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List Files and Directories by Size on Linux

This page will show us how to create a list of files and folders ordered by size using standard Linux commands.

Command

To get a list with the size of each item in a folder, you’ll want to use the¬†du¬†command like this:

du -sm *

The -m argument will return the listing in megabytes (note that you can use -h for human readable, but it won’t sort correctly)

Now we will want to run this through the sort command, sorting in reverse order -r and numeric -n:

du -sm * | sort -nr

The only problem here is that we’ll get way too much output if there are a lot of files and folders, so we can either pipe it through the more command:

du -sm * | sort -nr | more

Or we can just return the top 15 largest items:

du -sm * | sort -nr | head -15

This will return a listing something like this:

2907    Files1
993     Files2
38      Somefile.txt

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/16/10

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