Linux Question of the Day – How do I Grep Recursively?

redheaded lady using laptop

Another common question that I hear on a weekly basis. You would think this would be a pretty straightforward answer, and it is. I think the shear number of options available with Grep is what confuses folks.  So, here is the basic way to perform this task.

grep -r “texthere” .

Simple, right?  “texthere” is the string that you are searching for, and the -r says search recursively starting from the current directory (.).  You can also specify specific filenames or types that you would like to search, such as *.txt, *.php, etc.

On some older Unix versions, you may find that Grep does not support the -r syntax.  In that case, try the following :

find ./ -type f | xargs grep “texthere”

Also som version also will not support searching for *.txt as the filename, in that case, try the following :

find /dir/to/search/ -iname *.txt -exec grep ‘texthere’ ‘{}’ ;

Little known piece of trivia, GREP stands for Get Regular Expression and Print

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