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Within my ~/docs directory, I want to "touch" all files ending with .txt

How can I do this?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

With find:

find ~/docs -name "*.txt" -exec touch {} \;
  • You search in ~/docs
  • The name option will match all txt files - exec will execute the command touch on the file name, which is substituted in {}
  • \; ends the command and touch will be called once for each file found


  • A slight variation, \+ at the end constructs one single command to run touch on all of these files at once. This is not possible with all commands, but it works for touch and saves you a few calls if you have a lot of files that are affected.
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+1 for explaining this command ! – LoremIpsum Jun 4 '12 at 11:42
{} \+ would be better here... touch can handle many filenames on its command line, so for example, with 10 thousand files and {} \; 10 thousand calls will be made to touch... Using {} \+ will call touch only once (depending on available memory)... Here is an excerpt from find's man-page: -exec command {} + ... The command line is built in much the same way that xargs builds its command lines. There is more detail in the man find documentation. – Peter.O Jun 4 '12 at 14:36
@Peter.O True, just a habit of mine to use the other syntax. – slhck Jun 4 '12 at 14:46
@slhck: And much slower with higher overhead. – Hello71 Jun 4 '12 at 20:49

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