Finding a File Containing a Particular Text String In Linux Server
I have been using Linux for a while on my server and have a large collection of the text file everywhere. I'm interested in learning about searching a text string. Can you tell me - how do I find a file containing a particular text string on my Linux server?

I have to admit that there are tens and thousands of text files on any Linux or Unix based server. Finding and locating those files can be done with the find command. Unfortunately find command cannot look inside a text file for a string.

You need to use the grep command. The grep command searches the given input FILEs for lines containing a match or a text string.

grep command syntax
The syntax is:
grep "text string to search” directory-path
grep [option] "text string to search” directory-path
grep -r "text string to search” directory-path
grep -r -H "text string to search” directory-path
egrep -R "word-1|word-2” directory-path
egrep -w -R "word-1|word-2” directory-path


In this example, search for a string called 'redeem reward' in all text (*.txt) files located in /home/tom/ directory, use:$ grep "redeem reward" /home/tom/*.txt
$ grep "redeem reward" ~/*.txt

Task: Search all subdirectories recursively

You can search for a text string all files under each directory, recursively with -r option:$ grep -r "redeem reward" /home/tom/
$ grep -R "redeem reward" /home/tom/

Task: Only display filenames

By default, the grep command prints the matching lines. You can pass -H option to print the filename for each match:$ grep -H -r "redeem reward" /home/tom
Sample outputs:
filename.txt: redeem reward
foobar.txt: redeem reward
To just display the filename use the cut command as follows:$ grep -H -R vivek /etc/* | cut -d: -f1
Sample outputs:

Task: Suppress file names

The grep command shows output on a separate line, and it is preceded by the name of the file in which it was found in the case of multiple files. You can pass the -h option to suppress inclusion of the file names in the output:$ grep -h -R 'main()' ~/projects/*.c

Task: Display only words

You can select only those lines containing matches that form whole words using the -woption. In this example, search for word 'getMyData()' only in ~/projects/ dirctory:$ grep -w -R 'getMyData()' ~/projects/

Task: Search for two or more words

Use the egrep command as follows:$ egrep -w -R 'word1|word2' ~/projects/

Task: Hide warning spam

grep command generate error message as follows due to permission and other issues:
No such file or directory
No such device or address
Permission denied
To hide all errors or warning message spam generated by the grep command, append2>/dev/null to grep command. This will send and hide unwanted output to /dev/null device:$ grep -w -R 'getMyData()' ~/projects/ 2>/dev/null

Task: Display matched text in color

Pass the --color option to the grep command display matched text/words in color on the terminal:
grep --color 'word' file
grep --color -R 'word' /path/to/dir
grep --color -R "" /etc/
grep --color -R -h "" /etc/
grep --color -R -h "" /etc/ 2>/dev/null
Sample outputs:

Task: Ignore case

Our final example ignore case distinctions in both the search PATTERN and the input files:grep -i -R 'word' /path/to/dir
grep -i -r 'income tax' ~/accounting/

About Author:

I am a Linux Administrator and Security Expert with this site i can help lot's of people about linux knowladge and as per security expert i also intersted about hacking related news.TwitterFacebook

Newer Post
Older Post


Post a Comment