How to sort the output of the du -h command by size?

Posted December 10, 2020 8.4k views
Linux BasicsUbuntuCentOSDebianLinux Commands

When troubleshooting any disk space problems on a server or just trying to find the largest directories, the du command is essential!

You can use the du command which estimates the directory space usage.

For example, let’s say that we want to check the size of the directories located in the /home directory. To do that let’s first cd into the /home folder:

  • cd /home/

And then run the du command:

  • du -h --max-depth=1
16K ./demo 5.0G ./bobby 28K ./sammy 1.8G ./dev 7.1G .

I like running the du command with the --max-depth=1 argument which only shows the size of the folders located inside the current directory and not the subfolders.

As you can see from the output the size is not sorted by size, here is how to do that!

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1 answer

What you could usually do in order to sort values in Linux is to use the sort command.

However, if you pipe the output of the du -h command directly into sort, it will not take into consideration the human-readable size format.

Lukily sort comes with a -h argument as well which would take the human-readable format into consideration and will compare the human-readable numbers.

So the full command would look like this:

  • du -h --max-depth=1 | sort -h

For more information you can take a look at the official documentation here:

Hope that this helps!