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FIND(1) General Commands Manual FIND(1)

NAME

findwalk a file hierarchy

SYNOPSIS

find [-dHhLXx] [-f path] path ... [expression]

DESCRIPTION

find recursively descends the directory tree for each path listed, evaluating an expression (composed of the “primaries” and “operators” listed below) in terms of each file in the tree. In the absence of an expression, -print is assumed. If an expression is given, but none of the primaries -exec, -ls, -ok, -print, or -print0 are specified, the given expression is effectively replaced by ( given expression ) -print.
The options are as follows:
 
 
-d
Causes find to visit directories in post-order i.e. all entries in a directory will be acted on before the directory itself. By default, find visits directories in pre-order i.e. before their contents.
 
 
-f path
Specifies a file hierarchy for find to traverse. File hierarchies may be specified without the -f option if they are given immediately after any other options.
 
 
-H
Causes the file information and file type (see stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link encountered on the command line to be those of the file referenced by the link, not the link itself. If the referenced file does not exist, the file information and type will be for the link itself. File information of all symbolic links not on the command line is that of the link itself.
 
 
-h
An alias for the -L option. This option exists for backwards compatibility.
 
 
-L
Causes the file information and file type (see stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link to be those of the file referenced by the link, not the link itself. If the referenced file does not exist, the file information and type will be for the link itself.
 
 
-X
Permit find to be safely used in conjunction with xargs(1). If a file name contains any of the delimiting characters used by xargs, a diagnostic message is displayed on standard error, and the file is skipped. The delimiting characters include single (‘'’) and double (‘"’) quotes, backslash (‘\’), space, tab, and newline (‘\n’) characters. Consider using -print0 instead.
 
 
-x
Prevents find from descending into directories that have a device number different than that of the file from which the descent began.
It is not an error to specify more than one of the mutually exclusive options -H and -L. Where more than one of these options is specified, the last option given overrides the others.

PRIMARIES

-amin n
True if the difference between the file last access time and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full minute, is n minutes.
-anewer file
True if the current file has a more recent last access time than file.
-atime n
True if the difference between the file last access time and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full 24-hour period, is n 24-hour periods.
-cmin n
True if the difference between the time of last change of file status information and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full minute, is n minutes.
-cnewer file
True if the current file has a more recent last change time than file.
-ctime n
True if the difference between the time of last change of file status information and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full 24-hour period, is n 24-hour periods.
-delete
Delete found files and directories. Always returns true. This executes from the current working directory as find recurses down the tree. It will not attempt to delete a filename with a ‘/’ character in its pathname relative to ‘.’ for security reasons. Depth-first traversal processing is implied by this option. The -delete primary will fail to delete a directory if it is not empty. Following symlinks is incompatible with this option.
-depth
This primary always evaluates to true. The same as specifying the -d option.
-empty
True if the current file or directory is empty.
-exec utility [argument ...] ;
 
-exec utility [argument ...] {} +
Execute the specified utility. Optional arguments may be passed to the utility. The expression must be terminated by a semicolon (‘;’) or a plus sign (‘+’).
If terminated by a semicolon, the utility is executed once per path. If the string “{}” appears anywhere in the utility name or the arguments it is replaced by the pathname of the current file.
If terminated by a plus sign, the pathnames for which the primary is evaluated are aggregated into sets, and utility will be invoked once per set, similar to xargs(1). If any invocation exits with a non-zero exit status, then find will eventually do so as well, but this does not cause find to exit early. The string “{}” must appear, and must appear last. Each set is limited to no more than 5,000 pathnames, and is also limited such that the invocation of utility does not exceed ARG_MAX.
-execdir utility [argument ...] ;
Identical to the first form of the -exec primary with the exception that utility will be executed from the directory that holds the current file. The filename substituted for the string “{}” is not qualified.
-flags [-]flags
The flags are comma-separated symbolic file flags (see chflags(1) for a list of valid flag names). If the flags are preceded by a dash (‘-’), this primary evaluates to true if at least all specified flags are set in the file's flags. If the flags are not preceded by a dash, this primary evaluates to true if the flags specified exactly match those of the file.
-follow
This primary always evaluates to true. The same as specifying the -L option.
-fstype type
True if the file is contained in a file system of type type. Two special file system types are recognized: “local” and “rdonly”. These do not describe actual file system types; the former matches any file system physically mounted on the system where find is being executed whereas the latter matches any file system which is mounted read-only.
-group gname
True if the file belongs to the group gname. If gname is numeric and there is no such group name, then gname is treated as a group ID.
-iname pattern
Identical to the -name primary except that the matching is done in a case insensitive manner.
-inum n
True if the file has inode number n.
-links n
True if the file has n links.
-ls
This primary always evaluates to true. The following information for the current file is written to standard output: its inode number, size in 512-byte blocks, file permissions, number of hard links, owner, group, size in bytes, last modification time, and pathname. If the file is a block or character special file, the major and minor numbers will be displayed instead of the size in bytes. If the file is a symbolic link, the pathname of the linked-to file will be displayed preceded by “->”. The format is identical to that produced by “ls -dils”.
-maxdepth n
True if the current search depth is less than or equal to what is specified in n.
-mindepth n
True if the current search depth is at least what is specified in n.
-mmin n
True if the difference between the file last modification time and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full minute, is n minutes.
-mtime n
True if the difference between the file last modification time and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full 24-hour period, is n 24-hour periods.
-name pattern
True if the last component of the pathname being examined matches pattern, which may use any of the special characters documented in glob(7).
-newer file
True if the current file has a more recent last modification time than file.
-nogroup
True if the file belongs to an unknown group.
-nouser
True if the file belongs to an unknown user.
-ok utility [argument ...] ;
Identical to the -exec primary with the exception that find requests user affirmation for the execution of utility by printing a message to the terminal and reading a response. If the response is other than ‘y’ the command is not executed and the value of the ok expression is false.
-path pattern
True if the pathname being examined matches pattern, which may use any of the special characters documented in glob(7). Slashes (‘/’) are treated as normal characters and do not have to be matched explicitly.
-perm [-]mode
The mode may be either symbolic (see chmod(1)) or an octal number. If the mode is symbolic, a starting value of zero is assumed and the mode sets or clears permissions without regard to the process's file mode creation mask. If the mode is octal, only bits 07777 (S_ISUID | S_ISGID | S_ISTXT | S_IRWXU | S_IRWXG | S_IRWXO) of the file's mode bits participate in the comparison. If the mode is preceded by a dash (‘-’), this primary evaluates to true if at least all of the bits in the mode are set in the file's mode bits. If the mode is not preceded by a dash, this primary evaluates to true if the bits in the mode exactly match the file's mode bits. Note, the first character of a symbolic mode may not be a dash.
-print
This primary always evaluates to true. It prints the pathname of the current file to standard output, followed by a newline (‘\n’) character.
-print0
This primary always evaluates to true. It prints the pathname of the current file to standard output, followed by a null character, suitable for use with the -0 option to xargs(1).
-prune
This primary always evaluates to true. It causes find to not descend into the current file. Note, the -prune primary has no effect if the -d option was specified.
-size n[c]
True if the file's size, rounded up, in 512-byte blocks is n. If n is followed by a ‘c’, then the primary is true if the file's size is n bytes.
-type t
True if the file is of the specified type. Possible file types are as follows:
b
block special
c
character special
d
directory
f
regular file
l
symbolic link
p
FIFO
s
socket
-user uname
True if the file belongs to the user uname. If uname is numeric and there is no such user name, then uname is treated as a user ID.
-xdev
This primary always evaluates to true. The same as specifying the -x option.
All primaries which take a numeric argument allow the number to be preceded by a plus sign (‘+’) or a minus sign (‘-’). A preceding plus sign means “more than n”, a preceding minus sign means “less than n”, and neither means “exactly n”. Exceptions are the primaries mindepth and maxdepth.

OPERATORS

The primaries may be combined using the following operators. The operators are listed in order of decreasing precedence.
( expression )
This evaluates to true if the parenthesized expression evaluates to true.
! expression
This is the unary NOT operator. It evaluates to true if the expression is false.
expression -a expression
 
expression -and expression
 
expression expression
The logical AND operator. As it is implied by the juxtaposition of two expressions it does not have to be specified. The expression evaluates to true if both expressions are true. The second expression is not evaluated if the first expression is false.
expression -o expression
 
expression -or expression
The logical OR operator. The expression evaluates to true if either the first or the second expression is true. The second expression is not evaluated if the first expression is true.
Operators, primaries, and arguments to primaries must be separate arguments to find, i.e. they should be separated by whitespace.

EXIT STATUS

The find utility exits with a value of 0 on successful traversal of all path operands or with a value >0 if an error occurred.

EXAMPLES

Print out a list of all the files whose names end in “.c”:
$ find / -name '*.c'
Print out a list of all the files which are not both newer than “ttt” and owned by “wnj”:
$ find / \! \( -newer ttt -user wnj \)
Print out a list of all core files on local file systems:
$ find / \! -fstype local -prune -o -name '*.core'
Find all files in /usr/src ending in a dot and single digit, but skip directory /usr/src/gnu:
$ find /usr/src -path /usr/src/gnu -prune -o -name \*.[0-9]
Find and remove all *.jpg and *.gif files under the current working directory:
$ find . \( -name \*.jpg -o -name \*.gif \) -exec rm {} \;
or
$ find . \( -name \*.jpg -o -name \*.gif \) -print0 | xargs -0r rm

SEE ALSO

chflags(1), chmod(1), locate(1), ls(1), whereis(1), which(1), xargs(1), stat(2), fts(3), glob(7), symlink(7)

STANDARDS

The find utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”) specification.
The options [-dfhXx], primaries -amin, -anewer, -cmin, -cnewer, -delete, -empty, -execdir, -flags, -follow, -fstype, -iname, -inum, -ls, -maxdepth, -mindepth, -mmin, and -print0, and operators -or and -and, are extensions to that specification.
Historically, the -d, -L, and -x options were implemented using the primaries -depth, -follow, and -xdev. These primaries always evaluated to true. As they were really global variables that took effect before the traversal began, some legal expressions could have unexpected results. An example is the expression “-print -o -depth”. As -print always evaluates to true, the standard order of evaluation implies that -depth would never be evaluated. This is not the case.
Historic implementations of the -exec and -ok primaries did not replace the string “{}” in the utility name or the utility arguments if it had preceding or following non-whitespace characters. This version replaces it no matter where in the utility name or arguments it appears.

HISTORY

A find command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

CAVEATS

The special characters used by find are also special characters to many shell programs. In particular, the characters ‘*’, ‘[’, ‘]’, ‘?’, ‘(’, ‘)’, ‘!’, ‘\’, and ‘;’ may have to be escaped from the shell.
As file names may contain whitespace and shell metacharacters, passing the output of find to other programs requires some care:
$ find . -name \*.jpg | xargs rm
or
$ rm `find . -name \*.jpg`
would, given files “important .jpg” and “important”, remove “important”. Use the -print0 or -exec primaries instead.
As there is no delimiter separating options and file names or file names and the expression, it is difficult to specify files named “-xdev” or ‘!’. These problems are handled by the -f option and the getopt(3) ‘--’ construct.
January 3, 2017 OpenBSD-6.1