List folder contents - MATLAB dir - MathWorks France (2024)

List folder contents

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dir name

listing = dir(name)


dir lists files and folders in the currentfolder.


dir name lists files and folders that match name. When name is a folder, dir lists the contents of the folder. Specify name using absolute or relative path names. The name argument can include the * wildcard in the file name, and both the * and the ** wildcard in the path name. Characters next to a ** wildcard must be file separators.


listing = dir(name) returnsattributes about name.


View Contents of Folder

List the contents of a folder.

Create a folder, myfolder, that contains the files myfile1.m, myfile2.m, and myfile3.m.

mkdir myfoldermovefile myfile1.m myfoldermovefile myfile2.m myfoldermovefile myfile3.m myfolder

List the files in myfolder.

dir myfolder
. .. myfile1.m myfile2.m myfile3.m 

Find Files Matching Specified Name

List all files with a .m extension that contain the term my.

Create a folder, myfolder, that contains the files myfile1.m, myfile2.m, and myfile3.txt.

mkdir myfoldermovefile myfile1.m myfoldermovefile myfile2.m myfoldermovefile myfile3.txt myfolder

List the matching files in myfolder.

myfile1.m myfile2.m 

Find Files in Subfolders

List all files in the current folder and all of the subfolders of the current folder.

Create a folder, myfolder1, that contains these files and folders:

myfile1.mmyfolder2 myfile2.m myfolder3 myfile3.m
mkdir myfolder1mkdir myfolder1/myfolder2mkdir myfolder1/myfolder2/myfolder3movefile myfile1.m myfolder1movefile myfile2.m myfolder1/myfolder2movefile myfile3.m myfolder1/myfolder2/myfolder3

List all files with a .m extension in myfolder1 and all of the subfolders of myfolder1.

cd myfolder1dir **/*.m
Files Found in Current Folder:myfile1.m Files Found in: myfolder2myfile2.m Files Found in: myfolder2\myfolder3myfile3.m 

Find Information in the Return Structure

Return the folder listing of myfolder to the variable MyFolderInfo.

Create a folder, myfolder, that contains the files myfile1.m, myfile2.m, and myfile3.m.

mkdir myfoldermovefile myfile1.m myfoldermovefile myfile2.m myfoldermovefile myfile3.m myfolder

Get a list of the files in myfolder. MATLAB® returns the information in a structure array.

MyFolderInfo = dir('myfolder')
MyFolderInfo=5×1 struct array with fields: name folder date bytes isdir datenum

Index into the structure to access a particular item.

ans = 'myfile1.m'

Find Date File Last Modified

Get the date and time a file was last modified.

First, query the datenum field of the structure that dir returns. The value of the datenum field is a serial date number and does not vary with locale.

MyFileInfo = dir('myfile1.m');FileDate = MyFileInfo.datenum

As of R2022b, serial date numbers are not recommended. Convert the serial date number to a datetime value by using the datetime function.

FileDatetime = datetime(FileDate,ConvertFrom="datenum")
FileDatetime = datetime 24-May-2016 11:24:31

Input Arguments

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nameFile or folder name
character vector | string scalar

File or folder name, specified as a character vector or string scalar. If name is a string, enclose it in parentheses. For example, dir("FolderName").

To list files and folders at a remote location, name must contain a full path specified as a uniform resource locator (URL). For more information, see Work with Remote Data.

To search for multiple files, use wildcards in the file name. For example, dir *.txt lists all files with a txt extension in the current folder. To search through folders and subfolders on the path recursively, use wildcards in the path name. For example, dir */*.txt lists all files with a txt extension exactly one folder under the current folder, and dir **/*.txt lists all files with a txt extension zero or more folders under the current folder. Characters next to a ** wildcard must be file separators.


MATLAB® always treats the * character as a wildcard, even on file systems that support * in file names.

The MATLAB dir function is consistent with the Microsoft® Windows® operating system dir command in that both support short file names generated by DOS.

Output Arguments

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listing — File attributes
structure array

File attributes, returned as a n-by-1 structurearray, where n is the number of files and foldersreturned by the dir command.

This table shows the fields in the structure.

Field Name




File or folder name



Location of file or folder



Modification date timestamp



Size of the file in bytes



1 if name is a folder; 0 ifname is a file



Modification date as serial date number.



  • To exclude invalid entries returned by the dir command,use the cellfun function.

    MyFolderInfo = dir; MyFolderInfo = MyFolderInfo(~cellfun('isempty', {})); 

    Invalid entries occur when you run dir withan output argument and the results include a nonexistent file or afile that dir cannot query for some other reason.In this case, dir returns the following defaultvalues.

    date: '' bytes: [] isdir: 0 datenum: [] 

    Invalid entries most commonly occur on UNIX® platforms when dir queriesa symbolic link pointing to a nonexistent target. A nonexistent targetis a target that is moved, removed, or renamed.

  • To obtain a list of available drives on Microsoft Windows platforms,use the DOS net use command at the command line.

    dos('net use')

    Or type

    [s,r] = dos('net use')

    MATLAB returns the results to the character array r.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

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Starting in R2020a, on UNIX platforms, the wildcard expression *.* no longer matches folders or files without an extension. In previous releases, the expression matches folders or files regardless of extension, including files without an extension. This change of behavior does not apply to Microsoft Windows platforms.

See Also

cd | fileattrib | isfolder | ls | mkdir | rmdir | what


  • Specify File Names
  • Work with Remote Data

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List folder contents - MATLAB dir
- MathWorks France (2024)
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