Given this example folder structure:

/folder1/file1.txt
/folder1/file2.djd
/folder2/file3.txt
/folder2/file2.fha

How do I do a recursive text search on all *.txt files with grep from "/"?

("grep -r <pattern> *.txt" fails when run from "/", since there are no .txt files in that folder.)

up vote 58 down vote accepted

My version of GNU Grep has a switch for this:

grep -R --include='*.txt' $Pattern

Described as follows:

--include=GLOB

Search only files whose base name matches GLOB (using wildcard matching as described under --exclude).

If you have a large number of files it would be useful to incorporate xargs into the command to avoid an 'Argument list too long' error.

find . -name '*.txt' -print | xargs grep <pattern>
  • 6
    If there are spaces in any of the file or directory names, use this form: find . -name '*.txt' -print0 | xargs -0 grep <pattern> – Jason Luther May 19 '09 at 13:37
  • 2
    And of course there's the issue of filenames that start with -. – T.J. Crowder Feb 7 '11 at 12:08
  • grep is faster of find. – Nabi K.A.Z. Aug 16 at 5:18

you might be able to make use of your zsh's EXTENDED_GLOB option (docs)

grep <pattern> **/*.txt
  • Only if OP is using zsh, but interesting nonetheless. – Law29 May 14 '16 at 13:01
find . -name '*.txt' -type f -exec grep <pattern> {} \;
  • you might want to use "find . -name '*.txt' -type f -exec grep <pattern> {} +" instead so that it rather behaves similiar the verision with from Mark Robinson - works only with GNU find to my knowledge – serverhorror Jun 10 '09 at 8:49

Mannis answer would fork a new grep-process for every textfile. If you have lots of textfiles there, you might consider grepping every file first and pick the .txt-files when thats done:

grep -r <pattern> * | grep \.txt:

That's more disk-intensive, but might be faster anyway.

You may want to take a look at ack at http://betterthangrep.com, which has facilities for selecting files to search by filetype.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.