How do I view file sizes (KB,MB,GB) with “ls” in Linux?

When you want to investigate a list of files and their respective sizes, it can be unwieldy to print the size in the default byte format while using the ‘ls’ command in Linux. Today, I’ll show you how to present the data in a more human-readable manner using ‘ls -lah’.

Listing Files and Their Data Format (KB, MB, GB) using ‘ls -lah’

We can use the ‘ls -lah’ command to print a list of files and their prefixed data format (KB, MB, GB)
The ‘ls -lah’ command displays the file size in the fifth column, similar to the traditional ‘ls -all’ command, e.g.

-rw-r--r--  1 root root    165 2011-04-29 21:36 shells
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2011-04-29 21:36 skel
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2012-10-23 01:14 ssh
drwxr-xr-x  4 root root   4.0K 2012-10-18 07:29 ssl
-r--r-----  1 root root    574 2011-04-15 12:02 sudoers
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2012-10-18 07:29 sudoers.d
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   2.1K 2010-12-21 04:56 sysctl.conf
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2011-04-29 21:39 sysctl.d
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2011-04-29 21:39 terminfo
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     17 2012-10-18 07:27 timezone
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   1.3K 2011-03-01 00:45 ucf.conf
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   4.0K 2011-04-29 21:39 udev
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   4.0K 2012-10-18 08:12 ufw
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4.0K 2011-04-29 21:36 update-motd.d

For more information regarding the flag use (l,a,h) please refer to the [quick ‘ls’ reference table][1] at the bottom of this post.

Traditional Listing of Files using ‘ls -all’

Comparatively, we’ll print a list of files using the traditional ‘ls -all’ command:

-rw-r--r--  1 root root     165 2011-04-29 21:36 shells
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2011-04-29 21:36 skel
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2012-10-23 01:14 ssh
drwxr-xr-x  4 root root    4096 2012-10-18 07:29 ssl
-r--r-----  1 root root     574 2011-04-15 12:02 sudoers
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2012-10-18 07:29 sudoers.d
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    2083 2010-12-21 04:56 sysctl.conf
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2011-04-29 21:39 sysctl.d
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2011-04-29 21:39 terminfo
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      17 2012-10-18 07:27 timezone
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    1260 2011-03-01 00:45 ucf.conf
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root    4096 2011-04-29 21:39 udev
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root    4096 2012-10-18 08:12 ufw
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    4096 2011-04-29 21:36 update-motd.d

Linux ‘ls’ Flags Quick Reference Table

FLAG DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE
-l Displays file types, owner, group, size, date and filename. ls -l
-a Displays all files, including hidden files (suffixed with “.”). ls -a
-h Displays files with human readable format, e.g. 1k, 100MB, 1G. ls -h
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Author: drewsymo

Developer

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