Recursively finding files in Python using the find command

The find command on a UNIX system is great for searching through directories for files. There are lots of option available but the simplest usage is:

find PATH -name 'SEARCH'

Combined with the subprocess module in Python, it’s easy to use this search capability within a Python script:

import subprocess

# Set up find command
findCMD = 'find . -name "*.kea"'
out = subprocess.Popen(findCMD,shell=True,stdin=subprocess.PIPE, 
# Get standard out and error
(stdout, stderr) = out.communicate()

# Save found files to list
filelist = stdout.decode().split()

The above code can be used to get the output from any command line tool in Python.

As noted in the comment by Sam, a more portable way of finding files is to use the os.walk function combined with fnmatch:

import os, fnmatch

inDIR = '/home/dan/'
pattern = '*kea'
fileList = []

# Walk through directory
for dName, sdName, fList in os.walk(inDIR):
    for fileName in fList:
        if fnmatch.fnmatch(fileName, pattern): # Match search string
            fileList.append(os.path.join(dName, fileName))

2 thoughts on “Recursively finding files in Python using the find command

    1. danclewley Post author

      Thanks. I’ve updated the ‘’ utility in RSGISLib to use os.walk with fnmatch to provide the same functionality as the code using the find command.


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