I am trying to list every .tar.gz file, only using the following command:

ls *.tar.gz -l

...It shows me the following list:

-rw-rw-r-- 1 osm osm  949 Nov 27 16:17 file1.tar.gz
-rw-rw-r-- 1 osm osm  949 Nov 27 16:17 file2.tar.gz

However, I just need to list it this way:


and also not:

file1.tar.gz file2.tar.gz

How is this "properly" done?


5 Answers 5


The -1 option (the digit “one”, not lower-case “L”) will list one file per line with no other information:

ls -1 -- *.tar.gz
  • 1
    Why the double dashes? ls -1 *.tar.gz works just as well.
    – RonJohn
    Nov 28, 2018 at 19:50
  • 8
    @RonJohn it avoids surprises with filenames starting with -. Nov 28, 2018 at 19:54
  • 5
    Specifically... Say I was an attacker, and had the following files: .hiddenfile, benign.php, evil.bin, --hide=*evil*; without the -- you won't see evil.bin or --hide=*evil*.
    – wizzwizz4
    Nov 28, 2018 at 22:02
  • I'm utterly disppointed that there is no -2 (or -3 etc.)! ;-) Nov 29, 2018 at 10:50
  • 1
    (... which made me look up columns!) Nov 29, 2018 at 10:56

If you only need the filenames, you could use printf:

printf '%s\n' *.tar.gz

... the shell will expand the *.tar.gz wildcard to the filenames, then printf will print them, with each followed by a newline. This output would differ a bit from that of ls in the case of filenames with newlines embedded in them:


$ touch file{1,2}.tar.gz
$ touch file$'\n'3.tar.gz


$ ls -1 -- *.tar.gz


$ printf '%s\n' *.tar.gz
  • 6
    See also ls -b, ls -Q, ls --quoting-style=.... Nov 27, 2018 at 17:10
  • And printf '%q\n'. (Both GNU.) Nov 29, 2018 at 12:27

ls behaves differently when its output is piped. For example:

ls          # outputs filenames in columns
ls | cat    # passes one filename per line to the cat command

So if you want see all your *.tar.gz files, one per line, you can do this:

ls *.tar.gz | cat

But what if you don't want to pipe your output? That is, is there a way to force ls to output the filenames one to a line without piping the output?

Yes, with the -1 switch. (That's a dash with the number 1.) So you can use these commands:

ls -1             # shows all (non-hidden) files, one per line
ls -1 *.tar.gz    # shows only *.tar.gz files, one per line

Or with GNU find:

find  -name "*.tar.gz"  -printf '%P\n'

In contrary to ls with * it will search for .tar.gz files recursively:

$ find  -name "*.tar.gz"  -printf '%P\n'
  • Why -printf '%P\n' rather than just -print - at which point any Posix compatible find will work. Nov 29, 2018 at 14:18
  • @MartinBonner because -print will add ./ before the filename. Nov 29, 2018 at 14:59

A slightly more roundabout and loopy way:

for i in *.tar.gz; do
    echo "$i"

EDIT: added quotes to handle weird filenames

  • 5
    touch -- '-e \a.tar.gz' for a reason to quote your variables and unix.stackexchange.com/q/65803/117549 for reasons to use printf instead of echo
    – Jeff Schaller
    Nov 27, 2018 at 20:49
  • oof, I just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to remove the resulting -e \a.tar.gz file
    – snetch
    Nov 27, 2018 at 20:57
  • 3
    sorry! rm -- '-e \a.tar.gz' should do the trick
    – Jeff Schaller
    Nov 27, 2018 at 21:01
  • You're good, it was a lesson, and I did learn that -- works for rm and a lot of others.
    – snetch
    Nov 27, 2018 at 21:02
  • @JeffSchaller: the other solution for local names is rm_etc './-x blah' Nov 29, 2018 at 12:23

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