How to search all files containing specific text on Linux?

The simplest way is using grep command to search it.

grep -rnw '/path/to/somewhere/' -e 'pattern'
  • -l (lower-case L) can be added to just give the file name of matching files.
  • -r or -R is recursive,
  • -w stands for match the whole word.
  • -n is line number, and
  • -e is the pattern used during the search

This will exclude searching all the files ending with .o extension:

grep --exclude=\*.o -rnw '/path/to/somewhere/' -e "pattern"

For directories it’s possible to exclude one or more directories using the --exclude-dir parameter. For example, this will exclude the dirs dir1/, dir2/ and all of them matching *.dst/

grep --exclude-dir={dir1,dir2,*.dst} -rnw '/path/to/somewhere/' -e "pattern"

This will only search through those files which have .c or .h extensions:

grep --include=\*.{c,h} -rnw '/path/to/somewhere/' -e "pattern"