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Linux stat Command Summary with Examples

Linux stat allows you to show file or file system status.
  1. Purpose - Learn what stat is for and how to find help.
  2. Options - Review a few common options and arguments.
  3. Examples - Walk through code examples with stat.
  4. A tip - Finish off with one more insight.
face pic by Paul Alan Davis, CFA
Updated: February 24, 2021
In this tutorial on Linux stat, 50 of 100, below find a 3-4 minute introductory video, a text-based tutorial and all of the code examples from the video.

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Examples of the Linux stat Command


Learn to see full file details at the Linux command line.

Video Tutorial

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Linux stat Command Summary with Examples (3:57)

Video Script

The Command and Why You Need It

Our fiftieth word, or command to memorize is stat from our category System.

stat allows you to show file or file system status.

Common Linux stat Options
-options description
--help Print help screen
-f, --file-system Dispaly file system status
-c, --format=FORMAT Display file status according to FORMAT

Recall from video 7 on listing files with ls, we saw lots of information, and now we'll be able to see more, like multiple file timestamps.

Before we start, it helps to think of commands as mini programs and most follow this structure: command -option(s) argument(s).

The stat command has 7 options and the argument is the file or file system name.

Like most commands, help is available with double-dash --help. The -f option reports on the file system, and -c is for files. Optionally, you can pick selected items using codes for each one.

So why is stat an important command? Well, you'll often come across the need to dig a bit deeper into files and drives. And now you know how to do that.


Okay, the best way to embed this in your memory is by typing in your own terminal window.

Find this on your Mac using a program called Terminal. On Linux use Terminal or Konsole, and currently Microsoft is adding this functionality to Windows.

Here we go. So we have this directory full of files we've created along our journey, viewed simply with ls -og.

$ ls -og total 204 drwxr-xr-x 2 4096 Oct 14 19:53 stuff -rw-r--r-- 1 176 Oct 4 18:14 video05.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 100 Oct 10 18:42 video11.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 0 Oct 9 21:16 video16.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 45 Oct 12 10:11 video19.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 149 Oct 12 16:10 video20.txt lrwxrwxrwx 1 31 Oct 13 10:11 video21.txt -> ../ridiculouslylongfilename.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 86 Oct 13 19:40 video23.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 86 Oct 14 18:57 video24.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 1203 Oct 15 13:17 video26.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 1259 Oct 15 20:05 video27.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 352 Oct 17 21:17 video31.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 362 Oct 18 12:26 video32.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 594 Oct 18 16:27 video33.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 247 Oct 18 18:15 video34.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 247 Oct 19 14:36 video35.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 247 Oct 20 12:01 video36.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 59 Oct 20 17:06 video37.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 306 Oct 21 07:10 video38a.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 245 Oct 21 07:23 video38b.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 395 Oct 21 13:07 video38c.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 149 Oct 22 13:27 video40.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 145 Oct 24 14:19 video44.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 2678 Oct 26 15:49 video48a.txt -rw-r--r-- 1 114705 Oct 26 15:49 video48b.txt $ clear

And then before we start, stat --help shows you codes, identified with a percent % sign. The codes I mentioned earlier.

$ stat --help Usage: stat [OPTION]... FILE... Display file or file system status. Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too. -L, --dereference follow links -f, --file-system display file system status instead of file status -c --format=FORMAT use the specified FORMAT instead of the default; output a newline after each use of FORMAT --printf=FORMAT like --format, but interpret backslash escapes, and do not output a mandatory trailing newline; if you want a newline, include \n in FORMAT -t, --terse print the information in terse form --help display this help and exit --version output version information and exit The valid format sequences for files (without --file-system): %a access rights in octal %A access rights in human readable form %b number of blocks allocated (see %B) %B the size in bytes of each block reported by %b %C SELinux security context string %d device number in decimal %D device number in hex %f raw mode in hex %F file type %g group ID of owner %G group name of owner %h number of hard links %i inode number %m mount point %n file name %N quoted file name with dereference if symbolic link %o optimal I/O transfer size hint %s total size, in bytes %t major device type in hex, for character/block device special files %T minor device type in hex, for character/block device special files %u user ID of owner %U user name of owner %w time of file birth, human-readable; - if unknown %W time of file birth, seconds since Epoch; 0 if unknown %x time of last access, human-readable %X time of last access, seconds since Epoch %y time of last data modification, human-readable %Y time of last data modification, seconds since Epoch %z time of last status change, human-readable %Z time of last status change, seconds since Epoch Valid format sequences for file systems: %a free blocks available to non-superuser %b total data blocks in file system %c total file nodes in file system %d free file nodes in file system %f free blocks in file system %i file system ID in hex %l maximum length of filenames %n file name %s block size (for faster transfers) %S fundamental block size (for block counts) %t file system type in hex %T file system type in human readable form NOTE: your shell may have its own version of stat, which usually supersedes the version described here. Please refer to your shell's documentation for details about the options it supports. GNU coreutils online help: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/> Full documentation at: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/stat> or available locally via: info '(coreutils) stat invocation' $ clear

Now, let's use stat to explore that file I had you review for homework in video48b.txt, and we'll do it without options.

$ stat video48b.txt File: 'video48b.txt' Size: 114705 Blocks: 232 IO Bloc: 4096 regular file Device: 811h/2065d Inode: 131121 Links: 1 Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--) Uid: Gid: Access: 2016-10-26 14:56:10.618125160 -0700 Modify: 2016-10-26 15:49:59.072498545 -0700 Change: 2016-10-26 15:49:59.072498545 -0700 Birth: -

Oh yeah, it's a big one.

Then, use the same file but then use stat -c, and just look at the "%A%s" video48b.txt.

$ stat -c "%A%s" video48b.txt -rw-r--r-- 114705 $ _

And there you have permissions and file size, as an example. Yes, we haven't covered permissions yet, but will soon.

And last, run stat with -f for file system and my hard drive device is mounted in the directory /dev/sda1.

$ stat -f /dev/sda1 File: "/dev/sda1" ID: 0 Namelen: 255 Type: tmpfs Block size: 4096 Fundamental block size: 4096 Blocks: Total: 218166 Free: 218166 Available: 218166 Inodes: Total: 218166 Free: 218077

Very good.

A Final Tip

Okay now you know how to use stat. And you know the syntax for commands, options and arguments.

One last tip about the stat command. So please review the output options here. That's helpful. And look at this! 50 video (tutorials) down, 50% of the way. Very nice!

Okay, thanks for visiting today. I hope this was a helpful introduction to the stat command.

(Sorry about the low energy in this video, I created the whole 100-video series, start to finish in 51 days, so I must have been exhausted at the half-way mark. Or I skipped coffee that morning. -Paul ;)

Learn More About The Series

For an overview of the 100 videos, the 8 quizzes, a cheat sheet, the categories and a Q&A section, visit:

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