acl_to_text - Linux


acl_to_text converts Access Control Lists (ACLs) into a text representation for easy analysis and modification. It’s commonly used in systems administration to manage file permissions, set auditing rules, and improve security.


acl_to_text [options] [file]...


  • -a, –access: Display access control lists for all accessible files.
  • -d, –default: Display default ACLs for accessible files.
  • -e, –expand: Expand ACLs to show both user and group permissions.
  • -f, –file-name: Name of the file to which the ACL will be converted.
  • -h, –help: Display help and exit.
  • -p, –preserve: Preserve extended attributes.
  • -r, –recursive: Recursively apply the operation to all files and subdirectories.
  • -s, –simple: Display ACLs in a simplified format.
  • -v, –verbose: Display verbose output.


Convert ACLs of all files in the current directory to text:

acl_to_text -a

Expand ACLs of a specific file to show both user and group permissions:

acl_to_text -e /path/to/file

Recursively convert ACLs of all files and subdirectories:

acl_to_text -r /path/to/directory

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Ensure you have appropriate permissions to access the files you’re trying to convert.
  • Invalid Format: If you encounter errors, ensure that the ACLs are in a valid format.


Combine with find and xargs for complex operations:

find /path/to/directory -type f -exec acl_to_text -e {} \;

Related Commands

  • setfacl: Set ACLs for files and directories.
  • getfacl: Get ACLs for files and directories.

For official documentation and additional resources, visit: