Excellent Utilities: ripgrep – recursively search directories for a regex pattern

This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’ll be covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

There are two main grepping utility-families: grep and ack. The former is for the plain searching and is ubiquitous. The latter offers smart searching, meaning it knows what files should be filtered out. ripgrep is a hybrid solution that recursively searches your current directory for a regex pattern. By default, ripgrep will respect your .gitignore and automatically skips hidden files/directories and binary files.

ripgrep is written in the Rust programming language. If you are interested in learning Rust, check our our recommended free Rust books.


Let’s clone the project’s repository, compile, and install the system with a few simple commands:

$ git clone https://github.com/BurntSushi/ripgrep
$ cd ripgrep
$ cargo install ripgrep

Cargo is the Rust package manager. It makes it easy to get up and running by downloading a Rust project’s dependencies, compiling the project, making packages, and more.

You’ll need to ensure ~/.cargo/bin is in your PATH. The variable $PATH is set by your shell every time it launches, but you can set it so that it always includes your new path with every new shell you open. The exact way to do this depends on which shell you’re running.

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
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One comment

  1. To get the recursively search with the standard grep is just add -r, if you want colorized output then add –color and with zgrep you have support for xz, lzma, bzip2, and gzip compressed files.

    It’s great to see that people still keeps on inventing the wheel…

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