Exercise 6: List Directory (ls)

In this exercise you learn how to list the contents of a directory with the ls command.

Do This

Before you start, make sure you cd back to the directory above temp. If you have no idea where you are, use pwd to figure it out and then move there.

Linux/OSX

$ cd temp
$ ls
stuff
$ cd stuff
$ ls
things
$ cd things
$ ls
orange
$ cd orange
$ ls
apple
$ cd apple
$ ls
pear
$ cd pear
$ ls
$ cd grape
$ ls
$ cd ..
$ ls
grape
$ cd ../../../
$ ls
orange
$ cd ../../
$ ls
stuff
$

Windows

> cd temp
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            stuff


> cd stuff
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            things


> cd things
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            orange


> cd orange
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things\orange


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            apple


> cd apple
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things\orange\apple


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            pear


> cd pear
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things\orange\apple\pear


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            grape


> cd grape
> ls
> cd ..
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things\orange\apple\pear


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            grape


> cd ..
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff\things\orange\apple


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            pear


> cd ../../..
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp\stuff


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            things


> cd ..
> ls


    Directory: C:\Users\zed\temp


Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
d----        12/17/2011   9:03 AM            stuff


>

You Learned This

The ls command lists out the contents of the directory you are currently in. You can see me use cd to change into different directories and then list what's in them so I know which directory to go to next.

There are a lot of options for the ls command, but you'll learn how to get help on those later when we cover the help command.

Do More

  • Type every one of these commands in! You have to actually type these to learn them. Just reading them is not good enough. I'll stop yelling now.
  • On Unix, try the ls -lR command while you're in temp.
  • On Windows do the same thing with dir -R.
  • Use cd to get to other directories on your computer and then use ls to see what's in them.
  • Update your notebook with new questions. I know you probably have some, because I'm not covering everything about this command.
  • Remember that if you get lost, then use ls and pwd to figure out where you are, then go to where you need to be with cd.

Buy The Python 2 Course

When you buy directly from the author, Zed A. Shaw, you'll get a professional quality PDF and hours of HD Video, all DRM-free and yours to download.

$29.99

Buy The Python 2 Course Buy The Python 3 Course Instead

Try a free sample of Learn Python the Hard Way right here, video lectures not included.