How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Finding Files with Specialized Linux Apps
Finding Files with Specialized Linux Apps
How to Find Files and Folders on Linux - PC - The uplifting news is there are a few approaches to do it which mean that everyone use method that suit.

Unless you’re a stickler whose files are all determinedly labeled and organized, chances are you’ve needed to look for a document at any rate once in your life. In case you’re another Linux user, you might be wondering how to find files on Linux. The uplifting news is there are a few approaches to do it, which means that everyone can choose the method that suits them best.

Generally speaking, there are two types of applications that help you discover files and folders on Linux. The first are those that search the live filesystem every time. The second sort are applications that build an index of files, then perform looks on the list.  In this article, you’ll find a balanced mix of both, and you can combine them depending on your needs.

How to Find Files in the Terminal:

Yes, I know…you’re not a fan of the command-line interface. That’s cool – keep reading and you’ll find applications that are more to your liking. Be that as it may, don’t think you can get away from the charges. Most of the apps on this list are just graphical interfaces for find and/or locate, so you’ll still be using them, only not directly.


Let’s start with the most important command. Find is one of the essential Linux utilities. It looks for a string in the directories you’ve set according to parameters (“switches”) that you’ve included. This example:

find /home/username/Documents -iname “writ*” -type f

means that you’re performing a case-insensitive (-iname) search for files (-type f) in the Documents folder, and their filenames begin with “writ”. As you can see, find supports wildcards, and you can also use them to find files by their extension (for example, “*.pdf” to find all PDF files in a folder).

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

You can search for empty files with the -empty option, or find files by size and modification time. Find supports regular expressions, and if you want to search file contents, you can combine it with grep. To learn more, check the official documentation (or just type man find in the terminal).

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Find utilizes an alternate approach.  It depends on the updated utility which makes a database of your files and periodically updates it via cron scheduling. This let’s find know which documents are right now display on your filesystem. You can likewise refresh the database physically at whatever point you need.

Locate can search for files by name, and you can use wildcards and regular expressions in your query. For instance:

locate -ei grub.cfg

will list the paths to all existing (-e) files called “grub.cfg”. The -i option stands for “case-insensitive”. If you don’t know the full name of the file you’re looking for, just type a part of it, and locate will display all files with the word in their name.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux


This command has a very specific purpose, so you probably won’t use it every day. Whereis demonstrates to you the area of the source, pairs, and client manuals for a given application. This implies you won’t run whereis when you need to find a random text file. You will, however, use it when you need to check where GIMP or Firefox keep their configuration and executable files.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

You can run where is without any options to get a list of all files, or add switches for their respective functions (-b for binaries, -s for source, and -m for manuals).

How to Use a File Manager to Find Files:

Most file managers for Linux can filter files by name or perform basic searches. If you don’t need any advanced parameters, this is a fast method that does the job.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Access the search function (highlighted in green on the screenshot) by pressing Ctrl+F or by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the toolbar. The search is case-insensitive,  so you don’t need to stress over promoting your questions. You can channel records by sort and area, in spite of the fact that the last is to some degree restricted as far as what you can change.

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How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Dolphin’s search responds to the same keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+F), or you can open it from the Edit menu. It gives you a chance to channel records by name, substance and area (current organizer or the entire filesystem). If you have enabled file indexing with Baloo, Dolphin will be able to find files by type and modification date.


How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Krusader is popular among KDE users as a Dolphin alternative thanks to its abundance of advanced options. Krusader’s file search functionality is two-fold: it works as a GUI for both find and locate commands.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

The previous gives you a chance to change many points of interest, for example, record sort, included or avoided indexes, size, possession, and document authorizations. Krusader can search for keywords within files and even archives (like ZIP and TAR), and you can use regular expressions to customize your query. If you’ve never tried Krusader, right now is an ideal opportunity to give it a possibility.


How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Thunar integrates with the file search utility called Catfish to provide fast yet detailed results. You can filter files by type and modification date, and search file contents as well as their names. Catfish supports fuzzy (incomplete) filename matching, so you don’t have to know the exact name of the file you’re looking for.

How to Search for Files with Launchers:

Launchers are typically utilized for, well, launching apps. However, you can likewise utilize them to discover documents by empowering different modules.  They’re fast and useful– you just start typing and the results pop right up. There are many launchers for Linux; we’ll focus on just a few examples.

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How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Kupfer is a simple launcher available in the repositories of Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Arch Linux. It comes with a bunch of plugins that let you find files with the locate command, and it can create its own catalog of indexed folders.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Kupfer is an action-based launcher. After typing in your search keyword, Kupfer will list actions that you can perform on/with the results. These depend on the plugins you’ve enabled, and you can activate them by selecting them in the drop-down menu.


How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

KRunner is the default KDE launcher that you can configure in the System Settings – Plasma Search dialogue.

How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Like Kupfer, it supports several plugins that help you not only find files, but also interact with other Linux applications and parts of the Plasma desktop environment. KRunner can search YouTube and Wikipedia, show your recent documents, find files by type, and much more.


How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Albert is inspired by the Alfred launcher for OS X. Although it looks simple, Albert has plenty of options to play with. It also has – you guessed it – plugins, with “Files” being the most important here.

How to Find Files and Folders on LinuxThis plugin lets you create an index of directories that Albert will monitor and rely on. You can enable fuzzy (incomplete) matching and choose which types of files should be indexed. To find files, simply run Albert by pressing the designated keyboard shortcut and start typing your query.


How to Find Files and Folders on Linux

Another Alfred-inspired  launcher for Linux, Mutate doesn’t have the same number of alternatives as Albert. Still, it highlights numerous search types, including file search.  You can search for documents by name and by file extension. The Preferences dialogue is somewhat unusual, because it shows which scripts Mutate is using, but doesn’t let you configure much apart from keywords and keyboard shortcuts.

About the author

Wikitechy Editor

Wikitechy Editor

Wikitechy Founder, Author, International Speaker, and Job Consultant. My role as the CEO of Wikitechy, I help businesses build their next generation digital platforms and help with their product innovation and growth strategy. I'm a frequent speaker at tech conferences and events.

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