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locate - find filenames quickly


See Also


locate [-Scims] [-l limit] [-d database] pattern ...


The locate program searches a database for all pathnames which match the specified pattern. The database is recomputed periodically (usually weekly or daily), and contains the pathnames of all files which are publicly accessible.

Shell globbing and quoting characters "(*", "?", "\", "[" and "]") may be used in pattern, although they will have to be escaped from the shell. Preceding any character with a backslash ("\") eliminates any special meaning which it may have. The matching differs in that no characters must be matched explicitly, including slashes ("/").

As a special case, a pattern containing no globbing characters ("foo") is matched as though it were "*foo*".

Historically, locate only stored characters between 32 and 127. The current implementation store any character except newline ('\n') and NUL ('\0'). The 8-bit character support does not waste extra space for plain ASCII file names. Characters less than 32 or greater than 127 are stored in 2 bytes.

The following options are available:

-S Print some statistic about the database and exit.
-c Suppress normal output; instead print a count of matching file names.
-d database
Search in database instead the default file name database. Multiple -d options are allowed. Each additional -d option adds the specified database to the list of databases to be searched.

The option database may be a colon-separated list of databases. A single colon is a reference to the default database.
$ locate -d $HOME/lib/mydb: foo

will first search string "foo" in $HOME/lib/mydb and then in /var/db/locate.database.
$ locate -d $HOME/lib/mydb::/cdrom/locate.database foo

will first search string "foo" in $HOME/lib/mydb and then in /var/db/locate.database and then in /cdrom/locate.database.

"$ locate -d db1 -d db2 -d db3 pattern"

is the same as

"$ locate -d db1:db2:db3 pattern"


"$ locate -d db1:db2 -d db3 pattern"

If - is given as the database name, standard input will be read instead. For example, you can compress your database and use:
$ zcat database.gz | locate -d - pattern

This might be useful on machines with a fast CPU and little RAM and slow I/O. Note: you can only use one pattern for stdin.

-i Ignore case distinctions in both the pattern and the database.
-l number
Limit output to number of file names and exit.
-m Use mmap(2) instead of the stdio(3) library. This is the default behavior and is faster in most cases.
-s Use the stdio(3) library instead of mmap(2).


path to the locate database if set and not empty, ignored if the -d option was specified.


/var/db/locate.database locate database
/usr/libexec/locate.updatedb Script to update the locate database
Script that starts the database rebuild


find(1), whereis(1), which(1), fnmatch(3), locate.updatedb(8)
.Rs "Finding Files Fast"



find(1) find(1)

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