stackquestions stackquestions - 1 year ago 51
Linux Question

How do I find the number of all .txt files in a directory and all sub directories using specifically the find command and the wc command?

So far I have this:

find -name ".txt"

I'm not quite sure how to use wc to find out the exact number of files. When using the command above, all the .txt files show up, but I need the exact number of files with the .txt extension. Please don't suggest using other commands as I'd like to specifically use find and wc. Thanks

Answer Source


find . -name '*.txt' | wc -l

The -l option to wc tells it to return just the number of lines.

Improvement (requires GNU find)

The above will give the wrong number if any .txt file name contains a newline character. This will work correctly with any file names:

find . -iname '*.txt' -printf '1\n' | wc -l

-printf '1\n tells find to print just the line 1 for each file name found. This avoids problems with file names having difficult characters.


Let's create two .txt files, one with a newline in its name:

$ touch dir1/dir2/a.txt $'dir1/dir2/b\nc.txt'

Now, let's find the find command:

$ find . -name '*.txt'

To count the files:

$ find . -name '*.txt' | wc -l

As you can see, the answer is off by one. The improved version, however, works correctly:

$ find . -iname '*.txt' -printf '1\n' | wc -l
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