fd is a blazing fast (I know, I know 😉) replacement for the in-built find command. I’ve been having a lot of fun incorporating it as part of my workflow so figured out I should at least blog about its basics.

The official readme details out all the possible flags/options for using the tool but I’ve reiterated them here for my personal quick reference, to internalise the syntax and with the hope that someone else might find it useful.


fd usage follows the below syntax (kind-of) with all arguments as optional:

fd one-or-more-flags 'search-pattern' target-directory

fd without any arguments recursively lists out all the contents of the given directory except for:

  1. All patterns ignored by the .gitignore file (assuming it’s a git repo and .gitignore exists)
  2. All hidden entries

The above exclusion applies by default to all cases but it’s pretty simple to get around it by using flags:

  1. Want to include hidden files? Use fd -H
  2. Want to ignore .gitignore exclusions? Use fd -I
  3. Want to enable both of these together? Just use fd -u


fd pattern recursively lists all filesystem entries matching the given pattern. By default, the pattern is treated as a regex string and the syntax is well documented in the regex crate docs. Attempting to use our usual glob patterns fails in fd with an error. Thankfully, we have the -g flag to enable glob search.

# recursively search for all files containing the word 'controller'
fd -g '*controller*' src/java

It’s worth that the pattern always comes first so if we want to list out all the entries of a sub-directory, we’ll have to use a catch-all . pattern and then the target directory:

fd . sub_dir


The bread-and-butter of all find-like utilities is finding files with a given extension. This can be achieved using our trusted old *.md glob pattern for finding all markdown files. But a more “fd-like” approach would be to use the in-built -e flag, like, fd -e md and these can of course be chained (so fd -e md -e rs is totally valid). Plus I’m pretty sure there are some corner cases out there wherein our glob pattern for file extensions won’t work.

Path Search

In some scenarios, you might want to search across path names instead of file names starting with a given root directory. One such scenario would be a bulk image downloader utility which downloads all images for a given website per day to a certain output_dir. Assuming the directory names are of the format out_yyyymmdd we can use the path search capabilities of fd to find all jpg images for a given month and date (let’s say 29th of Feb) across multiple years using the below command:

fd -p -e jpg -e jpeg '0229' output_dir

Attribute Filters

fd, just like find allows us to filter on file attributes like type, size & owner. For e.g. if we want to list the details all files with size greater than 2kb owned by sanjayts we can use:

# -tf implies type 'file'; read man page for other options
# --size +2k implies size greater than 2k
# --size -2k implies file size less than 2k
# --size 2k implies file exact file size of 2k
# -o sanjayts implies only files with 'sanjayts' as the owner
# -l provides a detailed listing with file-masks, owners, size etc. just like ls -l
fd -tf --size +2k -o sanjayts -l

Another advantage of fd over find is the support of user-friendly duration strings and dates as opposed to messing around with -mmin, -mtime, -newermt etc. For e.g. if we want to list out all files within the src directory modified on the 5th of Jan 2024, we can use:

fd --newer '2024-1-5' --older '2024-1-6' -l . src

Case Sensitivity

You might have noticed that we haven’t given any care to the case sensitivity of patterns till now. This is because fd is awesome and uses smart case matching by default. What this means is that matches are case insensitive by default but switches to a case sensitive match when it encounters any upper-case character as part of the pattern. You can of course use the -i and -s flags for forcing a case insensitive or case sensitive match respectively.

This feature is a positive data-point for user-friendly defaults in modern tools.

Further reading

This blog post covers only a fraction of what fd is capable of. I have omitted the -x and -X flags which allow us to execute a command for each or all the matching filesystem entities. Plus I haven’t covered file deletion since I don’t have any use of that feature yet. I would also whole-heartedly recommend reading the detailed man page by invoking fd --help since it covers each flag in much more detail.