + version aggregates the parameters at the end of the zip command and calls one zip for all the files (or several zip if your commands are really long). It's less I/O intensive but the downside is that you can only use {} once and at the end, just before the +. The ; version is more flexible but calls zip for each file.

Alternate solution without find

You also have a problem with the -name predicate and @StephenKitt gives you the correct syntax.

Here is another syntax that uses zip's ability to understand globbing patterns like file*. Therefore it doesn't use find, is closer to your original proposal, and probably less error-prone for someone not used to find:

$ zip -r  ~/Desktop/files.zip /lmms/samples/ --include 'warp01*' 'JR_effect2k*' 'clean_low_key*' 'q_kick_2*' 'sticky_q_kick*' 'upright_bass*' 'pizzi*' 'chorded_perc*' 'Tr77_kick*' 'Tr77_tom1*' 'Tr77_cym*' 'hihat_008a*' 'Hat_o.ds' 'Hat_c.ds' 'Kickhard.ds' 'Tr77_snare*'

Note: patterns are separated by space. The quotes around them are mandatory, else the patterns may be interpreted by your shell, not by zip.

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