Lets suppose I have files on my harddisk having extensions as .md.

I want to convert all those files to .html through find and the -exec option.

The command to convert a markdown file to html is

markdown readme.md > readme.html

I am trying to use something like:

find / -name "*.md" -type f -exec markdown {} > {}.html \;

Of course, the above doesn't work. So, how do I do that using only find and exec?


2 Answers 2


You need to quote around the construct containing > because it's a shell special character, like this:

find / -name "*.md" -type f -exec sh -c 'markdown "$0" > "$0.html"' {} \;

This will also rename the files so you end up with foo.html instead of foo.md.html:

find / -name "*.md" -type f -exec sh -c 'markdown "${0}" > "${0%.md}.html"' {} \;
  • Don't you get file.md.html now? Instead of file.html?
    – Bernhard
    Jul 21, 2012 at 17:42
  • @rush Why do I need {} at the end in both commands? Also, in the second command, it's hard to follow for me as to what happened? I didn't understand the ${0%.md}/.html part. Jul 22, 2012 at 9:50
  • Btw, I just checked. you probably wrote forward slash by mistake in ${0%.md}/.html. Jul 22, 2012 at 10:00
  • @shadyabhi The final {} is the input argument for the sh -c string, and is there accessed as $0. The command you don't understand strips .md and adds .html. You're probably right with escaping the .
    – Bernhard
    Jul 22, 2012 at 10:37
  • @Bernhard Thanks for your reply. Honestly, I knew earlier also that it's stripping .md and adding .html but I would like to know more about it. Can you redirect me to a wiki/doc that explains this? Jul 22, 2012 at 11:56

The way to achieve exactly what you have written is to use markdown's -o option, which specifies the name of the output file, i.e.

find / -name "*.md" -type f -exec markdown -o {}.html {} \;

Doing it this way avoids starting a new shell just to run markdown.

Unfortunately, as Bernhard points out, doing it this way gives you files named file.md.html instead of file.html, so rush's approach is more appropriate here.


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