When I type something like:

find . -name *foo* | ls -lah

it returns the same result as a plain ls command, as though it had no input.


ls -lah $( find . -name *foo* )

works well, but only when the find command has results.

Is it possible to pipe to ls ?

  • You need to specify whether you want to ls the files inside each find result, or you want to ls the find results directly. If it is the latter, then u/Dennis's answer is the correct answer.
    – rmutalik
    Dec 10, 2019 at 19:29

4 Answers 4


You can use -exec with find command.

find . -name '*foo*' -exec ls -lah {} \;
  • 1
    Thank you for your solution. There is no pipe but it's an elegant method. If there aren't found any results with 'find' it doesn't display anything (what is in fact good).
    – Lasall
    May 21, 2011 at 7:22
  • 8
    A slightly better way: find . -name '*foo*' -exec ls -lah {} +
    – jlliagre
    May 22, 2011 at 3:35
  • 2
    I tried to find out why adding a + was better. man less and searching for -exec command {} + found it. Adding + to the end of the command multiple arguments to be appended before executing the command. So much fewer commands are run.
    – PatS
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:22
  • According to the man page: "There are unavoidable security problems surrounding use of the -exec action; you should use the -execdir option instead." The option -execdir is similar to -exec but runs the command from the subdirectory containing the matched file.
    – Daniel
    Apr 14, 2022 at 10:13
find . -name *foo* | xargs -r ls -lah

That should work.

  • 1
    Thank you for that solution. But how can I deal with whitespaces?
    – Lasall
    May 21, 2011 at 6:59
  • 3
    @Lasall the preferred way is to use find's -exec + (or -exec \;). xargs is only safe to use with the -0 option, which means that you have to tell whatever command you pipe to xargs to delimit the items with NULL-bytes (\0). With find you can do that with -print0. xargs's -0 and find's -print0 are not standard, but -exec is, so if portability is ever an issue, use find with -exec.
    – geirha
    May 26, 2011 at 23:29
  • So simply brilliant! Thanks! Didn't know the "-r" before. Life saver!!
    – GTodorov
    Jun 11, 2020 at 3:47

Try this:

find  . -name *.bak -ls
  • I would just add the ability to ignore anything that isn't a regular file. find . -name '*.bak' -type f -ls. Dec 23, 2020 at 21:37

This works with filenames with spaces or unusual characters, and ls can sort all the files:

find . -name *foo* -print0 | xargs -0 ls -lah

-print0 means that filenames such as file foo 1 will get output from find followed by null. The "-0" argument to xargs tells it to expect this sort of input, so filenames with spaces get piped to the ls command correctly.

The xargs construction is in some ways better than find etc -exec ls {} + because all the filenames get sent to ls at once, so if you want to sort them all by timestamp (using ls), something like this works:

find . -iname *pdf -print0 | xargs -0 ls -ltr

On a NetBSD system, "-printx" is also an option (this seems a useful argument to me, but whatever, we have xargs -0 and it's okay):

find . -name *foo* -printx | xargs ls -lah` # not for Ubuntu
  • This did the trick for me for being able to actually use the sorting functions of ls, for those trying to do this. Oct 16, 2018 at 16:18

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