ansible.builtin.find module – Return a list of files based on specific criteria

Note

This module is part of ansible-core and included in all Ansible installations. In most cases, you can use the short module name find even without specifying the collections: keyword. However, we recommend you use the FQCN for easy linking to the module documentation and to avoid conflicting with other collections that may have the same module name.

New in version 2.0: of ansible.builtin

Synopsis

  • Return a list of files based on specific criteria. Multiple criteria are AND’d together.

  • For Windows targets, use the ansible.windows.win_find module instead.

Parameters

Parameter

Comments

age

string

Select files whose age is equal to or greater than the specified time.

Use a negative age to find files equal to or less than the specified time.

You can choose seconds, minutes, hours, days, or weeks by specifying the first letter of any of those words (e.g., “1w”).

age_stamp

string

Choose the file property against which we compare age.

Choices:

  • atime

  • ctime

  • mtime ← (default)

contains

string

A regular expression or pattern which should be matched against the file content.

Works only when file_type is file.

depth

integer

added in 2.6 of ansible.builtin

Set the maximum number of levels to descend into.

Setting recurse to no will override this value, which is effectively depth 1.

Default is unlimited depth.

excludes

aliases: exclude

list / elements=string

added in 2.5 of ansible.builtin

One or more (shell or regex) patterns, which type is controlled by use_regex option.

Items whose basenames match an excludes pattern are culled from patterns matches. Multiple patterns can be specified using a list.

file_type

string

Type of file to select.

The ‘link’ and ‘any’ choices were added in Ansible 2.3.

Choices:

  • any

  • directory

  • file ← (default)

  • link

follow

boolean

Set this to yes to follow symlinks in path for systems with python 2.6+.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

get_checksum

boolean

Set this to yes to retrieve a file’s SHA1 checksum.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

hidden

boolean

Set this to yes to include hidden files, otherwise they will be ignored.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

paths

aliases: name, path

list / elements=string / required

List of paths of directories to search. All paths must be fully qualified.

patterns

aliases: pattern

list / elements=string

One or more (shell or regex) patterns, which type is controlled by use_regex option.

The patterns restrict the list of files to be returned to those whose basenames match at least one of the patterns specified. Multiple patterns can be specified using a list.

The pattern is matched against the file base name, excluding the directory.

When using regexen, the pattern MUST match the ENTIRE file name, not just parts of it. So if you are looking to match all files ending in .default, you’d need to use ‘.*.default’ as a regexp and not just ‘.default’.

This parameter expects a list, which can be either comma separated or YAML. If any of the patterns contain a comma, make sure to put them in a list to avoid splitting the patterns in undesirable ways.

Defaults to ‘*’ when use_regex=False, or ‘.*’ when use_regex=True.

Default: []

read_whole_file

boolean

added in 2.11 of ansible.builtin

When doing a contains search, determines whether the whole file should be read into memory or if the regex should be applied to the file line-by-line.

Setting this to true can have performance and memory implications for large files.

This uses re.search() instead of re.match().

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

recurse

boolean

If target is a directory, recursively descend into the directory looking for files.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

size

string

Select files whose size is equal to or greater than the specified size.

Use a negative size to find files equal to or less than the specified size.

Unqualified values are in bytes but b, k, m, g, and t can be appended to specify bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes, respectively.

Size is not evaluated for directories.

use_regex

boolean

If no, the patterns are file globs (shell).

If yes, they are python regexes.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

Attributes

Attribute

Support

Description

check_mode

Support: full

since this action does not modify the target it just executes normally during check mode

Can run in check_mode and return changed status prediction without modifying target

diff_mode

Support: none

Will return details on what has changed (or possibly needs changing in check_mode), when in diff mode

platform

Platform: posix

Target OS/families that can be operated against

See Also

See also

ansible.windows.win_find

The official documentation on the ansible.windows.win_find module.

Examples

- name: Recursively find /tmp files older than 2 days
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /tmp
    age: 2d
    recurse: yes

- name: Recursively find /tmp files older than 4 weeks and equal or greater than 1 megabyte
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /tmp
    age: 4w
    size: 1m
    recurse: yes

- name: Recursively find /var/tmp files with last access time greater than 3600 seconds
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/tmp
    age: 3600
    age_stamp: atime
    recurse: yes

- name: Find /var/log files equal or greater than 10 megabytes ending with .old or .log.gz
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/log
    patterns: '*.old,*.log.gz'
    size: 10m

# Note that YAML double quotes require escaping backslashes but yaml single quotes do not.
- name: Find /var/log files equal or greater than 10 megabytes ending with .old or .log.gz via regex
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/log
    patterns: "^.*?\\.(?:old|log\\.gz)$"
    size: 10m
    use_regex: yes

- name: Find /var/log all directories, exclude nginx and mysql
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/log
    recurse: no
    file_type: directory
    excludes: 'nginx,mysql'

# When using patterns that contain a comma, make sure they are formatted as lists to avoid splitting the pattern
- name: Use a single pattern that contains a comma formatted as a list
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/log
    file_type: file
    use_regex: yes
    patterns: ['^_[0-9]{2,4}_.*.log$']

- name: Use multiple patterns that contain a comma formatted as a YAML list
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: /var/log
    file_type: file
    use_regex: yes
    patterns:
      - '^_[0-9]{2,4}_.*.log$'
      - '^[a-z]{1,5}_.*log$'

Return Values

Common return values are documented here, the following are the fields unique to this module:

Key

Description

examined

integer

Number of filesystem objects looked at

Returned: success

Sample: 34

files

list / elements=string

All matches found with the specified criteria (see stat module for full output of each dictionary)

Returned: success

Sample: [{”…”: “…”, “checksum”: “16fac7be61a6e4591a33ef4b729c5c3302307523”, “mode”: “0644”, “path”: “/var/tmp/test1”}, {”…”: “…”, “path”: “/var/tmp/test2”}]

matched

integer

Number of matches

Returned: success

Sample: 14

skipped_paths

dictionary

added in 2.12 of ansible.builtin

skipped paths and reasons they were skipped

Returned: success

Sample: {“/laskdfj”: “\u0027/laskdfj\u0027 is not a directory”}

Authors

  • Brian Coca (@bcoca)