I have 348 zip files and I want to find a file that is in one of the zip files, unzip -l doesn't work with wild cards?

How can I list content of all .zip files and grep through the merged list of all files contained in the zips?


Using zipinfo is a fine solution here. However, in general whenever you want to apply a command to a list of files and the command doesn’t accept a list of files, you can use a for loop:

for file in *.zip; do
    unzip -l "$file"
done \
| grep "\.zip\|setup"

If the file you are searching for has spaces in it like: your file, in the grep regular expression you need to escape every space with a backslash like grep "\.zip\|your\ file".

  • Works perfectly the only problem is that it doesn't show the name of the zip, – Eduard Florinescu Oct 5 '12 at 15:16
  • I edited you post and added regular expression to display also the filename where setup is found, +1 and accept – Eduard Florinescu Oct 5 '12 at 15:23
  • Oh yes, I’d forgotten the quotes around the argument to unzip, how embarrassing. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 6 '12 at 8:58
  • 1
    @JaySullivan Don't use this code, it will fail for paths containing spaces. Never pipe the output of ls. You could use find instead. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 27 '16 at 18:21

You can use zipinfo. It is included in the default Ubuntu installation. Check the manual page for more info.

For example, to look for a pattern setup in a bunch of zip files in current directory, use this command:

find ./ -iname *zip 2> /dev/null -print0 | xargs -0 zipinfo | grep setup
  • I get a caution: filename not matched: case1.zip... caution: filename not matched: case348.zip for every zip, tested on two Ubuntu OSs, 11.10 and 12.04. – Eduard Florinescu Oct 6 '12 at 5:24
  • @EduardFlorinescu Try the updated answer. Though the answer was working for me – Anwar Oct 6 '12 at 5:39
  • the problem is that the file might contain that setup and it puts the same error, although it works like this: zipinfo -l * | grep "setup" – Eduard Florinescu Oct 6 '12 at 5:42
  • I edited the answer. I think it is more robust now – Anwar Oct 6 '12 at 5:45
  • 1
    Thanks, +1 for effort, but still it will not work if zip file has spaces in its name. – Eduard Florinescu Oct 6 '12 at 5:48

To list the files in a zip archive you can use the following command.

unzip -l

To grep a compressed archive you should use the compressed archive utilities built to work with that type of archive format.

For zip archives:

zipgrep --help  
usage: zipgrep [egrep_options] pattern zipfile [members...]
Uses unzip and egrep to search the zip members for a string or pattern.

For tar archives:

zgrep --help
Usage: /bin/zgrep [OPTION]... [-e] PATTERN [FILE]...
Look for instances of PATTERN in the input FILEs, using their
uncompressed contents if they are compressed.

OPTIONs are the same as for 'grep'.

There are a few other tools that work with archives as well. You can pipe the out put into grep to do the same thing.

zcat my.archive.zip | grep "some text"

Or you can use the search functionality of these tools


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