Excellent Utilities: fd – superior alternative to the venerable find

In Operation

What does fd offer?

We always like command-line utilities that have an easy to remember syntax. Or at least a syntax that doesn’t necessitate fumbling around the man page or project documentation for even simple operations.

And it helps to have sensible defaults. fd ticks this box. For example, by default fd uses case-insensitive searches unless the pattern contains an uppercase character. And by default it skips hidden directories and files as well as .gitignore patterns.

We can type fd followed by a pattern and it traverses the file structure looking for matches in the filename and outputting the results. Here’s an example.


fd is very fast in operation. In our tests, searches are performed significantly faster than find, although fd doesn’t (by default) traverse hidden and git-ignored folders. But even with a like-for-like comparison with find it’s still significantly quicker in all our tests particularly if you’re traversing across a large number of directories/files.

The utility does have an array of command-line switches. Things like limiting the directory traversal to a given depth, filter search by type (file, directory, symlink, executable, empty, socket, and pipe), limit results based on the size of files, filter files by their user and/or group, and much more.

By default, fd doesn’t sort results unless the search finishes very quickly. But using -j 1 or --threads=1 will give a deterministic order.

The utility offers parallel command execution (this is not enabled by default). This creates a job pool for executing commands in parallel for each discovered path as the input.

Next page: Page 3 – Summary

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

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.