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LR(1) General Commands Manual LR(1)


list files, recursively


lr [-0 | -F | -l [-TA | -TC | -TM] | -S | -f fmt]
[-B | -D] [-H | -L] [-1AGPQXdhsx] [-U | -W | -o ord]
[-e regex] [-t test] [-C [color:]path] path ...


lr is a versatile tool to generate file listings with configurable formatting, ordering and filtering.

When no path is given or path is an empty string, the current directory is used by default.

The special path argument ‘-’ makes lr read file names from standard input, instead of traversing path. Likewise, the special path argument @file makes lr read file names from file.

By default, lr traverses directories before their entries. When -D is used, the subdirectories (and files) are traversed first. When -B is used, each level of depth is traversed before moving deeper.

The options are as follows:

Output filenames separated by NUL bytes. Likewise, read input filenames separated by NUL bytes.
Don't go below one level of directories.
Don't list files starting with a dot.
Use breadth first traversal. For each depth of the directory tree, files are sorted and printed, then the next depth is looked at.
Behaves as if path was passed like an ordinary argument, but overrides the color of the file names to the number color which must be between 0 and 255 (default: 2, green).

Implies -GG.

Use depth first traversal. prune will not work, but entries and total are computed on the fly.
Output filenames and an indicator of their file type (one of ‘*/=>@|’).
Colorize output to TTY. Use twice to force colorized output. If the environment variable NO_COLOR is set, colors are never used.
Only follow symlinks on command line (default: don't follow symlinks).
Follow all symlinks.
Quote file names using Austin Group #249 syntax $'...' (implies -Q).
Quote file names (default for output to TTY).
Output inspired by BSD stat(1) (implies -Q).
With -l, print atime.
With -l, print ctime.
With -l, print mtime. This is the default.
Don't sort results, print during traversal.
Sort results by name and print during traversal. (This is subtly different from sorting by file name with -on as it prints directories directly before their contents.)
Output OSC 8 hyperlinks to TTY. Use twice to force hyperlinks.
Don't enter directories.
Only show files where basename matches the POSIX ERE regex.
Custom formatting, see FORMATTING.
Print human readable size for -l (also %s).
Long output a la ‘ls -l’ (implies -Q).
Sort according to ord, see SORT ORDER.
Strip directory prefix passed on command line.
Only show files matching the expression test, see TESTS. Multiple occurrences of -t and -e are regarded as a conjunction.
Don't enter other filesystems.


lr format strings support the following escape sequences:

, \b, \f, \n, \r, \v
Special characters as in C
Byte with one, two or three-digit octal value
Byte with one or two-digit hexadecimal value
A plain ‘%’
File size in bytes
File size, with human readable unit
File size in 512-byte blocks
File size in 1024-byte blocks
Path depth
Device number (stat.st_dev)
Device ID for special files (stat.st_rdev)
Inode number
One space character for every depth level
Full path (%P if -s is used)
Full path without command line argument prefix
Symlink target
Number of hardlinks
File indicator type symbol (one of ‘*/=>@|’)
File basename (everything after last /)
, %C-, %T-
relative age for atime/ctime/mtime.
x, %Cx, %Tx
result of strftime(3) for %x on atime/ctime/mtime
Octal file permissions
ls-style symbolic file permissions
ls-style symbolic file type (‘bcdfls’)
Group name
Numeric gid
User name
Numeric uid
Number of entries in directories
Total size used by accepted files in directories (only with -D)
Type of the filesystem the file resides on
Linux-only: Print a combination of ‘#’ for files with security capabilities, ‘+’ for files with an ACL, ‘@’ for files with other extended attributes


Sort order is string consisting of the following letters. Uppercase letters reverse sorting. Default sort order is ‘n’.

path depth
file extension
inode number
file name
directory name
file size
file type. This sorts all directories before other files.
file name as version numbers (sorts ‘2’ before ‘10’)

E.g. ‘Sn’ sorts first by size, smallest last, and then by name (in case sizes are equal).


lr tests are given by the following EBNF:
<expr>     ::= <expr> || <expr>  -- disjunction
             | <expr> && <expr>  -- conjunction
             | <expr> ? <expr> : <expr>  -- ternary operator
             | ! <expr>          -- negation
             | ( <expr )
             | <timeprop> <numop> <dur>
             | <numprop> <numop> <num>
             | <strprop> <strop> <str>
             | <typetest>
             | <modetest>
             | prune             -- do not traverse into subdirectories
             | print             -- always true value
             | skip              -- always false value
             | color <num>       -- always true value, override 256-color

<timeprop> ::= atime | ctime | mtime

<numprop>  ::= depth | dev | entries | gid | inode
             | links | mode | rdev | size | total | uid

<numop>    ::= <= | < | >= | > | == | = | !=

<dur>      ::= "./path"          -- mtime of relative path
             | "/path"           -- mtime of absolute path
             | "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS"
             | "YYYY-MM-DD"      -- at midnight
             | "HH:MM:SS"        -- today
             | "HH:MM"           -- today
             | "-[0-9]+d"        -- n days ago at midnight
             | "-[0-9]+h"        -- n hours before now
             | "-[0-9]+m"        -- n minutes before now
             | "-[0-9]+s"        -- n seconds before now
             | [0-9]+            -- absolute epoch time

<num>      ::= [0-9]+ ( c        -- *1
                      | b        -- *512
                      | k        -- *1024
                      | M        -- *1024*1024
                      | G        -- *1024*1024*1024
                      | T )?     -- *1024*1024*1024*1024

<strprop>  ::= fstype | group | name | path | target | user | xattr

<strop>    ::= == | = | !=       -- string (in)equality
             | ===    | !===     -- case insensitive string (in)equality
             | ~~     | !~~      -- glob (fnmatch)
             | ~~~    | !~~~     -- case insensitive glob (fnmatch)
             | =~     | !=~ | !~ -- POSIX Extended Regular Expressions
             | =~~    | !=~~     -- case insensitive POSIX Extended Regular Expressions

<str>      ::= " ([^"] | "")+ "  -- use "" for a single " inside "
             | $[A-Za-z0-9_]+    -- environment variable

<typetest> ::= type ( == | = | != ) ( b | c | d | p | f | l )

<modetest> ::= mode ( == | =     -- exact permissions
                    | &          -- check if all bits of <octal> set
                    | |          -- check if any bit of <octal> set
                    ) <octal>
             | mode = "<chmod>"  -- check if symbolic mode is satisfied

<octal> ::= [0-7]+

<chmod> ::= <clause> (, <clause>)+

<clause> ::= [guoa]* [+-=] [rwxXstugo]*  -- see chmod(1)


The lr utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


du(1), find(1), ls(1), stat(1), tw(1)


Leah Neukirchen <>


lr is licensed under the terms of the MIT license.
December 5, 2019 Linux 4.19.0-8-amd64