Assume there's an image storage directory, say, ./photos/john_doe, within which there are multiple subdirectories, where many certain files reside (say, *.jpg). How can I calculate a summary size of those files below the john_doe branch?

I tried du -hs ./photos/john_doe/*/*.jpg, but this shows individual files only. Also, this tracks only the first nest level of the john_doe directory, like john_doe/june/, but skips john_doe/june/outrageous/.

So, how could I traverse the entire branch, summing up the size of the certain files?

14 Answers 14

find ./photos/john_doe -type f -name '*.jpg' -exec du -ch {} + | grep total$

If more than one invocation of du is required because the file list is very long, multiple totals will be reported and need to be summed.

  • 16
    find -iname 'file*' -exec du -cb {} + | grep total$ | cut -f1 | paste -sd+ - | bc # summed byte size Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 13:55
  • 4
    If your system works under other language then you need to change total$ to other word like razem$ in Polish.
    – Zbyszek
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 12:49
  • 2
    You can add LC_ALL=POSIX as prefix to always grep for total like this: LC_ALL=POSIX find ./photos/john_doe -type f -name '*.jpg' -exec du -ch {} + | grep total$
    – Sven
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 5:48
  • 4
    @MichalČizmazia some shells (e.g., Git Bash for Windows) don't come with bc, so here is a more portable solution: find -name '*.jpg' -type f -exec du -bc {} + | grep total$ | cut -f1 | awk '{ total += $1 }; END { print total }'
    – thdoan
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 7:55
  • 3
    What does the + do at the end of the find command? I couldn't find any mention of it in man find.
    – localhost
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 14:31
du -ch public_html/images/*.jpg | grep total
20M total

gives me the total usage of my .jpg files in this directory.

To deal with multiple directories you'd probably have to combine this with find somehow.

You might find du command examples useful (it also includes find)

  • 5
    This doesn't traverse the underlying directories?
    – mbaitoff
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 5:48
  • 3
    This is easier to type than the accepted solution, but is only half-right, it won't include images in subdirectories. Good to know if all the files are in one directory.
    – gbmhunter
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 19:56
  • @gbmhunter I think if you add the -R parameter to -ch you will also get the subdirectories as it recursively traverses the directory tree. I'm not currently at a computer to try it out though to confirm.
    – Levon
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 23:04
  • 1
    I don't see an -R option at man7.org/linux/man-pages/man1/du.1.html. And I don't think a recursive option would help in this case because the shell is doing the glob expansion before passing the arguments to du.
    – gbmhunter
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 21:56
  • 3
    To get images in subdirectories, couldn't you use **/*.jpg? Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 17:30

Primarily, you need two things:

du -ch -- **/*.jpg | tail -n 1
  • 2
    very good reply. Simpler than using find (as long * or ** matches the directory structure) Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 5:13
  • It can also handle very long lists of files whereas using find can return erroneous results. Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 8:50
  • 1
    bash brace expansion allows for measuring multiple sets of wildcards too. du -ch -- ./{dir1,dir2}/*.jpg or du -ch -- ./{prefix1*,prefix2*}.jpg
    – J.Money
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 22:24
  • 3
    @EricFournie However I got Argument list too long error when processing about 300k text files.
    – xtluo
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 7:43
  • The maximum number of arguments for a command (in this case, the file names returned by the wildcard expansion) can be checked with getconf ARG_MAX. If you have more, you will need to process the files one by one or batchwise with a for loop. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 8:09

The ultimate answer is:

{ find <DIR> -type f -name "*.<EXT>" -printf "%s+"; echo 0; } | bc

and even faster version, not limited by RAM, but that requires GNU AWK with bignum support:

find <DIR> -type f -name "*.<EXT>" -printf "%s\n" | gawk -M '{t+=$1}END{print t}'

This version has the following features:

  • all capabilities of find to specify the files you're looking for
  • supports millions of files
    • other answers here are limited by the maximum length of the argument list
  • spawns only 3 simple processes with a minimal pipe throughput
    • many answers here spawn C+N processes, where C is some constant and N is the number of files
  • doesn't bother with string manipulation
    • this version doesn't do any grepping, or regexing
    • well, find does a simple wildcard matching of filenames
  • optionally formats the sum into a human-readable form (eg. 5.5K, 176.7M, ...)
    • to do that append | numfmt --to=si
  • 1
    I like the simplicity of this answer, although it only worked for me when I introduced spaces after the opening brace and before the closing brace. I do wonder if it will really support an 'infiinte' number of files though :)
    – andyb
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 0:29
  • 1
    @andyb thanks for the feedback, the spaces around braces are indeed required in BASH, I'm using ZSH so I didn't notice that. And the number of files is limited by the available RAM on your system as bc's memory usage grows slowly as the numbers flow in.
    – rindeal
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 17:31

The answers given until now do not take into account that the file list passed from find to du may be so long that find automatically splits the list into chunks, resulting in multiple occurences of total.

You can either grep total (locale!) and sum up manually, or use a different command. AFAIK there are only two ways to get a grand total (in kilobytes) of all files found by find:
find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0 | xargs -r0 du -a| awk '{sum+=$1} END {print sum}'

find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0: Find all files with the extension jpg regardless of case (i.e. *.jpg, *.JPG, *.Jpg...) and output them (null-terminated).
xargs -r0 du -a: -r: Xargs would call the command even with no arguments passed, which -r prevents. -0 means null-terminated strings (not newline terminated).
awk '{sum+=$1} END {print sum}': Sum up the file sizes output by the previous command

And for reference, the other way would be
find . -type f -iname '*.jpg' -print0 | du -c --files0-from=-

  • Additional hint: On my HDD with 23428 files (22323 being images) the first method runs 1 sec while the second one runs 3.8 secs.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 10:12
  • Note that both assume a GNU system. The first one assumes file names don't contain newline characters. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:06
  • I'd bet the du --file0-from took longer because you ran it first (caching effect). Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:07
  • 1
    With xargs, several du -a may be run, so you may have discrepancies if there are hard links. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:09

If the list of files is too big that it can't be passed to a single invocation of du -c, on a GNU system, you can do:

find . -iname '*.jpg' -type f -printf '%b\t%D:%i\n' |
  sort -u | cut -f1 | paste -sd+ - | bc

(size expressed in number of 512 byte blocks). Like du it tries to count hard links only once. If you don't care about hardlinks, you can simplify it to:

(printf 0; find . -iname '*.jpg' -type f -printf +%b) | bc

If you want the size instead of disk usage, replace %b with %s. The size will then be expressed in bytes.

  • -bash: bc: command not found Centos - Linux 2.6.32-431.el6.x86_64
    – yeya
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 11:32
  • 1
    @yeya, sounds like your CentOS deployment is broken. bc is a non-optional POSIX command. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 11:35

The solutions mentioned so far are inefficient (exec is expensive) and require additional manual work to sum if the file list is long or they don't work on Mac OS X. The following solution is very fast, should work on any system, and yields the total answer in GB (remove a /1024 if you want to see the total in MB): find . -iname "*.jpg" -ls |perl -lane '$t += $F[6]; print $t/1024/1024/1024 . " GB"'

  • Neither -iname nor -ls are standard/portable, so it won't work on any system either. It will also not work properly if there are filenames or symlink targets that contain newline characters. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 8:28
  • Also note that it gives the sum of the file sizes, not their disk usage. For symlinks, it gives the size of the symlinks, not the files they point to. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 8:31

Improving SHW's great answer to make it work with any locale, like Zbyszek already pointed out in his comment:

LC_ALL=C find ./photos/john_doe -type f -name '*.jpg' -exec du -ch {} + | grep total$

du naturally traverses the directory hierarchy and awk can perform the filtering so something like this may be sufficient:

du -ak | awk 'BEGIN {sum=0} /\.jpg$/ {sum+=$1} END {print sum}'

This works without GNU.

  • 1
    This is more expensive since it entails a stat call for files that do not correspond to the searched-for pattern.
    – Law29
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 9:03
  • Only this solution works on my mac.
    – Matthias M
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 10:04
  • 1
    It assumes file names don't contain newline characters and that there's no directory whose name ends in .jpg. Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 14:43

This is what worked for me.

find -type f -iname *.jpg -print0 | du -ch --files0-from=- | grep total$
  • This is more or less a copy of another answer (apart from the trivial grep at the end).
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:50

Using the modern fd (AKA fd-find or fdfind on Ubuntu)

fdfind -e jpg -X du -ch | tail -1

I found fd easier to work with then find, and no need to enable globstar

The trick is to use the uppercase X --exec-batch that executes the command just once and not the lowercase x, which does a normal exec running on every file.

To install on ubuntu:

sudo apt install fd-find

See more


Another would be

ls -al <directory> | awk '{t+=$5}END{print t}}'

Assuming you're looking in a single directory. If you want to look at the current directory and beneath that

ls -Ral <directory> | awk '{t+=$5}END{print t}}'
  • (1) Biggest problem: This looks at everything, but the question is specifically about restricting the search to a subset of files; e.g., *.jpg.  (And the question explicitly says that the OP wants to do a recursive directory search.)  (2) This will count, not only files with non-matching names (e.g., *.gif, *.png, etc.), but also non-files; e.g., directories and symbolic links.  (3) This can produce incorrect results if any filename(s) contain newline(s).  (4) Like some of the (poorer) answers, this counts hard links multiple times.  … (Cont’d) Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 17:37
  • (Cont’d) …  Hint: When a question is almost 8 years old and has 9 answers, it's quite possible that all the good answers have already been given, and you should think long and hard about whether you really have something new and better to contribute. Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 17:37

Other alternative using stat rather than du

stat -L -c %s ** | awk '{s+=$1} END {printf "%.0f\n", s}'

See Gilles answer about using **


This is a mashup of several answers and comments that do what I need.

find . \( -iname "*.jpg" -o -iname "*.png" \) -type f -exec du -bc {} + | grep total$ | cut -f1 | awk '{ total += $1 }; END { print total }'| numfmt --to=iec

  • find will get all the files recursively
  • -iname is for case INsensitive
  • -o and parenthesis to look for multiple patterns
  • du -bc will get the files' size, sometimes in more than one call if there are many files
  • grep total will get only the total line as given by du
  • cut -f1 will take only the actual integer values
  • awk will sum them all
  • numfmt will convert it to a human-readable format
  • 1
    It won't work if current locale displays totals with a label that differs from "total"
    – mbaitoff
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 15:37

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