People seem to have already asked about indexing file system:

but I want to actually just index a certain working directory and be able to do that manually (so that I make sure my search is correct). Basically, I am on working a project and I need be able to search in contents quickly. I already use locate and updatedb commands, but those search for file names only. I am looking for similar commands but file contents.

Just in case you are wondering why I don't use tracker also like answered in the two posts, tracker have a set of prespecified folders to search in them, and whenever you make a search, you search in all of them. What I want is to be able to search in every project separately.

  • what kind of projects are you trying to index. are they docs or code?
    – binW
    Dec 28, 2010 at 6:59

4 Answers 4


You can try recoll, it is available in the repositories, it gives you a lot of control over the folders you want to index and search and where you want to store the index database, you can use multiple databases too, you can use the advanced search to return results from a specific folder.

See some of its features here, You can run it from the command line passing the query and other control terms to it, see the short manual here. Here the full manual.

  • That seems to be great, I will give it a try.
    – Rafid
    Dec 28, 2010 at 9:44

You can use ack-grep (a cli tool), it mainly useful for code projects if that's your use case.


The Silver Searcher

A code searching tool similar to ack, with a focus on speed.



There's always google desktop - if you can bear the thought.

  • Like I said in my question, I want the search to be for a specific folder, and can be manually updated. Google desktop search all the hard drive, and cannot be manually updated, so if I don't find something in it, it doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, especially when it comes to programming when you are supposed to always make edits.
    – Rafid
    Dec 28, 2010 at 9:43
  • Google Desktop has been discontinued in 2011. Jul 14, 2017 at 23:08

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