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all. I'm looking for a quick and dirty way to generate some diagrams of some directories that have almost, but not exactly, the same hierarchy, so I can show them around at a meeting and we can decide which flavor we like best. I'm not interested in the "leaf" nodes, just the directories.

The catch: I don't want to mess with X. This is a server system I deal with entirely through SSH. So I'm looking for something that will do ASCII layout, maybe with simple pipes-and-hyphens for lines or something.

Does anyone know of such a utility? I'm sure I could write something myself, but it's such a fiddly little sort of project, with handling spacing and layout and such; I'd really like to discover that someone's done it for me. Alas, Google doesn't seem to know of such a thing...or if it does, it's hidden beneath heaps of excellent visual explications of the standard general Unix file hierarchy. Thanks!

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

I would use tree.

$ tree -d /usr|head -n 12
|-- X11R6
|   `-- lib
|       `-- X11
|           `-- wily
|-- bin
|   `-- X11 -> .
|-- games
|-- i586-mingw32msvc
|   |-- bin
|   |-- include
|   |   |-- GL
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Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. It's amazing how hard it is (at least for me) to find the simple little stuff in Unix sometimes. man -k directory didn't do it -- but man -k directories would have. Thanks again! –  Jenn D. May 22 '10 at 18:18
@Jenn: That's why I use a common root portion of a word for that kind of query apropos director (or man -k director) will find both. It works to include various prefixes as well: apropos known finds "known", "unknown" and "well-known". –  Dennis Williamson May 22 '10 at 18:43
And tree also works on Windows. –  Mark Tomlin Jun 4 '12 at 17:48
Using tree (version 1.5.3) I get some unicode characters to make the diagram look prettier. To get only ascii characters, I had to use tree --charset ascii –  jcollado Aug 20 '12 at 12:30
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