dir - Linux


The dir command in Linux is used to list the contents of directories. While similar to the ls command, dir by default formats its output differently, listing the contents in a columnar format. It is particularly useful for quickly viewing the directory contents in a straightforward, simple listing format and is mainly used in conjunction with scripts and batch processing.


dir [OPTION]... [FILE]...
  • [OPTION]: Represents optional flags that can modify the behavior of the dir command.
  • [FILE]: File or directories to list. If not specified, dir will list the current directory.


  • -a, --all: Includes hidden files (those beginning with .) in the listing.
  • -l: Uses a long listing format, showing detailed information like permissions, number of links, owner, group, size, and time of last modification.
  • --author: Displays the author of each file.
  • -c: Sorts files by the timestamp of changes to file status information.
  • -d, --directory: Treats directories themselves, not their contents.
  • -h, --human-readable: Shows file sizes in a human-readable format (e.g., KB, MB).
  • -r, --reverse: Reverses the order of the sort to get outputs in descending order.
  • -t: Sorts by time of the last modification.
  • --help: Displays help information about the dir command.
  • --version: Shows the version information of the dir command.


  1. Simple Directory Listing:


    Lists the contents of the current directory.

  2. Listing Hidden Files:

    dir -a

    Includes hidden files in the listing.

  3. Long Listing Format:

    dir -l

    Displays detailed information about each file and directory.

  4. Sort by Modification Time:

    dir -lt

    Lists files sorted by the time of last modification, displaying the list in long format.

  5. Human-Readable Sizes and Reverse Order:

    dir -lhr

    Lists files in long format with file sizes in human-readable form, and in reverse order.

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Users might encounter permission issues viewing directories. To resolve, check the directory permissions or use sudo for necessary permissions.
  • Output Overwhelming: For directories with many files, the output can be overwhelming. Use the less command to make it manageable:
    dir | less


Combine dir with other commands to perform complex tasks:

  • Count Number of Files in a Directory:
    dir -1 | wc -l
  • List Files and Redirect Output to a File:
    dir > file_list.txt
  • ls: Similar to dir but with more formatting options.
  • find: For searching files in a directory hierarchy.
  • grep: Useful for filtering output when combined with dir.

For more detailed information, you can explore the man page with man dir or the GNU Core Utilities documentation online.