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10.1.5 General output formatting

These options affect the appearance of the overall output.

-1
--format=single-column
List one file per line. This is the default for ls when standard output is not a terminal.
-C
--format=vertical
List files in columns, sorted vertically. This is the default for ls if standard output is a terminal. It is always the default for the dir program. GNU ls uses variable width columns to display as many files as possible in the fewest lines.
--color [=when]
Specify whether to use color for distinguishing file types. when may be omitted, or one of: Specifying --color and no when is equivalent to --color=always. Piping a colorized listing through a pager like more or less usually produces unreadable results. However, using more -f does seem to work.

Note that using the --color option may incur a noticeable performance penalty when run in a directory with very many entries, because the default settings require that ls stat every single file it lists. However, if you would like most of the file-type coloring but can live without the other coloring options (e.g., executable, orphan, sticky, other-writable, capability), use dircolors to set the LS_COLORS environment variable like this,

          eval $(dircolors -p | perl -pe \
            's/^((CAP|S[ET]|O[TR]|M|E)\w+).*/$1 00/' | dircolors -)

and on a dirent.d_type-capable file system, ls will perform only one stat call per command line argument.

-F
--classify
--indicator-style=classify
Append a character to each file name indicating the file type. Also, for regular files that are executable, append ‘*’. The file type indicators are ‘/’ for directories, ‘@’ for symbolic links, ‘|’ for FIFOs, ‘=’ for sockets, ‘>’ for doors, and nothing for regular files. Do not follow symbolic links listed on the command line unless the --dereference-command-line (-H), --dereference (-L), or --dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir options are specified.
--file-type
--indicator-style=file-type
Append a character to each file name indicating the file type. This is like -F, except that executables are not marked.
--indicator-style=word
Append a character indicator with style word to entry names, as follows:
none
Do not append any character indicator; this is the default.
slash
Append ‘/’ for directories. This is the same as the -p option.
file-type
Append ‘/’ for directories, ‘@’ for symbolic links, ‘|’ for FIFOs, ‘=’ for sockets, and nothing for regular files. This is the same as the --file-type option.
classify
Append ‘*’ for executable regular files, otherwise behave as for ‘file-type’. This is the same as the -F or --classify option.

-k
--kibibytes
Set the default block size to its normal value of 1024 bytes, overriding any contrary specification in environment variables (see Block size). This option is in turn overridden by the --block-size, -h or --human-readable, and --si options.

The -k or --kibibytes option affects the per-directory block count written by the -l and similar options, and the size written by the -s or --size option. It does not affect the file size written by -l.

-m
--format=commas
List files horizontally, with as many as will fit on each line, separated by ‘, ’ (a comma and a space).
-p
--indicator-style=slash
Append a ‘/’ to directory names.
-x
--format=across
--format=horizontal
List the files in columns, sorted horizontally.
-T cols
--tabsize=cols
Assume that each tab stop is cols columns wide. The default is 8. ls uses tabs where possible in the output, for efficiency. If cols is zero, do not use tabs at all.

Some terminal emulators might not properly align columns to the right of a TAB following a non-ASCII byte. You can avoid that issue by using the -T0 option or put TABSIZE=0 in your environment, to tell ls to align using spaces, not tabs.

-w
--width=cols
Assume the screen is cols columns wide. The default is taken from the terminal settings if possible; otherwise the environment variable COLUMNS is used if it is set; otherwise the default is 80.