Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Starting from (notice the wildcards before and after "some text")

find . -type f -name '*some text*'

how can one exclude/ignore all hidden files and directories?

I've already been googling for far too long, came across some -prune and ! (exclamation mark) parameters, but no fitting (and parsimonious) example which just worked.

Piping | to grep would be an option and I'd also welcome examples of that; but primarily I'm interested in a brief one-liner (or a couple of stand-alone one-liners, illustrating different ways of achieving the same command-line goal) just using find.

ps: Find files in linux and exclude specific directories seems closely related, but a) is not accepted yet and b) is related-but-different-and-distinct, but c) may provide inspiration and help pinpoint the confusion!


find . \( ! -regex '.*/\..*' \) -type f -name "whatever", works. The regex looks for "anything, then a slash, then a dot, then anything" (i.e. all hidden files and folders including their subfolders), and the "!" negates the regex.

share|improve this question
Doesn't help with what you asked in your edit but take a look at my question and its answer here: and also the link in the answer. – user25656 Mar 26 '13 at 6:25

This prints all files that are descendants of your directory, skipping hidden files and directories:

find . -not -path '*/\.*'

So if you're looking for a file with some text in its name, and you want to skip hidden files and directories, run:

find . -not -path '*/\.*' -type f -name '*some text*'


The -path option runs checks a pattern against the entire path string. * is a wildcard, / is a directory separator, \. is a dot (it has to be escaped to avoid special meaning), and * is another wildcard. -not means don't select files that match this test.

I don't think that find is smart enough to avoid recursively searching hidden directories in the previous command, so if you need speed, use -prune instead, like this:

 find . -type d -path '*/\.*' -prune -o -not -name '.*' -type f -name '*some text*' -print
share|improve this answer
Note with the last one that you need that -print at the end! Also, not sure if -name '\.*' would be more efficient instead of -path` (because the path is searching subpaths, but these will be pruned out) – artfulrobot Apr 29 '14 at 11:18
What's the special meaning of . in this context? – frostschutz Jan 15 '15 at 15:40
@frostschutz The dot after find means the current directory: find will look at all files and directories under the current directory. The argument after path is a regular expression, where a dot would normally means "any character", to make it mean a literal dot we have to escape it with a backslash. The argument after -name isn't a regular expression, but it expands wildcards like ? and * like a shell does. – Flimm Jan 15 '15 at 17:23
find $DIR -not -path '*/\.*' -type f \( ! -iname ".*" \)

Excludes all hidden directories, and hidden files under $DIR

share|improve this answer
This is the perfect answer. It recursively finds all files but excludes line items for directories and hidden files. Thanks! – KyleFarris Oct 8 '15 at 5:41

You don't have to use find for that. Just use globstar in shell it-self, like:

ls **/*foo*

It works in bash4 and zsh. If you don't have it enabled, do it by shopt -s globstar.

share|improve this answer
You don't need ls for that! echo **/*foo* – Kevin Cox Mar 1 at 3:25

This is one of the few means of excludes dot-files that also works correctly on BSD, Mac and Linux:

find $PWD -name ".*" -prune -o -print
  • $PWD print the full path to the current directory so that the path does not start with ./
  • -name ".*" -prune matches any files or directories that start with a dot and then don't descend
  • -o -print means print the file name if the previous expression did not match anything. Using -print or -print0 causes all other expressions to not print by default.
share|improve this answer
Please explain / elaborate on "alarmingly complicated"; the answers already given and your answer seem to give evidence to the contrary...? – nutty about natty Mar 24 at 22:13
"alarmingly complicated" is probably excessive. I reworded the answer to get to the point. I think the answer I posted is difficult to understand and is hard to see without a very careful reading of the man page. If you are only using GNU find then there are more possible solutions. – eradman Mar 28 at 14:50
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The answer I originally posted as an "edit" to my original question above:

find . \( ! -regex '.*/\..*' \) -type f -name "whatever", works. The regex looks for "anything, then a slash, then a dot, then anything" (i.e. all hidden files and folders including their subfolders), and the "!" negates the regex.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.