How do I list all the files in a directory and their recursive file sizes?


I want to see the sizes 'rolled up' to the parent directories in the directory listed. I don't want to see the child directories or their contents or sizes.

  • 1
    You mean that you want to see the total size (sum) of all the files in a folder, like right-clicking on a folder on your desktop and selecting 'properties' ? – Pavlos G. Aug 18 '11 at 12:09
  • Are you looking for software which helps you to find big files, or something to get a (collapsable) file tree? – Lekensteyn Aug 18 '11 at 12:09
  • Hi @Pavlos G - I mean the sum for each of the directories in the directory I'm currently in - not the sum for the overall directory. – hawkeye Aug 18 '11 at 12:14
  • @J G - Check my update ;-) – Pavlos G. Aug 18 '11 at 12:21

I guess the easiest way is by typing ls -l, or ls -lh which will provide the file size in human-readable format (KB, MB, etc).

If 'recursively' means listing all the subsequent folders, e.g.:

/foo/bar/ ....

Then you should also add parameter R, like ls -lR or ls -lhR

More information for ls can be found by typing man ls


The following command as Lekensteyn proposed will probably do the job:

du -h --max-depth=1 <folder>

-h is for human-readable
--apparent-size is another way to display sizes as already stated
--max-depth is the level of subfolders you want to go down to.

  • What to use for max depth? -1? – dylanh724 Dec 16 '17 at 6:30
apt-get install ncdu

enter image description here

It is interactive too so if you want to check on a sub folder just UP, DOWN, and Enter to it.

  • Just what I was looking for. Thank you very much! – Mathlight Sep 6 '16 at 19:21
  • Maybe the most amazing software recommendation I have ever got – SomethingSomething Sep 14 '17 at 10:35
  • this should be the approved answer – dvdmn Apr 29 at 14:38

To get the total size of a directory and all children

du -hs directory/*
  • I'd like the next level down from that - the recursive sizes of all the first level children. – hawkeye Aug 18 '11 at 12:19
  • 1
    I'll edit my answer. You need to use du -h directory/* – Richard Holloway Aug 18 '11 at 12:26

Also check out tree. It is not installed by default but is the repositories.


richard@legend:~$ tree Applications/ -s
├── [           4096]  AlexFTPS-1.0.2
│   ├── [      31232]  AlexPilotti.FTPS.Client.dll
│   ├── [     274432]  C5.dll
│   ├── [       1457]  C5-License
│   ├── [      35147]  COPYING
│   ├── [       7639]  COPYING.LESSER
│   ├── [         70]  ftps
│   ├── [      28672]  ftps.exe
│   ├── [      98304]  Plossum CommandLine.dll
│   ├── [       1557]  Plossum-License
│   └── [       2560]  README
└── [           4096]  src
    └── [     180849]  AlexFTPS_bin_1.0.2.zip

More options can be found in the man page.

  • Should sizes be shown? – hawkeye Aug 18 '11 at 12:15
  • J G: The -s shows the sizes. – Richard Holloway Aug 18 '11 at 12:17
  • 1
    Shows the size of the directory record rather than full directory size. – Steven Lu Aug 3 '13 at 22:40
  • -h show size in human readable way, e.g tree -s – Eric Wang Jul 22 at 7:09

Since you don't specifically mention you need a terminal-based solution, I think baobab a.k.a. Disk Usage Analyzer is missing from the list.

It is installed in Ubuntu by default and does exactly what you want in a nice graphical UI with the ability to drill down the directory hierarchy.

Apart from displaying a list of directories with their sizes, it is also showing a rings or treemap chart of filesystem usage, which is extremely useful for visualising the directories which take up the most space.

baobab the Disk Usage Analyzer


A terminal solution is the du command:

du --all --human-readable --apparent-size

(shorthand: du -ah --apparent-size)

du displays the disk usage for each file and directory. The options explained:

  • --all, -a - show sizes for files as well, not just directories
  • --human-readable, -h - show sizes in a human readable format, e.g. 10K (10 kilobytes), 10 (10 bytes)
  • --apparent-size - show the actual file size, not the sizes as used by the disk.
  • I just wanted the first-level children – hawkeye Aug 18 '11 at 12:23
  • 2
    @hawkeye for 1st level you can use --max-depth=1 – nikoskip Feb 9 '15 at 15:36
  • 4
    @nikoskip nice tip! Also nice to know is the shorthand, --max-depth=1 can be shortened to -d1. – Lekensteyn Feb 10 '15 at 17:49
  • how to get all of these in a decending order of size.. – kRazzy R Nov 15 '17 at 19:33
  • how do I view the contents and empty : /dev/sda5 ext4 430G 381G 27G 94% / my laptop is less than 1 month old and it is so full which it makes no sense – kRazzy R Nov 15 '17 at 20:32

This seems to do the trick when simlinks are involved.

ls -LRlh
  • given answer didnt give me details for simlinks(ls -lhR), the numbers listed next to it didnt correspond to the right size of each of the values either. My answer gave me a hierarchy with a defined tree structure and the correct answer....OR are you referring to some other upvoted answer? – Mulki Apr 20 '16 at 16:56
  • Down-vote retracted, upvoted. Please edit and put the comment in the answer... Thanks for the explanation. ;-) – Fabby Apr 20 '16 at 20:47

To get a sorted list put everything in MB and sort :

du -m * | sort -n

Or use tool such as DiskReport to generate a report of full disk tree.


Another terminal solution with find and sort (by filesize, column 1)

$ find . -maxdepth 1 ! -path . -printf "%s %p\n" | sort -n -k1                              
178 ./somefile.txt
219 ./somefile2.txt
4096 ./c
4096 ./cs2
4096 ./perl
4096 ./python
4096 ./random
4096 ./sh
  • This doesn't show the size of the directory. – muru Aug 20 '15 at 6:59

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