I figure there has to be a way of making ls only display non-directories, but the man page doesn't make it obvious

ls -p | grep -v /

Using ls -p tells ls to append a slash to entries which are a directory, and using grep -v / tells grep to return only lines not containing a slash.

  • I checked this one because it's my favorite answer (while i did upvote all of them), but now trying to find a way to put it in columns and reverse the order of output... – thinksinbinary Aug 12 '16 at 12:11
  • "You can use 1 switch for single column list" sorry, i did try to figure out what you meant by that, i would appreciate and example/explanation if you would, i only know what a switch is in regards to C programming – thinksinbinary Aug 19 '16 at 0:30
  • @sdkks You don't need the 1 switch when piping the output as it will default to single column in that situation. If that is what you were meaning. – thomasrutter Aug 21 '16 at 23:27
  • @thinksinbinary not sure how to make it multi column but you could search for or ask your own separate question and someone will know. – thomasrutter Aug 21 '16 at 23:28
  • this is not a good solution, it does cut out files containing / in its path: mkdir a;touch a/b; ls a/*| grep -v / – a much better solution for your problem is to use find – rubo77 Apr 10 '20 at 7:45

You may try this:

find . -maxdepth 1 -not -type d

And map this to a special alias.

But if you're really keen on using the ls command, here:

ls -p | egrep -v /$

  • find . -maxdepth 1 -not -type d | xargs ls - literally make ls show only the non-directory files. – Wil Nov 3 '20 at 23:55


ls -lAh | grep -v '^d'

This method lists in

  • -l Long list format
  • -A Displays almost all (show hidden files but don't show . and ..)
  • -h Human readable file sizes

while grep

  • -v Don't show matching records
  • Regular expression filter ^d - Those start with letter d (for directory) i.e drwxrwxr-x <some file details> <foldername>

If you don't want to type every time, you may make it into an alias for your bash/shell profile.


I saw in your( @thinksinbinary ) comment on the answer by @thomasrutter , that you wanted to be able to print them in reverse order and in columns. You probably have already figured it out or moved on, but here it is:

ls -pr | grep -v / | column
  • -p adds the forward slash ('/') to the directory names
  • -r reverses the order of output
  • -v lets grep do an inverse search to print everything except the directories (everything that doesn't have the '/' that -p put there)
  • "column puts it in columns" - Captain Obvious
  • 1
    i do think it's cool that on the ubuntu forum people still comment on and read your posts after a long time. I've been wanting to get back into linux in order to learn assembly and operating systems since doing so on windows is much more difficult. Thanks! – thinksinbinary Oct 30 '19 at 22:22
ls -F | grep -v /

Above command displays files, But it includes symlinks, pipes, etc. If you want to eliminate them too, you can use one of the flags mentioned below.

ls -F appends symbols to filenames. These symbols show useful information about files.

ls -F | grep -Ev '/|@|*|=|>|\|'

Above command displays only files.


You might want to use du instead of ls. It will only output files. Then just awk '{print $2}' to output only the file path.

You have to use the -d option with du to limit depth. http://linuxcommand.org/lc3_man_pages/du1.html

  • However, this would show the files even in subdirectories of subdirectories. – Kulfy Oct 31 '20 at 10:18
  • That is true. You can add the -d flag to limit the depth though. I have added an edit to my response to reflect that. – mixcocam Nov 2 '20 at 15:15
  • Yeah. But that would still show directories, for example, Desktop when run from $HOME and won't be an answer to this question since the questioner wants to list files only. – Kulfy Nov 3 '20 at 13:20

If you want only files and don't want to perform any operation on them, then run:

ls -lA | grep -v '^d'

Or, if you want to iterate on each file, then for me this works:

ls *.?*

The easy way is the best way. Try with:

ls *.???
  • 2
    A file does not necessarily have an extension with three characters only. Linux even accepts files with no extension at all! – BeastOfCaerbannog Sep 4 '20 at 6:29
  • bzzt. mkdir foo.bar ; touch foo.bar{1,2,3}; touch a b c; ls *.??? shows the contents of the folder foo.bar and none of the local files. – Wil Nov 3 '20 at 23:52

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