The most common tool to list files and directories in Linux is ls. ls is a very capable tool, and you can set it to list files and folders recursively.

There are also other command-line tools to list directory content recursively in Linux (and other Unix based operating systems such as macOS and the BSDs) and you could choose any of them based on your requirement and preference.

List files in directory recursively in Linux:

  1. Use ls with -R option.
    $ ls -R recursive/
    recursive/:
    subdirectory-01  subdirectory-02
    
    recursive/subdirectory-01:
    file-01  file-02  file-03
    
    recursive/subdirectory-02:
    file-01  file-02  file-03
    
    $ ls -lR recursive/
    recursive/:
    total 8
    drwxr-xr-x 2 user user 4096 Ogos 28 11:10 subdirectory-01
    drwxr-xr-x 2 user user 4096 Ogos 28 11:10 subdirectory-02
    
    recursive/subdirectory-01:
    total 0
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-01
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-02
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-03
    
    recursive/subdirectory-02:
    total 0
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-01
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-02
    -rw-r--r-- 1 user user 0 Ogos 28 11:10 file-03

    Other options for ls:

    $ ls --help
    Usage: ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...
    List information about the FILEs (the current directory by default).
    Sort entries alphabetically if none of -cftuvSUX nor --sort is specified.
    
    Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
      -a, --all                  do not ignore entries starting with .
      -A, --almost-all           do not list implied . and ..
          --author               with -l, print the author of each file
      -b, --escape               print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters
          --block-size=SIZE      with -l, scale sizes by SIZE when printing them;
                                   e.g., '--block-size=M'; see SIZE format below
      -B, --ignore-backups       do not list implied entries ending with ~
      -c                         with -lt: sort by, and show, ctime (time of last
                                   modification of file status information);
                                   with -l: show ctime and sort by name;
                                   otherwise: sort by ctime, newest first
      -C                         list entries by columns
          --color[=WHEN]         colorize the output; WHEN can be 'always' (default
                                   if omitted), 'auto', or 'never'; more info below
      -d, --directory            list directories themselves, not their contents
      -D, --dired                generate output designed for Emacs' dired mode
      -f                         do not sort, enable -aU, disable -ls --color
      -F, --classify             append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries
          --file-type            likewise, except do not append '*'
          --format=WORD          across -x, commas -m, horizontal -x, long -l,
                                   single-column -1, verbose -l, vertical -C
          --full-time            like -l --time-style=full-iso
      -g                         like -l, but do not list owner
          --group-directories-first
                                 group directories before files;
                                   can be augmented with a --sort option, but any
                                   use of --sort=none (-U) disables grouping
      -G, --no-group             in a long listing, don't print group names
      -h, --human-readable       with -l and -s, print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.
          --si                   likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
      -H, --dereference-command-line
                                 follow symbolic links listed on the command line
          --dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir
                                 follow each command line symbolic link
                                   that points to a directory
          --hide=PATTERN         do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN
                                   (overridden by -a or -A)
          --hyperlink[=WHEN]     hyperlink file names; WHEN can be 'always'
                                   (default if omitted), 'auto', or 'never'
          --indicator-style=WORD  append indicator with style WORD to entry names:
                                   none (default), slash (-p),
                                   file-type (--file-type), classify (-F)
      -i, --inode                print the index number of each file
      -I, --ignore=PATTERN       do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN
      -k, --kibibytes            default to 1024-byte blocks for disk usage;
                                   used only with -s and per directory totals
      -l                         use a long listing format
      -L, --dereference          when showing file information for a symbolic
                                   link, show information for the file the link
                                   references rather than for the link itself
      -m                         fill width with a comma separated list of entries
      -n, --numeric-uid-gid      like -l, but list numeric user and group IDs
      -N, --literal              print entry names without quoting
      -o                         like -l, but do not list group information
      -p, --indicator-style=slash
                                 append / indicator to directories
      -q, --hide-control-chars   print ? instead of nongraphic characters
          --show-control-chars   show nongraphic characters as-is (the default,
                                   unless program is 'ls' and output is a terminal)
      -Q, --quote-name           enclose entry names in double quotes
          --quoting-style=WORD   use quoting style WORD for entry names:
                                   literal, locale, shell, shell-always,
                                   shell-escape, shell-escape-always, c, escape
                                   (overrides QUOTING_STYLE environment variable)
      -r, --reverse              reverse order while sorting
      -R, --recursive            list subdirectories recursively
      -s, --size                 print the allocated size of each file, in blocks
      -S                         sort by file size, largest first
          --sort=WORD            sort by WORD instead of name: none (-U), size (-S),
                                   time (-t), version (-v), extension (-X)
          --time=WORD            with -l, show time as WORD instead of default
                                   modification time: atime or access or use (-u);
                                   ctime or status (-c); also use specified time
                                   as sort key if --sort=time (newest first)
          --time-style=TIME_STYLE  time/date format with -l; see TIME_STYLE below
      -t                         sort by modification time, newest first
      -T, --tabsize=COLS         assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8
      -u                         with -lt: sort by, and show, access time;
                                   with -l: show access time and sort by name;
                                   otherwise: sort by access time, newest first
      -U                         do not sort; list entries in directory order
      -v                         natural sort of (version) numbers within text
      -w, --width=COLS           set output width to COLS.  0 means no limit
      -x                         list entries by lines instead of by columns
      -X                         sort alphabetically by entry extension
      -Z, --context              print any security context of each file
      -1                         list one file per line.  Avoid '\n' with -q or -b
          --help     display this help and exit
          --version  output version information and exit
    
    The SIZE argument is an integer and optional unit (example: 10K is 10*1024).
    Units are K,M,G,T,P,E,Z,Y (powers of 1024) or KB,MB,... (powers of 1000).
    
    The TIME_STYLE argument can be full-iso, long-iso, iso, locale, or +FORMAT.
    FORMAT is interpreted like in date(1).  If FORMAT is FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2,
    then FORMAT1 applies to non-recent files and FORMAT2 to recent files.
    TIME_STYLE prefixed with 'posix-' takes effect only outside the POSIX locale.
    Also the TIME_STYLE environment variable sets the default style to use.
    
    Using color to distinguish file types is disabled both by default and
    with --color=never.  With --color=auto, ls emits color codes only when
    standard output is connected to a terminal.  The LS_COLORS environment
    variable can change the settings.  Use the dircolors command to set it.
    
    Exit status:
     0  if OK,
     1  if minor problems (e.g., cannot access subdirectory),
     2  if serious trouble (e.g., cannot access command-line argument).
    
    GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
    Full documentation at: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/ls>
    or available locally via: info '(coreutils) ls invocation'
  2. Use find with -ls or -print option.
    $ find recursive/ -ls
       536809      4 drwxr-xr-x   4 user     user         4096 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/
       536810      4 drwxr-xr-x   2 user     user         4096 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-01
       536812      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-01/file-01
       538821      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-01/file-03
       538820      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-01/file-02
       536811      4 drwxr-xr-x   2 user     user         4096 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-02
       541987      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-02/file-01
       541989      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-02/file-03
       541988      0 -rw-r--r--   1 user     user            0 Ogos 28 11:10 recursive/subdirectory-02/file-02
    
    $ find recursive/ -print
    recursive/
    recursive/subdirectory-01
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-01
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-03
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-02
    recursive/subdirectory-02
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-01
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-03
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-02

    Other options for find:

    $ find --help
    Usage: find [-H] [-L] [-P] [-Olevel] [-D debugopts] [path...] [expression]
    
    default path is the current directory; default expression is -print
    expression may consist of: operators, options, tests, and actions:
    operators (decreasing precedence; -and is implicit where no others are given):
          ( EXPR )   ! EXPR   -not EXPR   EXPR1 -a EXPR2   EXPR1 -and EXPR2
          EXPR1 -o EXPR2   EXPR1 -or EXPR2   EXPR1 , EXPR2
    positional options (always true): -daystart -follow -regextype
    
    normal options (always true, specified before other expressions):
          -depth --help -maxdepth LEVELS -mindepth LEVELS -mount -noleaf
          --version -xdev -ignore_readdir_race -noignore_readdir_race
    tests (N can be +N or -N or N): -amin N -anewer FILE -atime N -cmin N
          -cnewer FILE -ctime N -empty -false -fstype TYPE -gid N -group NAME
          -ilname PATTERN -iname PATTERN -inum N -iwholename PATTERN -iregex PATTERN
          -links N -lname PATTERN -mmin N -mtime N -name PATTERN -newer FILE
          -nouser -nogroup -path PATTERN -perm [-/]MODE -regex PATTERN
          -readable -writable -executable
          -wholename PATTERN -size N[bcwkMG] -true -type [bcdpflsD] -uid N
          -used N -user NAME -xtype [bcdpfls]      -context CONTEXT
    
    actions: -delete -print0 -printf FORMAT -fprintf FILE FORMAT -print 
          -fprint0 FILE -fprint FILE -ls -fls FILE -prune -quit
          -exec COMMAND ; -exec COMMAND {} + -ok COMMAND ;
          -execdir COMMAND ; -execdir COMMAND {} + -okdir COMMAND ;
    
    Valid arguments for -D:
    exec, opt, rates, search, stat, time, tree, all, help
    Use '-D help' for a description of the options, or see find(1)
    
    Please see also the documentation at http://www.gnu.org/software/findutils/.
    You can report (and track progress on fixing) bugs in the "find"
    program via the GNU findutils bug-reporting page at
    https://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?group=findutils or, if
    you have no web access, by sending email to <bug-findutils@gnu.org>.
  3. Use du with -a switch.
    $ du -a recursive/
    0	recursive/subdirectory-01/file-01
    0	recursive/subdirectory-01/file-03
    0	recursive/subdirectory-01/file-02
    4	recursive/subdirectory-01
    0	recursive/subdirectory-02/file-01
    0	recursive/subdirectory-02/file-03
    0	recursive/subdirectory-02/file-02
    4	recursive/subdirectory-02
    12	recursive/

    Other options for du:

    $ du --help
    Usage: du [OPTION]... [FILE]...
      or:  du [OPTION]... --files0-from=F
    Summarize disk usage of the set of FILEs, recursively for directories.
    
    Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
      -0, --null            end each output line with NUL, not newline
      -a, --all             write counts for all files, not just directories
          --apparent-size   print apparent sizes, rather than disk usage; although
                              the apparent size is usually smaller, it may be
                              larger due to holes in ('sparse') files, internal
                              fragmentation, indirect blocks, and the like
      -B, --block-size=SIZE  scale sizes by SIZE before printing them; e.g.,
                               '-BM' prints sizes in units of 1,048,576 bytes;
                               see SIZE format below
      -b, --bytes           equivalent to '--apparent-size --block-size=1'
      -c, --total           produce a grand total
      -D, --dereference-args  dereference only symlinks that are listed on the
                              command line
      -d, --max-depth=N     print the total for a directory (or file, with --all)
                              only if it is N or fewer levels below the command
                              line argument;  --max-depth=0 is the same as
                              --summarize
          --files0-from=F   summarize disk usage of the
                              NUL-terminated file names specified in file F;
                              if F is -, then read names from standard input
      -H                    equivalent to --dereference-args (-D)
      -h, --human-readable  print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)
          --inodes          list inode usage information instead of block usage
      -k                    like --block-size=1K
      -L, --dereference     dereference all symbolic links
      -l, --count-links     count sizes many times if hard linked
      -m                    like --block-size=1M
      -P, --no-dereference  don't follow any symbolic links (this is the default)
      -S, --separate-dirs   for directories do not include size of subdirectories
          --si              like -h, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
      -s, --summarize       display only a total for each argument
      -t, --threshold=SIZE  exclude entries smaller than SIZE if positive,
                              or entries greater than SIZE if negative
          --time            show time of the last modification of any file in the
                              directory, or any of its subdirectories
          --time=WORD       show time as WORD instead of modification time:
                              atime, access, use, ctime or status
          --time-style=STYLE  show times using STYLE, which can be:
                                full-iso, long-iso, iso, or +FORMAT;
                                FORMAT is interpreted like in 'date'
      -X, --exclude-from=FILE  exclude files that match any pattern in FILE
          --exclude=PATTERN    exclude files that match PATTERN
      -x, --one-file-system    skip directories on different file systems
          --help     display this help and exit
          --version  output version information and exit
    
    Display values are in units of the first available SIZE from --block-size,
    and the DU_BLOCK_SIZE, BLOCK_SIZE and BLOCKSIZE environment variables.
    Otherwise, units default to 1024 bytes (or 512 if POSIXLY_CORRECT is set).
    
    The SIZE argument is an integer and optional unit (example: 10K is 10*1024).
    Units are K,M,G,T,P,E,Z,Y (powers of 1024) or KB,MB,... (powers of 1000).
    
    GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
    Full documentation at: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/du>
    or available locally via: info '(coreutils) du invocation'
  4. Use tree program.
    $ tree recursive/
    recursive/
    ├── subdirectory-01
    │   ├── file-01
    │   ├── file-02
    │   └── file-03
    └── subdirectory-02
        ├── file-01
        ├── file-02
        └── file-03
    
    2 directories, 6 files
    $ tree -i -f  recursive/ # (-f: full path, -i: no indentation)
    recursive
    recursive/subdirectory-01
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-01
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-02
    recursive/subdirectory-01/file-03
    recursive/subdirectory-02
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-01
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-02
    recursive/subdirectory-02/file-03
    
    2 directories, 6 files

    tree is normally not installed by default in most Linux distributions, and could be easily installed from the command line:

    $ sudo apt update && sudo apt install --assume-yes tree # Ubuntu & Debian

    Other options for tree:

    $ tree --help
    usage: tree [-acdfghilnpqrstuvxACDFJQNSUX] [-H baseHREF] [-T title ]
    	[-L level [-R]] [-P pattern] [-I pattern] [-o filename] [--version]
    	[--help] [--inodes] [--device] [--noreport] [--nolinks] [--dirsfirst]
    	[--charset charset] [--filelimit[=]#] [--si] [--timefmt[=]<f>]
    	[--sort[=]<name>] [--matchdirs] [--ignore-case] [--fromfile] [--]
    	[<directory list>]
      ------- Listing options -------
      -a            All files are listed.
      -d            List directories only.
      -l            Follow symbolic links like directories.
      -f            Print the full path prefix for each file.
      -x            Stay on current filesystem only.
      -L level      Descend only level directories deep.
      -R            Rerun tree when max dir level reached.
      -P pattern    List only those files that match the pattern given.
      -I pattern    Do not list files that match the given pattern.
      --ignore-case Ignore case when pattern matching.
      --matchdirs   Include directory names in -P pattern matching.
      --noreport    Turn off file/directory count at end of tree listing.
      --charset X   Use charset X for terminal/HTML and indentation line output.
      --filelimit # Do not descend dirs with more than # files in them.
      --timefmt <f> Print and format time according to the format <f>.
      -o filename   Output to file instead of stdout.
      ------- File options -------
      -q            Print non-printable characters as '?'.
      -N            Print non-printable characters as is.
      -Q            Quote filenames with double quotes.
      -p            Print the protections for each file.
      -u            Displays file owner or UID number.
      -g            Displays file group owner or GID number.
      -s            Print the size in bytes of each file.
      -h            Print the size in a more human readable way.
      --si          Like -h, but use in SI units (powers of 1000).
      -D            Print the date of last modification or (-c) status change.
      -F            Appends '/', '=', '*', '@', '|' or '>' as per ls -F.
      --inodes      Print inode number of each file.
      --device      Print device ID number to which each file belongs.
      ------- Sorting options -------
      -v            Sort files alphanumerically by version.
      -t            Sort files by last modification time.
      -c            Sort files by last status change time.
      -U            Leave files unsorted.
      -r            Reverse the order of the sort.
      --dirsfirst   List directories before files (-U disables).
      --sort X      Select sort: name,version,size,mtime,ctime.
      ------- Graphics options -------
      -i            Don't print indentation lines.
      -A            Print ANSI lines graphic indentation lines.
      -S            Print with CP437 (console) graphics indentation lines.
      -n            Turn colorization off always (-C overrides).
      -C            Turn colorization on always.
      ------- XML/HTML/JSON options -------
      -X            Prints out an XML representation of the tree.
      -J            Prints out an JSON representation of the tree.
      -H baseHREF   Prints out HTML format with baseHREF as top directory.
      -T string     Replace the default HTML title and H1 header with string.
      --nolinks     Turn off hyperlinks in HTML output.
      ------- Input options -------
      --fromfile    Reads paths from files (.=stdin)
      ------- Miscellaneous options -------
      --version     Print version and exit.
      --help        Print usage and this help message and exit.
      --            Options processing terminator.
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