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first two results from ls command

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


I am using ls -l -t to get a list of files in a directory ordered by time.

I would like to limit the search result to the top 2 files in the list.
Is this possible?
I’ve tried with grep and I struggled.


You can pipe it into head:

ls -l -t | head -3

Will give you top 3 lines (2 files and the total).

This will just give you the first 2 lines of files, skipping the size line:

ls -l -t | tail -n +2 | head -2

tail strips the first line, then head outputs the next 2 lines.


To avoid dealing with the top output line you can reverse the sort and get the last two lines

ls -ltr | tail -2

This is pretty safe, but depending what you’ll do with those two file entries after you find them, you should read Parsing ls on the problems with using ls to get files and file information.


You can use the head command to grab only the first two lines of output:

ls -l -t | head -2


You have to pipe through head.

ls -l -t | head -n 3

will output the two first results.


Or you could try just this

ls -1 -t | head -2

The -1 switch skips the title line.