Find the Total Size of All Files in a Directory on Linux

You can use various types of commands to get the total size of all files in a directory on Linux. There are also some GUI tools in Linux to display the total size of the directory in a more simple format.

Getting the correct information about the directories can help a user to find the storage allocation of the complete system. That's why Linux users always look for ways to find the total size of the directory.

In this guide, we will explain various methods to find the total size of all files in the directory on Linux.

Finding the Total Size of All Files in a Directory on Linux

Let's start with the commands you can try to display the correct size of the files in a directory −

The du Command

By default, most Linux distributions include the du command, which stands for disk usage. Through this command, you can get the directory size in many formats, so let's run the du command simply −

~$: du
830720 ./Information
166144  ./Images

When you type the du command without arguments, it only shows the total directory size in kilobytes. Hence, if you want to find the current directory size only, excluding the sub-directories, you can use the --summarize or -s option −

~$: du -s
996868  .

You can use the '-h' option to get the output in a more readable format.

~$: du -h
812M ./Information
163M  ./Images
974M  .
~$: du -sh
974M  .

The number indicates the space used, and the letters M, G, and K define megabytes, gigabytes, and kilobytes.

Bonus Tip − The du command tells the size of a directory by default. You can find its apparent size by adding the --apparent-size option to the du command.

~$: du -sh --apparent-size
973  .

The 'apparent size' refers to the actual size of the directory. If you want to see the size of a specific directory instead of your current directory, you can use the command below −

~$: du -sh ~/Documents 
974M  /home/prateek/Documents

Note − You may find errors in some entries because you don't have permission to access that directory. Use the sudo /su command to get admin privileges, which will remove your error.

You can get the directory size in the format you want. For this, you need to add the size format such as 'k' (for kilobytes) or 'm' for (megabytes) as follows −

~$: du -k ~/Documents 
830720 /home/prateek/Documents/Information
166144 /home/prateek/Documents/Images
996868  /home/prateek/Documents

Use the -c option with the du command to find the total size of the directory −

~$: du -sch 
974 . 
974 total

You can find the directory size excluding some files using the below du command −

~$: du -sch --exclude '*.sh' 
974 . 
974 total

The above command displays the directory size, excluding the size of mentioned files. Using the 'max-depth' option, you can set the limit of the scan to a certain level.

du -hc --max-depth=N <path of the directory>
du -dN -hc

Here, N is used for the level of directories. For example, let's scan the first layer of the subdirectory −

~$: du -hc --max-depth=1 
4.0K ./Pictures 
974M ./Documents 
4.0K ./Music 
12K ./.gnupg 
113M ./snap 
60M ./.cache 
776K ./.config 
664K ./.local 
4.0K ./Desktop 
4.0K ./Videos 
4.0K ./.ssh 
4.0K ./Templates 
4.0K ./Public 
8.0K ./opt 
4.0K ./Downloads 
1.2G total

You will notice that in the above commands, we have removed the -s argument and used the -d argument so that you can find out how much space a particular directory is occupying. This way, you can find out the size of multiple directory levels.

Using the du command with the -a flag, you can get the directory size and its file and sub-directories.

du -ah 

To sort the sub-directories according to the disk size used by them, use the following command −

~$: du -h --max-depth=N | sort -hr 
974 . 
812 ./Information
163 ./Images

The subdirectory using the maximum space will be displayed on the top.

The ncdu Command

The ncdu command stands for 'ncdu disk usage,' which is not pre-installed in some Linux distros. You can easily install it using the following command −

sudo apt install ncdu -y (for Ubuntu/Debian)
sudo yum install ncdu (RedHat/CentOS)

This command shows the interactive display of your directory as follows −


Once you execute the following command, it will display the complete information about the total size of the directory −

ncdu 1.15.1 - Use the arrow keys to navigate press ? for help
 --- /home/prateek  ----------------------------------------------------------                
  973.5 MiB [####### ##] /Documents
  112.4 MiB [#          ] /snap 
  59.2 MiB  [           ] /.cache 
  776.0 KiB [           ] /.config 
  664.0 KtB [           ] /.local 
  12.0 KiB  [           ] /.gnupg 
  8.0 KiB   [           ] /opt 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Videos 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Templates 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Public 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Pictures 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Music 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Downloads 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /Desktop 
e 4.0 KiB   [           ] /.ssh 
  4.0 KiB   [           ] .bashrc 
  4.0 KiB   [           ] .bash history 
  4.0 KiB   [           ] .profile 
  4.0 KiB   [           ] .bash_logout  
  4.0 KiB   [           ] TestFile.txt 
  0.0 B .sudo_as_admin_successful 
Total disk usage: 1.1 GiB Apparent size: 1.1 GiB Items: 3924

In the left corner, you can see the current directory scanned. You can see the directory size in the first column of the table. Using the down and up arrows, you can move between different lines. Moreover, you can browse through a directory with the right arrow, and with the left arrow, you can back out.

You can define the path to the directory with the ncdu command to target a specific directory.

ncdu /var

This command will display the following information −

ncdu 1.15.1 ~ Use the arrow keys to navigate, press ? for help
--------/var-----------------------------------------------------------------   .    
.   2.7 GiB [##########] /lib 
. 573.2 MiB [##        ] /cache 
. 92.2 MiB  [          ]/log 
  3.7 MiB   [          ]/snap 
  3.4 MiB   [          ]/backups 
. 48.0 KiB  [          ]/tmp 
. 48.0 KiB  [          ]/spool 
e 4.0 KiB   [          ]/opt 
e 4.0 KiB   [          ]/metrics 
e 4.0 KiB   [          ]/mail 
e 4.0 KiB   [          ]/local 
e 4.0 KiB   [          ]/crash 
@ 0.0     B [          ]lock 
@ 0.0     B [          ]run 

Total disk usage: 3.3 GiB Apparent size:  3.3 GiB Items: 12731

The tree Command

The tree is a command-line utility that lists files or directories in a tree-like format. Some versions of Linux do not have the tree command by default, but it is available in your Linux repositories. Let's install the tree command utility through the below command −

sudo apt install tree -y (for Ubuntu/Debian)
sudo yum install tree (for RedHat/CentOS)

If we run this command without any argument, it will only list all the directories and subdirectories. Hence, please use the '-d' and 'h' options with it as follows −

~$: tree -dh 
[4.0K] .
|__ [4.0K] Images
|__ [ 20K] Information

You can use the above command to find the directory size of your current directory. Here we use,

  • -d to indicate only the directories.

  • -h to read the directory size in human-readable form.

You can also find the directory size with their files by removing the -d flag from the above command.

~$: tree -h 

Similar to the du and ncdu command, you can also find the size of a specific directory with its help. For this, you have to include the path of the directory after the tree command like this −

~$: tree -dh ~/Documents
[4.0K] /home/prateek/Documents
|__ [4.0K] Images
|__ [ 20K] Information

Bonus Tip − You can also combine the 'du' and 'tree' commands as follows −

~$: tree --du -h

GUI Tools You Can Try

There are a few tools you can use to find out the total size of the directory on Linux. Here, we have only included open-source and free tools.


It is a Qt-based file/directory system analyzer showing directories and files in a heat-map representation like a tree system. With the help of this tool, you can find out the directory usage and clean the system by deleting or cleaning files, etc. Use the below command to install this tool −

~$: sudo apt install qdirstat -y

You can open this tool by entering the 'qdirstat' in the terminal or searching for the tool from the application menu.

Figure 1


It is a very lightweight and easy-to-use GUI tool that allows you to view the space occupied by directories and files in the form of a pie chart. It uses concentric rings to show the size and usage of the directory so that you can understand it better. You can install it by running the following command in the terminal −

~$: sudo apt install filelight -y

Once successfully installed, you can open it from the applications menu or enter the 'filelight' in the terminal −

Figure 2

To view the disk usage of a particular file or directory, click on 'scan' in the left corner and follow these steps −

Scan > Scan folder > The folder/directory you want to scan


You can find the total size of all the files in a directory in Linux through the GUI and CLI methods. If you are new to Linux, you can find out the size of the directory and its files using the GUI method.

There are many tools with the help of which you can find this, but in this guide, we have included two tools, 'QDirStat' and 'FileLight,' which are the latest, free, and open-source. You can easily install these tools and check the size of directories in graphical form. This way, you can find the total size of all the files in the directory through any method at your convenience.

Updated on: 22-Aug-2023


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