How to Count Files in Directory in Linux


2 min read

Although not very often, there are times when you need to find out how many files are in a given directory. For example, if you run out of inodes on your Linux system, you’ll need to find which directory contains thousands or millions of files.

In this article, we will show you several different ways to find the number of files in a directory in Linux.

Count Files in Directory

The simplest way to count files in a directory is to list one file per line with ls and pipe the output to wc to count the lines:

ls -1U DIR_NAME | wc -l

The command above will give you a sum of all files, including directories and symlinks. The -1 option means list one file per line and -U tells ls to do not sort the output which makes the execution of the command faster.

ls -1U command doesn’t count hidden files (dotfiles).

If you want to count only files and not include the directories use the following:

ls -1Up DIR_NAME | grep -v / | wc -l

The -p option forces ls to append slash (/) indicator to directories. The output is piped to the grep -v command that exclude the directories.

To have more control over what files are listed, use the find command instead of ls:

find DIR_NAME -maxdepth 1 -type f | wc -l

-type f option tells find to list only files (including dotfiles), and -maxdepth 1 limit search to the first-level directory.

Recursively Count Files in Directory

To recursively count files in directory run the find command as follows:

find DIR_NAME -type f | wc -l

Another command that can be used to count files is tree that lists contents of directories in a tree-like format:


The last line of output will show the total number of files and directories listed:

15144 directories, 91311 files


We have shown you how to count files in directory using the ls, find and tree commands.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.