ls manpage says:

List  information  about  the FILEs (the current directory by
default).  Sort entries alphabetically if none of -cftuvSUX nor --sort
is specified.


-a, --all    do not ignore entries starting with .


-1     list one file per line.


/bin/ls -a1

lists entries alphabetically by the filename with any leading . removed, which is not alphabetically.

The sort command does the same.

Is there any way to get ls to work the normal way (with . files first - which isn't alphabetic either)?

  • 4
    The period isn't in the alphabet, hence it's locale-dependent, per steeldriver's answer. – wjandrea Mar 14 at 12:54
  • You do understand that files and folders that start with . are hidden, correct? – Terrance Mar 14 at 13:19
  • 1
    I think that's why the OP uses the -a option. – Arronical Mar 14 at 14:44
  • It's doing exactly what it says in the man page: sorting the files alphabetically. It sounds like you want them sorted in ASCIIbetical order instead. – Mark Mar 14 at 21:55

The order is determined by the collation sequence of your locale.

Ex. in my default locale (which is en_CA.UTF-8)

$ ls -A1

whereas in the C locale


(I used -A instead of -a to eliminate the . and .. directories).

Another way to get the order you want might be to use the -v (version sort) option as suggested in Grouping hidden files and directories with ls - although that's not really what it is intended for:

  -v     natural sort of (version) numbers within text

Since ls is almost certainly already aliased inside your .bashrc file, you could simply modify the alias(es) there to include the -v.

  • None of my LC_ variables are set. I'm surprised that the default does something complicated rather something simple. LC_ALL=C now in my startup files. – David Ledger Mar 14 at 12:47
  • 1
    @DavidLedger to see your locale settings, type locale (they don't appear explicitly as environment variables unless you set them as such) – steeldriver Mar 14 at 12:50
  • Yes, that was set to en_US.UTF-8 I'm a shell person since '83, so locale generally makes no difference at all. Thanks. – David Ledger Mar 14 at 12:58
  • Try adding export LC_ALL=C to your .profile. – John Wiersba Mar 14 at 21:29

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