How do I list all .txt files with their full path that have a word 'Ubuntu' in them. Ignore non-text files. When comparing values you should ignore the case i.e. UBUNTU or ubuNtu or UbUnTu are treated as equal to the search phrase given.

4 Answers 4


GNU grep supports recursive searching based on a glob-pattern, e.g.:

grep --include='*.txt' -ril ubuntu /path/to/dir

If you are not searching for a regular expression, this process will be much faster if you include fixed-string matching (-F). Another optimization is to remove ignore-case (-i) if you know it is not needed.


Simple find + grep solution:

find . -type f -name "*.txt" -exec grep -li --binary-files=without-match 'ubuntu' {} \;

grep details:

  • l - suppress normal output; instead print the name of each input file from which output would normally have been printed
  • i - ignore case distinctions, so that characters that differ only in case match each other
  • as OP stated, it should return full path, so you need to have /path/to as path to search or $PWD from current directory instead Feb 20, 2018 at 10:08
  • If I want to search for all text files(.log etc) and not necessarily only .txt files, what should be the command Feb 27, 2018 at 6:34
  • @SampadMund, just remove -name "*.txt" from the command Feb 27, 2018 at 8:30

Some implementation of the grep utility has an -I flag that makes grep ignore binary files. You may also use -i to do a case-insensitive match and -F to match with a fixed string (rather than with a regular expression). If you are looking for separate words you will want to use -w that some grep implementations has. Then, to recurse into subdirectories, you may want to use -R to recursively search files and -l to get the names of the files that contains matches of the pattern. Then we'd like to use --include if we have GNU grep to only look at files with a certain extension.

grep -Fil -IRw --include='*.txt' 'ubuntu' /path/to/top/dir

Standard options used: -F, -i, -l.

Non-standard options used (supported by some grep implementations): -w, -I, -R, --include.

Using find and OpenBSD grep which does not have --include and which uses --binary-files instead of -I (GNU grep also has this flag):

find /path/to/top/dir -type f -name '*.txt' \
    -exec grep -Fil -w --binary-files=without-match 'ubuntu' {} +

This is what I typically use:

find /path/to/top/dir -type f -name '*.txt' -exec grep -iHI ubuntu {} \;
  • If I want to search for all text files(.log etc) and not necessarily only .txt files, what should be the command? Feb 27, 2018 at 6:33

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