How to Use Recursive ‘ls’ in Linux

In Linux, the “ls” command provides a quick and concise overview of files in a directory. It lets you view the valuable information about files and directories such as their permissions, attributes, etc. Although it is a basic command, it is an excellent asset for system administrators and users when combined with subcommands and options.

For instance, you can use “ls” to check the contents of directories and their subdirectories in a single output. However, you need to use the command with the recursive option that many people don’t know about. So, here is a short blog about the simple way to use the recursive “ls” in Linux.

How to Use the Recursive “Ls” in Linux

To modify the “ls” command to display a recursive file listing, you must use the “R” option with it.

As shown in the previous image, it lists the content of all the available directories and subdirectories that are present in your currently selected directory.

You can also recursively view the file, directories, and their permission attributes using the “l” option in the syntax as follows:

Suppose you want to know the permissions of various directories in your home directory. It can be time-consuming, but you can use the previous command instead.

Moreover, the previous methods will list both files and directories. If you intend to use the recursive “ls” just for displaying the directories, combine it with the “grep” command.


Listing the contents of directories is a fundamental task of Linux users, and it is done using the “ls” command. However, if you often want to see the other files and subdirectories inside a directory, you can use the recursive option. Hence, we explained the “ls” and the “recursive” option through various examples which you can also use in your system.


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