How to search for a word in entire content of a directory in linux

  • need to search for something in entire content

    I am trying:

    find . | xargs grep word
    

    I get error:

    xargs: unterminated quote

    How to achieve this?

  • xargs expects input in a format that no other command produces, so it's hard to use effectively. What's going wrong here is that you have a file whose name must be quoted on input to xargs (probably containing a ').

    If your grep supports the -r or -R option for recursive search, use it.

    grep -r word .
    

    Otherwise, use the -exec primary of find. This is the usual way of achieving the same effect as xargs, except without constraints on file names. Reasonably recent versions of find allow you to group several files in a single call to the auxiliary command. Passing /dev/null to grep ensures that it will show the file name in front of each match, even if it happens to be called on a single file.

    find . -type f -exec grep word /dev/null {} +
    

    Older versions of find (on older systems or OpenBSD, or reduced utilities such as BusyBox) can only call the auxiliary command on one file at a time.

    find . -type f -exec grep word /dev/null {} \;
    

    Some versions of find and xargs have extensions that let them communicate correctly, using null characters to separate file names so that no quoting is required. These days, only OpenBSD has this feature without having -exec … {} +.

    find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 grep word /dev/null
    

    +1 especially for `/dev/null`. It is a nuisance when the output format can vary, depending on how many files are matched... thanks.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM