How To Search For A File In Linux

In Linux, one does not need to manually roam through directories to find a file. The command line provides powerful tools to quickly search for a file or group of files. Let’s learn how!

Using the ‘find’ Command

The most common and powerful tool to search for a file in Linux is the find command. The syntax is as follows:

find [where to start searching from] [expression determines what to find] [what to find]

For example, if you want to find a file named “example.txt” in the /home directory, you would use the following command:

find /home -name example.txt

This command will search for the file “example.txt” starting from the directory /home and its subdirectories.

Using the ‘locate’ Command

Another effective command you can use to search files in Linux is the locate command. The locate command is faster than find command because it uses an previously built database, whereas the find command searches in the real system, through all the actual directories and files.

The basic syntax of the locate command is:

locate [option] [file_name]

For example, to find a file named “example.txt”, you would use the following command:

locate example.txt

Please note that the locate command will list all the files in the system with the name “example.txt”. If you want to know the total number of files, add the -c option as follows:

locate -c example.txt


In this guide, we have learned how to use find and locate commands to search for files in a Linux system. These commands are powerful and flexible, and can be used in a wide range of scenarios. So the next time you’re struggling to find a file, you know what to do!