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Top Tags



Search recursively to find a word or phrase in certain file types, such as C code

Terminal - Search recursively to find a word or phrase in certain file types, such as C code
find . -name "*.[ch]" -exec grep -i -H "search pharse" {} \;
2009-05-06 15:22:49
User: bunedoggle
Functions: find grep
Search recursively to find a word or phrase in certain file types, such as C code

I have a bash alias for this command line and find it useful for searching C code for error messages.

The -H tells grep to print the filename. you can omit the -i to match the case exactly or keep the -i for case-insensitive matching.

This find command find all .c and .h files


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
ack "search pharse" *.[ch]
find . -iname '*.conf' | xargs grep "searh string" -sl
find . -name "*.[ch]" -exec grep -i /dev/null "search pharse" {} \;
2012-12-04 20:51:04
User: MikeGoerling
Functions: find grep
Tags: find grep

Old Sys5 system and SUN computers don't have the -H option. Adding /dev/null forces grep to use the multi-file output and report the file name.

find . -name "*.[ch]" -print | xargs grep -i -H "search phrase"
2011-06-05 23:27:30
User: jblaine
Functions: find grep xargs
Tags: find grep

Original submitter's command spawns a "grep" process for every file found. Mine spawns one grep with a long list of all matching files to search in. Learn xargs, everyone! It's a very powerful and always available tool.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think


Comment by servermanaged 310 weeks and 4 days ago

Nice one.

I sure wish you could just: grep -iHr "search phrase" *.[ch]

Comment by joneser005 310 weeks and 4 days ago

@joneser005: Don't we all!

Comment by sudopeople 310 weeks and 4 days ago

@joneser005: Under zsh you can for example:

grep -iH "search phrase" **/*{c,h}
Comment by chopinhauer 310 weeks and 2 days ago

see also http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/1144/grep-for-word-in-directory-recursive

grep --color=auto is a nice addition

Comment by tobiasboon 310 weeks and 2 days ago

Anyone who needs to search source code should take a look at Ack: http://betterthangrep.com/

ack --cc -i "search phrase"
Comment by fletch 310 weeks and 1 day ago
grep 'pattern' * -r


Comment by copremesis 308 weeks and 5 days ago

what sh do you guys use?

some of listed above don't work in bash....

Comment by mousecat 286 weeks ago

Your point of view

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