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locate(1)                    General Commands Manual                   locate(1)


       locate - list files in databases that match a pattern


       locate [-d path | --database=path] [-e | -E | --[non-]existing] [-i |
       --ignore-case] [-0 | --null] [-c | --count] [-w | --wholename] [-b |
       --basename] [-l N | --limit=N] [-S | --statistics] [-r | --regex ]
       [--regextype R] [--max-database-age D] [-P | -H | --nofollow] [-L |
       --follow] [--version] [-A | --all] [-p | --print] [--help] pattern...


       This manual page documents the GNU version of locate.  For each given
       pattern, locate searches one or more databases of file names and displays
       the file names that contain the pattern.  Patterns can contain shell-
       style metacharacters: `*', `?', and `[]'.  The metacharacters do not
       treat `/' or `.'  specially.  Therefore, a pattern `foo*bar' can match a
       file name that contains `foo3/bar', and a pattern `*duck*' can match a
       file name that contains `lake/.ducky'.  Patterns that contain
       metacharacters should be quoted to protect them from expansion by the

       If a pattern is a plain string — it contains no metacharacters — locate
       displays all file names in the database that contain that string
       anywhere.  If a pattern does contain metacharacters, locate only displays
       file names that match the pattern exactly.  As a result, patterns that
       contain metacharacters should usually begin with a `*', and will most
       often end with one as well.  The exceptions are patterns that are
       intended to explicitly match the beginning or end of a file name.

       The file name databases contain lists of files that were on the system
       when the databases were last updated.  The system administrator can
       choose the file name of the default database, the frequency with which
       the databases are updated, and the directories for which they contain
       entries; see updatedb(1).

       If locate's output is going to a terminal, unusual characters in the
       output are escaped in the same way as for the -print action of the find
       command.  If the output is not going to a terminal, file names are
       printed exactly as-is.


       -0, --null
              Use ASCII NUL as a separator, instead of newline.

       -A, --all
              Print only names which match all non-option arguments, not those
              matching one or more non-option arguments.

       -b, --basename
              Results are considered to match if the pattern specified matches
              the final component of the name of a file as listed in the
              database.  This final component is usually referred to as the
              `base name'.

       -c, --count
              Instead of printing the matched filenames, just print the total
              number of matches we found, unless --print (-p) is also present.

       -d path, --database=path
              Instead of searching the default file name database, search the
              file name databases in path, which is a colon-separated list of
              database file names.  You can also use the environment variable
              LOCATE_PATH to set the list of database files to search.  The
              option overrides the environment variable if both are used.  Empty
              elements in the path are taken to be synonyms for the file name of
              the default database.  A database can be supplied on stdin, using
              `-' as an element of path. If more than one element of path is
              `-', later instances are ignored (and a warning message is

              The file name database format changed starting with GNU find and
              locate version 4.0 to allow machines with different byte orderings
              to share the databases.  This version of locate can automatically
              recognize and read databases produced for older versions of GNU
              locate or Unix versions of locate or find.  Support for the old
              locate database format will be discontinued in a future release.

       -e, --existing
              Only print out such names that currently exist (instead of such
              names that existed when the database was created).  Note that this
              may slow down the program a lot, if there are many matches in the
              database.  If you are using this option within a program, please
              note that it is possible for the file to be deleted after locate
              has checked that it exists, but before you use it.

       -E, --non-existing
              Only print out such names that currently do not exist (instead of
              such names that existed when the database was created).  Note that
              this may slow down the program a lot, if there are many matches in
              the database.

       --help Print a summary of the options to locate and exit.

       -i, --ignore-case
              Ignore case distinctions in both the pattern and the file names.

       -l N, --limit=N
              Limit the number of matches to N.  If a limit is set via this
              option, the number of results printed for the -c option will never
              be larger than this number.

       -L, --follow
              If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E options),
              consider broken symbolic links to be non-existing.   This is the

       --max-database-age D
              Normally, locate will issue a warning message when it searches a
              database which is more than 8 days old.  This option changes that
              value to something other than 8.  The effect of specifying a
              negative value is undefined.

       -m, --mmap
              Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

       -P, -H, --nofollow
              If testing for the existence of files (with the -e or -E options),
              treat broken symbolic links as if they were existing files.  The
              -H form of this option is provided purely for similarity with
              find; the use of -P is recommended over -H.

       -p, --print
              Print search results when they normally would not, because of the
              presence of --statistics (-S) or --count (-c).

       -r, --regex
              The pattern specified on the command line is understood to be a
              regular expression, as opposed to a glob pattern.  The Regular
              expressions work in the same was as in emacs except for the fact
              that "." will match a newline.  GNU find uses the same regular
              expressions.  Filenames whose full paths match the specified
              regular expression are printed (or, in the case of the -c option,
              counted).  If you wish to anchor your regular expression at the
              ends of the full path name, then as is usual with regular
              expressions, you should use the characters ^ and $ to signify

       --regextype R
              Use regular expression dialect R.  Supported dialects include
              `findutils-default', `posix-awk', `posix-basic', `posix-egrep',
              `posix-extended', `posix-minimal-basic', `awk', `ed', `egrep',
              `emacs', `gnu-awk', `grep' and `sed'.  See the Texinfo
              documentation for a detailed explanation of these dialects.

       -s, --stdio
              Accepted but does nothing, for compatibility with BSD locate.

       -S, --statistics
              Print various statistics about each locate database and then exit
              without performing a search, unless non-option arguments are
              given.  For compatibility with BSD, -S is accepted as a synonym
              for --statistics.  However, the output of locate -S is different
              for the GNU and BSD implementations of locate.

              Print the version number of locate and exit.

       -w, --wholename
              Match against the whole name of the file as listed in the
              database.  This is the default.


              Colon-separated list of databases to search.  If the value has a
              leading or trailing colon, or has two colons in a row, you may get
              results that vary between different versions of locate.


       The locate program started life as the BSD fast find program, contributed
       to BSD by James A. Woods.  This was described by his paper Finding Files
       Fast which was published in Usenix ;login:, Vol 8, No 1, February/March,
       1983, pp. 8-10.   When the find program began to assume a default -print
       action if no action was specified, this changed the interpretation of
       find pattern.  The BSD developers therefore moved the fast find
       functionality into locate.  The GNU implementation of locate appears to
       be derived from the same code.

       Significant changes to locate in reverse order:

       4.3.7     Byte-order independent support for old database format
       4.3.3     locate -i supports multi-byte characters correctly
                 Introduced --max_db_age
       4.3.2     Support for the slocate database format
       4.2.22    Introduced the --all option
       4.2.15    Introduced the --regex option
       4.2.14    Introduced options -L, -P, -H
       4.2.12    Empty items in LOCATE_PATH now indicate the default database
       4.2.11    Introduced the --statistics option
       4.2.4     Introduced --count and --limit
       4.2.0     Glob characters cause matching against the whole file name
       4.0       Introduced the LOCATE02 database format
       3.7       Locate can search multiple databases


       The locate database correctly handles filenames containing newlines, but
       only if the system's sort command has a working -z option.  If you
       suspect that locate may need to return filenames containing newlines,
       consider using its --null option.


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       Copyright © 1994-2022 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  License GPLv3+: GNU
       GPL version 3 or later <>.
       This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.  There
       is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


       find(1), updatedb(1), xargs(1), glob(3), locatedb(5)

       Full documentation <>
       or available locally via: info locate


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