How to list all files of a directory

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by dot icon Updated: Jul 24, 2023

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Python is a high-level, interpreted programming language known for its simplicity and readability. Python's design philosophy emphasizes code readability. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced programmers alike.  


Here are some key features and concepts of Python:  

  • Syntax  
  • Interpreted  
  • Dynamic Typing  
  • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)  
  • Extensive Standard Library  
  • Third-Party Packages  
  • Cross-Platform  
  • Readability  

Python's versatility have made it popular among developers for many applications. This includes web development, scientific computing, data analysis, artificial intelligence, automation, and scripting. Its extensive community support and documentation. It supports the active developer community and contributes to its widespread adoption.  


To list all the files in a directory using Python, you can use the os module. This module provides several functions for interacting with the operating system. You can make use of the os.listdir() function to retrieve a list of all files and directories. It is done within a given directory.  


Directories provide a hierarchical structure. It is like a tree with a root directory at the top. Then, underneath the root directory, subdirectories can be created. It will be done by forming a nested structure. Directories can contain both files and more directories. This will allow for a systematic organization of data.  


Files are the basic units of storage within a file system. They can be documents, images, videos, programs, or any other type of digital content. Files are stored within directories to provide logical grouping and ease of navigation.  


Directories and files are identified by their names, which are usually alphanumeric strings. The file system uses these names and their paths to identify and access them. Files within a directory can have the same name if their paths differ. In a directory, you can find various types of files. Each of them serves different purposes and contains different types of data. Let's discuss some common types of files that you might encounter.  


It's important to cover several key points while writing about files and directions. Here are the main aspects to consider:  

Files and Directories:  

  • Files: In Python, files are used to store and organize data. They can be text, binary, or special file types like CSV, JSON, and XML.  
  • Directories: Directories, also known as folders, are containers used to organize files.  

File Paths:  

  • Absolute Paths: An absolute path specifies the exact location of a file or directory. The location is from the root of the file system.  
  • Relative Paths: A relative path specifies the location of a file or directory. The location is relative to the current working directory.  

File Access Modes:  

  • Reading: Opening a file in read mode allows you to read its contents without modifying it.  
  • Writing: Opening a file in write mode allows you to create a new file or overwrite the existing contents of a file.  
  • Appending: Opening a file in append mode allows you to add new content to the end of an existing file.  
  • Binary Mode: Binary mode is used when dealing with non-text files, such as images or audio.  

File Operations:  

  • Opening and Closing Files: Python provides the open () function to open files. It helps the close() method to close them.  
  • Reading from Files: Use methods like read (), readline(), or readlines() to read the contents of a file.  
  • Writing to Files: Use the write() method to write data to a file.  
  • Managing File Pointers: This keeps track of the current position within a file. Use methods like seek () and tell () to manage the file pointer.  

File and Directory Manipulation:  

  • Checking Existence: Use the os.path.exists() function to check if a file or directory exists.  
  • Creating Directories: The os.mkdir() function can create a new directory.  
  • Listing Directory Contents: This retrieves a list of files and directories.  
  • Renaming and Deleting: The os.rename() and os.remove() functions are used to rename or delete files.  

Exception Handling:  

When working with files, it's important to handle exceptions. They are FileNotFoundError or PermissionError. It may occur due to incorrect paths, missing files, or insufficient permissions.  

Types of Files:  

  • Text Files: Text files contain plain text data in the form of ASCII or Unicode characters.  
  • Image Files: Image files store graphical data, such as pictures, photos, or graphics.  
  • Executable Files: Executable files contain machine code. A computer's operating system executes that.  
  • Audio Files: This stores sound data, including music, speech, or audio content.  
  • Video Files: This contains encoded video data and audio data, if applicable.  
  • Archive Files: These are used to store many files and folders. As together in a compressed format, reducing their size.  
  • Document Files: These stores textual or graphical data in a structured format.  

Python is a powerful and versatile programming language. It can be used to create a wide range of programs. Here's a general guide on how to use Python to create simple programs that perform specific tasks:  

  • Install Python.  
  • Choose an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).  
  • Write your Python code.  
  • Define the task.  
  • Understand the problem.  
  • Write the code.  
  • Refine and improve.  


Python is a versatile programming language. That can be applied to various problem domains. That includes data analysis and web development.  


Here's some advice on how to use Python to solve problems in these areas:  

  • Data Analysis - Familiarize yourself with libraries like NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib.  
  • Machine Learning - Get acquainted with Scikit-learn. It is a popular machine-learning library in Python.  
  • Web Development - Learn a web framework like Django or Flask. It is used to build dynamic web applications.  
  • Automation and Scripting - Python excels at automating repetitive tasks.  
  • Collaborative Development - Familiarize yourself with version control systems. It looks like Git manages your codebase.  

In conclusion, harnessing the power of Python can enhance your programming skills. This will broaden your understanding of the tech world. Python has versatility, simplicity, and an extensive ecosystem. This makes it an invaluable tool for both beginners and experienced programmers alike. This programming language and its associated files and directories provide a unique ecosystem. It is provided for software development.  


The language's distinct features, combined with the well-structured file organization. Also, its adherence to conventions creates an environment. It promotes efficiency, maintainability, and scalability. The complementary tools and technologies further enhance the development experience. It also empowers developers to create robust and high-quality software solutions.  


In this solution, we are listing all files of a directory.


Follow the steps carefully to get the output easily.

  1. Install Jupyter Notebook on your computer.
  2. Open the terminal and import os by writing - import os
  3. Copy the snippet using the 'copy' button and paste it into that file.
  4. Call the function by writing - directory_listing('path of your file')
  5. Run the file using run button.

I hope you found this useful. I have added the version information in the following sections.

I found this code snippet by searching for "How to list all files of a directory" in kandi. You can try any such use case!

Environment Tested

I tested this solution in the following versions. Be mindful of changes when working with other versions.

  1. The solution is created in Python3.9.6.

Using this solution, we are able to list all files of a directory.

This process also facilities an easy to use, hassle free method to create a hands-on working version of code which would help us to list all files of a directory.


1. What is the glob module, and how can it be used to list all files in a directory?  

The glob module in Python is used for file and pattern matching in directories. It provides a way to search for files using wildcards and regular expressions. The glob module uses the rules used by the Unix shell, although it's also available on Windows.  


To use the glob module to list all files in a directory, you can follow these steps:  

  • Import the glob module.  
  • Use the glob.glob() function, passing in a pattern as an argument. The pattern can include wildcards (* and?) to match multiple or single characters.  
  • The glob.glob() function returns a list of file names that match the pattern. You can iterate over this list to process each file.  
  • You can use the glob.iglob() function, which returns an iterator instead of a list. This is useful when dealing with many files as it avoids loading all the file names into memory.  


2. How do you use the Python - Get List command to get all files in a directory?  

You can use the OS module to get a list of all files in a directory using Python.  


3. What is the purpose of using a Python module when listing all files in a directory?  

The purpose is to help leverage the functionality provided by the module. It simplifies the process of working with files and directories.  


Python offers several modules that can be used for this purpose. The Python module helps with the OS module. The OS module provides a set of functions. It allows interaction with the operating system, including manipulating files and directories.  


4. How does one view the entire directory tree when listing all files in a directory?  

To view the entire directory tree when listing all files, you can use the following methods:  

  • Command-line tools  
  • Graphical file managers  
  • Programming  


5. What features of the Pathlib Module make it useful for listing all files in a directory?  

The pathlib module provides an object-oriented approach for working with file system paths. It offers several features that make it useful for listing all files in a directory.  


Here are some of its key features:  

  • Cross-platform compatibility  
  • Easy directory traversal  
  • Path globbing  
  • Recursive file listing  
  • File filtering  
  • Path manipulation


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