exa is a modern alternative to the popular ‘ls’ file-listing command with more features and better defaults.

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exa is available on the official repositories of most Linux-based operating systems (and macOS). Install it with your system’s package manager (apt, dnf, pacman,etc.).


You can use exa like ls. For example, run exa to show a simple file-listing (but with colors to distinguish file types). Run exa -l (or exa --long) for a ‘long listing’, with more info about each file (permissions, size, owner,…). Other available parameters are (some are similar to ls):

  • -h, --header: add a header to the long listing.
  • -a, --all: show hidden files.
  • -R, --recursive: recurse into directories. Limit the recursion level with -L <level> or --level <level>.
    exa -R -L 2
  • -s <SORT FIELD>, --sort=<SORT_FIELD>: sort by some field.
    exa -l --sort=size
    exa -l -s modified
  • -r, --reverse: reverse the order.
  • -T, --tree: recurse into directories as a tree. Use -L <level> to limit the recursion.
  • --git: show each file’s Git status (- for not modified, M for modified, N for new file, D for deleted, etc.).

Check its manpage (man exa) for more info about these and other parameters.



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