I want to delete files which size is between certain values. For example I have the following list of files:

-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  558 Apr 30 13:07 stats.sfe.1.20120430130513.xml.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  388 Apr 30 15:32 stats.sfe.1.20120430153013.xml.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  386 Apr 30 15:36 stats.sfe.1.20120430153513.xml.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  389 Apr 30 15:42 stats.sfe.1.20120430154013.xml.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  390 Apr 30 16:02 stats.sfe.1.20120430160013.xml.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 smsc sys  385 Apr 30 16:12 stats.sfe.1.20120430161013.xml.Z

From the above list, I want to delete only the files which size varies between 386b and 390b. I know that I can use the following command to delete files which size exceed certain <size>:

find . -size +<size>-delete

But how can I add one more boundary for files which size is less than a given value?

  • 4
    find conditions are logically AND'd by default, so just tack on another -size option for the other bound. – jw013 Apr 30 '12 at 15:05
  • @jw013 Great! That works for me. Thanks! Please post it as your answer and I will accept it. – Eugene S Apr 30 '12 at 15:21

A range is simply an upper bound AND a lower bound. From the find spec:

expression [-a] expression

Conjunction of primaries; the AND operator is implied by the juxtaposition of two primaries or made explicit by the optional -a operator. The second expression shall not be evaluated if the first expression is false.

So all you need to do is specify both size bounds before the -delete action.


The -a in an explicit AND operator that allows you to conjoin two primaries. In this case creating a range using -size.

find . -size +386b -a -size -390b -exec rm -f {} \;

Note the size is a numeric argument that can optionally be prepended with + and -. From man 1 find:

   Numeric arguments can be specified as

   +n     for greater than n,
   -n     for less than n,
    n      for exactly n.
  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. However, as @jw013 mentioned in his comment, find conditions are logically AND'd by default. So I just added one more size condition and it worked fine! The final command looks like: find . -maxdepth 1 -size +358c -size -395c -delete – Eugene S Apr 30 '12 at 15:15

Whenever find expects a number, you can put a + sign before it to mean more than this number, or a - sign to mean less than this number. These are strict inequalities: +3 and -7 means 4, 5 or 6.

With the -size primary, you need to add the suffix c to indicate that the number is a number of bytes. You can concatenate multiple primaries to take their conjunction (in some versions, you can put -a or -and between them). Thus:

find . -size +385c -size -391c -delete

In zsh, you can use the L glob qualifier. The default unit is bytes; like find, the characters + and - indicate strict inequalities.

rm *(L+385-391)

(The command above does not recurse into subdirectories; if you need that, add **/ before the pattern.)

  • I don't understand the +3 and -7 equalling 4, 5 or 6. Could you explain? – Hashim Aziz Dec 30 '19 at 23:49

One way using perl:

perl -e '
    for ( @ARGV ) { 
        if ( -s >= 386 && -s _ <= 390 ) { 
            unlink $_ or printf qq[%s\n], qq[Could not delete $_: $!] 
' *
  • Thank you for your answer! Should this part of code be entered as a single line? – Eugene S Apr 30 '12 at 15:13
  • @EugeneS: Yes. It should work pasting it in your command line as-is or joining all lines into one. – Birei Apr 30 '12 at 15:16

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