I am trying to get ls like output from find command (this is on Linux Mind with find (GNU findutils) 4.7.0.

This is because I want to see the numerical chmod permissions.

What I managed so far is:

% find . -maxdepth 1 -printf "%m %M %y %g %G %u %U %f %l\n"
755 drwxr-xr-x d blueray 1000 blueray 1000 . 
664 -rw-rw-r-- f blueray 1000 blueray 1000 .zshrc 
644 -rw-r--r-- f blueray 1000 blueray 1000 .gtkrc-xfce 
644 -rw-r--r-- f blueray 1000 blueray 1000 .sudo_as_admin_successful 
777 lrwxrwxrwx l root 0 root 0 resolv.conf /run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf

Here, %l print empty string if file is not a symbolic link.

What I am looking for is, if %l is not empty then print -> %l.

How can I do that with -printf?

  • 1
    This might help with GNU find: find -maxdepth 1 -ls
    – Cyrus
    Jan 28 at 21:24
  • @Cyrus yeah, my first thought too but that doesn't show the octal file permissions which is what the OP is doing this for.
    – terdon
    Jan 28 at 21:28
  • 1
    If what you care about is the permissions, I'd get that directly from GNU stat (which can be told to emit them via its more-expressive format string syntax). Jan 29 at 15:49
  • 1
    Given your real use case, is there any reason you're asking for ls-like output, instead of just asking for numerical permissions and filenames (and potentially nothing else)? Jan 29 at 15:50
  • 1
    @blueray, stat doesn't list files at all -- it requires something else to give it the list. So, f/e, in stat *, it's not stat deciding what files are included in *, it's your shell making that decision; you can make your shell include hidden files in * by changing its configuration, or you can tell find to pass filenames to stat with something like find . -exec stat ... {} +, substituting ... with the arguments you choose. Jan 30 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


You can tell find to print one thing for links and another for non links. For example:

$ find  . -maxdepth 1 \( -not -type l -printf "%m %M %y %g %G %u %U %f\n" \) -or \( -type l -printf "%m %M %y %g %G %u %U %f -> %l\n" \) 
755 drwxr-xr-x d terdon 1000 terdon 1000 .
644 -rw-r--r-- f terdon 1000 terdon 1000 file1
755 drwxr-xr-x d terdon 1000 terdon 1000 dir
644 -rw-r--r-- f terdon 1000 terdon 1000 file
777 lrwxrwxrwx l terdon 1000 terdon 1000 linkToFile -> file

Or, a little more legibly:

find  . -maxdepth 1 \( -not -type l -printf "%m %M %y %g %G %u %U %f\n" \) \
                -or \( -type l -printf "%m %M %y %g %G %u %U %f -> %l\n" \) 

The \( -not -type l -printf '' ... \) will be run for anything that isn't a symlink, while the -or \( -type l -printf '' ...\) will be run for symlinks only.

  • Or you could pipe it to xargs stat
    – waltinator
    Jan 29 at 19:51
  • 1
    @waltinator, find ... | xargs stat is quite severely buggy, unless you mean find ... -print0 | xargs -0 stat. By default, xargs treats quotes and backslashes as syntactic rather than literal, word-splits on spaces, provides no means whatsoever to escape literal newlines, and otherwise can't correctly handle a wide variety of legitimate file names. Better to just use find ... -exec stat ... {} +, so find itself is running stat (using {} + instead of {} \; buys one the same performance benefits xargs provides in terms of running the fewest necessary copies of stat) Jan 30 at 17:10

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