I am wondering if there is a way to run the find command and make it go through the directories (recursively) in alphabetical order (or in reverse)? I have a bunch of directories with names representing some order and often I need to find the earliest (or the last) based on the directory name.

There are questions and answers on how sorting the results returned by find (see below). However, I am interested to know if there is a way to make find to run the search alphabetically because it would be much more efficient than going through the whole thing and then sort.

Ideally, I can specify the command to stop after n hits are found, but that's secondary because I can also stop the command manually.

How do I get files found by command-line 'find' ordered by modification date in OS X? https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/34325/sorting-the-output-of-find

2 Answers 2


find's directory listing order is given by the order of the entries stored in the filesystem.

You could consider writing a bash script that goes into each directory and lists the needed files.


You could try:

find -type d -maxdepth 1 | sort -h | xargs find

find -type d -maxdepth 1 lists directories, without recursing. We pipe the output into sort -h, to sort the results in a human-centric way. The sorted list of directories gets sent to xargs which uses them as command-line arguments for the final find, the one that does the majority of the work.

I know you wanted to avoid sort, but AFAIK, find is going to go through the file system by the filesystem's order.

Hope this helps.

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