I have a file which contains a list of directories/files that I want to ignore when searching using find. It looks like this:


This list is not exhaustive and can have any number of items. How can I ignore these files/directories when using find.

I've been trying to do find . -type f ! -path ..., but haven't been able to pass dynamic list as argument.

  • @αғsнιη, maybe so but that one (Exclude a list of directories from unix find command) is closed as unclear, so we can't close this one as a duplicate of that one as then it would become unanswerable. – Stéphane Chazelas Apr 3 at 8:54
  • Do you want to ignore any file/dir named like that, or just the ones at the top-level directory? – Stéphane Chazelas Apr 3 at 8:59
  • I want to ignore any file/dir on any subsequent level (not just on level 1). – Ashish Ranjan Apr 3 at 9:09
  • the answer to the dupe isn't able to handle spaces in the filenames from the list. – mosvy Apr 3 at 12:44

With find implementations that support -regex with extended regular expressions (-E -regex in BSD, -regextype posix-extended -regex in GNU), you could do:

find . -regextype posix-extended -regex "\./($(
  sed 's@[][\\|^$.*+?{}()]@\\&@g' < list | paste -sd '|' -))" -prune -o \( \
    -type f -print \)

That excludes those file/dirs and any file/subdir within (find doesn't even descend into them thanks to -prune).

If if want to match any file/dir named like that at any level in the directory tree as opposed to only the ones in ., change the \. to .*.


There may be better options, but I would define a wrapper function for that:

    while read -r ext; do set "$@" \! -name "$ext"; done
    find . -type f "$@"
$ find -type f
$ cat list
$ find_exclude <list

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