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How To Fix the Terminal ls Command Not Showing All Files on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 19

In Ubuntu, the terminal is a powerful tool that allows you to interact with your system. One of the most commonly used commands is ls, which lists all files and directories in the current directory. However, you might encounter a situation where the ls command is not showing all files. This article will guide you through several solutions to fix this issue.

Quick Answer

To fix the issue of the ls command not showing all files on Ubuntu, you can try increasing the scrollback lines in your terminal emulator, using the ls -x command to display files in multiple columns, or piping the output to a pager program like more or less.

Understanding the ls Command

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s first understand the ls command. The ls command is used to list files and directories in a directory. By default, it displays the names of files and directories in the current directory.

The ls command can be used with various options to customize the output. For example, ls -l will display the output in a long listing format, showing additional information such as file permissions, number of links, owner, group, size, and time of last modification.

Increasing the Scrollback Lines

The first solution you can try is to increase the number of scrollback lines in your terminal emulator. The terminal emulator has a buffer that stores the output of commands. If the output exceeds the buffer size, some of it may not be displayed.

To increase the scrollback lines, follow these steps:

  1. Open the terminal emulator.
  2. Go to “Edit” > “Profile Preferences” > “Scrolling”.
  3. Increase the number of lines at “Scrollback”.
  4. Click “Close” to save the changes.

Using the ls -x Command

If increasing the scrollback lines does not solve the issue, you can try using the ls -x command. The -x option will display the files in multiple columns, allowing you to see more files at once.

Here’s how you can use it:

ls -x /usr/bin

This command will list all files in the /usr/bin directory in multiple columns.

Piping the Output to more or less

Another solution is to pipe the output of the ls command to a pager program like more or less. These programs allow you to scroll through the output one page at a time.

Here’s how you can do it:

ls /usr/bin | more

Or:

ls /usr/bin | less

In these commands, | is a pipe that passes the output of the ls command to the more or less command. more and less then display the output one page at a time. You can scroll through the output using the arrow keys, page up/down keys, or the mouse wheel.

Conclusion

The ls command not showing all files can be a frustrating issue, but the solutions provided in this article should help you fix it. Whether you’re increasing the scrollback lines in your terminal emulator, using the ls -x command, or piping the output to more or less, these methods should ensure that you’re able to view all your files and directories in Ubuntu’s terminal.

Why is the `ls` command not showing all files in the terminal on Ubuntu?

There could be several reasons for this issue. One possibility is that the files are hidden. By default, the ls command does not show hidden files, which are files that start with a dot (e.g., .file). To show hidden files, you can use the ls -a command.

How do I display the file size with the `ls` command?

To display the file size in the output of the ls command, you can use the -l option. For example, ls -l will show the file size in bytes. If you want to display the file size in human-readable format (e.g., kilobytes or megabytes), you can use the -h option along with -l, like this: ls -lh.

Can I use the `ls` command to list files in a specific directory?

Yes, you can use the ls command to list files in a specific directory. Simply specify the directory path after the ls command. For example, ls /path/to/directory will list the files and directories in the specified directory.

How can I sort the output of the `ls` command?

To sort the output of the ls command, you can use the -r option to sort in reverse order, or the -t option to sort by modification time (newest first). Additionally, you can combine options, such as ls -lrt to display the output in long listing format, sorted by modification time in reverse order.

Is there a way to list files recursively with the `ls` command?

Yes, you can use the -R option with the ls command to list files and directories recursively. This will display the contents of subdirectories as well. For example, ls -R will recursively list all files and directories in the current directory and its subdirectories.

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