Github url


by ogham

ogham /exa

A modern version of ‘ls’.

10.4K Stars 325 Forks Last release: about 1 year ago (v0.9.0) MIT License 1.3K Commits 11 Releases

Available items

No Items, yet!

The developer of this repository has not created any items for sale yet. Need a bug fixed? Help with integration? A different license? Create a request here:

exa Build status

exa is a replacement for


written in Rust.


exa is a modern replacement for the command-line program


that ships with Unix and Linux operating systems, with more features and better defaults. It uses colours to distinguish file types and metadata. It knows about symlinks, extended attributes, and Git. And it’s small, fast, and just one single binary.

By deliberately making some decisions differently, exa attempts to be a more featureful, more user-friendly version of




Screenshots of exa


exa’s options are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike



Display Options

  • -1, --oneline: display one entry per line
  • -G, --grid: display entries as a grid (default)
  • -l, --long: display extended details and attributes
  • -R, --recurse: recurse into directories
  • -T, --tree: recurse into directories as a tree
  • -x, --across: sort the grid across, rather than downwards
  • -F, --classify: display type indicator by file names
  • --colo[u]r: when to use terminal colours
  • --colo[u]r-scale: highlight levels of file sizes distinctly
  • --icons: display icons

Filtering Options

  • -a, --all: show hidden and 'dot' files
  • -d, --list-dirs: list directories like regular files
  • -L, --level=(depth): limit the depth of recursion
  • -r, --reverse: reverse the sort order
  • -s, --sort=(field): which field to sort by
  • --group-directories-first: list directories before other files
  • -D, --only-dirs: list only directories
  • --git-ignore: ignore files mentioned in
  • -I, --ignore-glob=(globs): glob patterns (pipe-separated) of files to ignore

Pass the


option twice to also show the





Long View Options

These options are available when running with --long (



  • -b, --binary: list file sizes with binary prefixes

  • -B, --bytes: list file sizes in bytes, without any prefixes

  • -g, --group: list each file's group

  • -h, --header: add a header row to each column

  • -H, --links: list each file's number of hard links

  • -i, --inode: list each file's inode number

  • -m, --modified: use the modified timestamp field

  • -S, --blocks: list each file's number of file system blocks

  • -t, --time=(field): which timestamp field to use

  • -u, --accessed: use the accessed timestamp field

  • -U, --created: use the created timestamp field

  • [email protected], --extended: list each file's extended attributes and sizes

  • --changed: use the changed timestamp field

  • --git: list each file's Git status, if tracked or ignored

  • --time-style: how to format timestamps

  • --no-permissions: suppress the permissions field

  • --no-filesize: suppress the filesize field

  • --no-user: suppress the user field

  • --no-time: suppress the time field

  • Valid --color options are always, automatic, and never.

  • Valid sort fields are accessed, changed, created, extension, Extension, inode, modified, name, Name, size, type, and none. Fields starting with a capital letter sort uppercase before lowercase. The modified field has the aliases date, time, and newest, while its reverse has the aliases age and oldest.

  • Valid time fields are modified, changed, accessed, and created.

  • Valid time styles are default, iso, long-iso, and full-iso.


exa is written in Rust. You will need rustc version 1.35.0 or higher. The recommended way to install Rust is from the official download page. Once you have it set up, a simple

make install

will compile exa and install it into



exa depends on libgit2 for certain features. If you’re unable to compile libgit2, you can opt out of Git support by running

cargo build --release --no-default-features


If you intend to compile for musl you will need to use the flag vendored-openssl if you want to get the Git feature working:

cargo build --release --target=x86\_64-unknown-linux-musl --features vendored-openssl,git

Cargo Install

If you’re using a recent version of Cargo (0.5.0 or higher), you can use the

cargo install


cargo install exa


cargo install --no-default-features exa

Cargo will build the


binary and place it in


(this location can be overridden by setting the




If you're using homebrew, you can use the

brew install


brew install exa


brew install exa --without-git



You can install the


package from the official Fedora repositories by running:

dnf install exa



is also installable through the derivation using the nix package manager by running:

nix-env -i exa

Testing with Vagrant

exa uses Vagrant to configure virtual machines for testing.

Programs such as exa that are basically interfaces to the system are notoriously difficult to test. Although the internal components have unit tests, it’s impossible to do a complete end-to-end test without mandating the current user’s name, the time zone, the locale, and directory structure to test. (And yes, these tests are worth doing. I have missed an edge case on more than one occasion.)

The initial attempt to solve the problem was just to create a directory of “awkward” test cases, run exa on it, and make sure it produced the correct output. But even this output would change if, say, the user’s locale formats dates in a different way. These can be mocked inside the code, but at the cost of making that code more complicated to read and understand.

An alternative solution is to fake everything: create a virtual machine with a known state and run the tests on that. This is what Vagrant does. Although it takes a while to download and set up, it gives everyone the same development environment to test for any obvious regressions.

First, initialise the VM:

host$ vagrant up

The first command downloads the virtual machine image, and then runs our provisioning script, which installs Rust, exa’s dependencies, configures the environment, and generates some awkward files and folders to use as test cases. This takes some time, but it does write to output occasionally. Once this is done, you can SSH in, and build and test:

host$ vagrant ssh vm$ cd /vagrant vm$ cargo build vm$ ./xtests/run All the tests passed!

Running without Vagrant

Of course, the drawback of having a standard development environment is that you stop noticing bugs that occur outside of it. For this reason, Vagrant isn’t a necessary development step — it’s there if you’d like to use it, but exa still gets used and tested on other platforms. It can still be built and compiled on any target triple that it supports, VM or no VM, with

cargo build


cargo test


We use cookies. If you continue to browse the site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information on our use of cookies please see our Privacy Policy.