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Nifty command lines: tree

──── 2 mins

This post is part of the Nifty Command Lines series.

The tree command is an easy way to print files and folder structures. Like you see in a lot of tutorials. Running it without arguments will print your files and folders.

~/code-like-the-90s ❯❯❯ tree
├── css
│   └── main.css
├── img
│   └── bkg.png
├── index.html
└── script.js

2 directories, 4 files


You can tell it to ignore directories with tree -I [DirectoryName]. In most web scenarios, you’ll want to ignore your npm packages, so tree -I node_modules.

You can exclude more than one folder by separating them with a pipe character.

tree -I 'node_modules|.cache|test_*|public'

This is a must to ignore cache folders, build directories, etc.

Restricting output

The -d flag restricts it to only show your folders and hide files.

~/c/nextjs-app ❯❯❯ tree -d
├── pages
│   └── api
├── public
└── styles

4 directories

The -P flag allows you to only show a certain type of files. For example, if you want to list your JavaScript files while ignoring npm packages.

~/my-app ❯❯❯ tree -P '*.js' -I 'node_modules'
├── public
└── src
    ├── App.js
    ├── App.test.js
    ├── index.js
    ├── serviceWorker.js
    └── setupTests.js

2 directories, 5 files

Finally, you can restrict how deep in the folder structure you want to crawl using the -L flag. tree -L 2 will only go 2 levels deep.

As usual, install it with Homebrew or apt-get: brew install tree or apt-get install tree

There you go! I’ve used this command quite a lot to create documentation or get a sense of a new codebase. I hope it will be useful for you too.


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