How to Find Files in the Command Line

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The default GUI file search is not the most useful way to find files in Ubuntu.

With just a few steps you can find files easily and quickly using the command line.

Locate

The easy, quick command is called “locate”. To use this command at the terminal you simply type the following:

$ locate -i searchstring

This will search for all files and directories with “searchstring” in the name, and -i means the search is not case sensitive.

Find

Much more powerful command available to you is called “find”.

You can use “find” for purposes like where to look, what criteria to use in its search, and what actions to take once you have found what you are looking for.

The syntax for “find” is:

$ find <where to start searching> <search criteria> <actions to take>

This would be useful if you know you edited a file recently but don’t know where you put it, or have to find a log file for a program that crashed.

Catfish is a GUI Option

For those of you who simply can’t do without a Graphical User Interface, you can find the program Catfish in the repositories — this enables you to run both locate and find from a graphical front-end, but is very limited in options.Think of Catfish as equal to Windows Search. If you want the full power of find, you’ll need to run it from the command line, using the quick tips above.

 

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